The conference welcomes current, overarching research approaches as well as questions and approaches from the particular histories of Halle and Moravian Pietism and asks how they critically relate to one another. The conference will explore:
- How does the simultaneous existence and historical succession of the two forms of Pietism invite comparative inquiry?
- How questions and approaches that are prevalent in one of the two fields can also be useful in for the other?
- How and to what extent overarching approaches and topics can enrich and deepen existing questions from a comparative perspective?
We are also interested in the question of interactions between Halle and Herrnhut.
In our approach, it is assumed that the relationship between Halle and Herrnhut, whether in terms of people or practices, was subject to an (open) tension between proximity and distance, of coexistence, conflict and competition. Their relationship is to a considerable extent also a dispute about political influence, religious orthodoxy and public perception. Against this background, we have organized the following umbrella topics and research approaches and ask for proposals for presentations - while knowing that individual aspects and topics are already being researched in more detail and can be linked to one another in a variety of ways:
Comparativity as Evaluative Praxis
What contrasting forms of self-fashioning and descriptions of the other were created by the historical agents of these two forms of Pietism, whether concerning their own actions or forms of agency? In the 18th century, these comparative processes played a central role in the various thematic fields in the practice and debates in which Halle Pietists and Moravians were active, such as missions, ecclesiology or educational practice. The aim of this comparison of juxtaposing and opposing each other was to promote one’s own religious affiliation and devalue the other: Who were the truly pious, who was trustworthy in the field of politics, etc.? The act of comparison as a practice of self-assurance and dismissal of the other, especially in a public forum, was an historical heuristic and an inherent part of the controversial approach of both Pietisms. The aim of the conference is to ask about media, semantics, goals and specific topics of comparison as a practice of (dis)evaluation in the 18th century. In this sense, historical comparison as a strategic practice of Pietists should be revealed, named, analyzed and described. Beyond this, comparativity invites examination of the creation of images of self and other in the 18th century (see Hartmut Kaelble and Thomas Welskopp) beginning with current debates on the possibility of (knowledge) transfer, international linkages, emotions and emotional regimes, experiences or religious practices, to fundamentally reflect on the how and why of comparing Halle and Moravian Pietism.
Literacy, Archival Education, Culture of Remembrance
Both the Moravians and the Halle Pietists have left a rich tradition, which is now preserved, managed, and made accessible by the archives of the Moravian Church and the library and archives of the Francke Foundations. This includes above all printed media as well as handwritten correspondence and personal testimonies from different periods.
The section will consider the following questions:
- To what extent, according to which criteria and by whom were records produced, transcribed, translated, collected, and archived?
- Which media were used directly and deliberately for different purposes (network building, fundraising, mission, image policy)?
- Which notions of self-identity and which historical concepts contributed to the formation of the archive and how did Halle Pietists and Moravians shape the image that future generations should have of them (tradition and culture of remembrance)?
- Are there connections with Critical Heritage Studies from a comparative perspective?
Another focus of the section is the application of the methods of digital humanities, based on the “Moravian Lives” project and the project to index and digitize (auto-)biographical testimonies from the archive of the Francke Foundations.
Ecclesiology and Institutional Organization
Reform of church and society was a central theme of the Pietist endeavor for renewal in both Halle and Herrnhut. In both cases, new ecclesiological models emerged in addition to new forms of the organization of church activity. General reform and church formation, the gathering of the awakened and the determination of the relationship to state and society took place with a dual historical focus: first, church history looking back at the origins of Christianity, and second, the expectation of God’s kingdom in the history of salvation. Essential questions in this section are:
- Characterization and comparison of respective basic ecclesiological concepts and their institutional implementation as well as the investigation of related specific individual topics:
- Self-identity and the creation of tradition
- Mobility and the creation of networks
- Public and private activity
- Publishing and public communication
- Denominational affiliation and trans-denominationalism
- Relationship to political and public authorities
- Dealings with government regulations and restrictions
Praxes of Piety, Education, and Social Commitment
The experiential nature of Pietist reform aimed at an inner renewal of the believer that could be perceived externally. This implied a strengthening of the praxis pietatis for both the individual and community which also included non-conformist behavior patterns, new liturgical forms and rituals, as well as efforts towards a truly Christian way of life (church discipline, rules, and instructions). Educational efforts and social engagement played a central role in the desired fundamental renewal of Christianity, especially in Halle Pietism. From a comparative perspective, essential questions in this section are:
- Church discipline, rules and instructions for true piety, as well as forms of worship and sermons
- Integration and delimitation of enthusiastic phenomena (“enthusiastic virgins,” “Sifting time”)
- Educational concepts and institutions (schools) and their practical implementation with regard to their objectives, content, methodologies and scope
- Meaning and social aspect of educational concepts and practices
- The relationship between scholarly, academic knowledge and experiential knowledge including any underlying traditions and the practical consequences
- Concepts and practices of philanthropy from an institutional and individual perspective
History of Emotions and History of the Body, Gender Relations, Sexuality, Family
While substantial research on the topics of gender identity, family, sexuality, history of the body and emotions for both Halle and Moravian Pietism has been done, there have been only a few comparative studies on the theories and praxes of the two religious groups in relation to these conceptual areas.
We welcome papers that examine from a comparative perspective:
- The relationship between Pietist faith and the associated experience of the body
- Practices of self-regulation and emotional discipline
- Constructs of gender identity and denominational context
- Possibility or interdiction of interdenominational, intercultural, and interethnic marriage
- Development of social structures and practice of caritas
- Medical knowledge, training and practice in the areas of the home, diaspora and missions
- Embodied and conceptual queering
Beyond European Christianity: Translation and Transfer
Halle and Moravian Pietisms showed great interest in preaching and mission work in non-European areas, which led to diverse encounters between cultures. In order to be able to communicate with members of other cultures, the missionaries researched their culture and language and wrote translations of important religious texts. Through this activity, the missionaries, as well as the mission administrations, had to deal with issues of colonialism, slavery, and global economic relations. In their missionary work, they not only encountered other peoples, but the missionaries had to sometimes also deal with representatives of other Pietist groups. We ask for contributions from a comparative perspective on the following topics:
- Work in contact zones, dealing with other peoples
- Slavery and economics
- Relationship to government institutions and political power
- Colonialism and Post-Colonialism
- Community building across borders: structures, communication, piety and rituals
- Overlap or non-overlap of mission fields
- Published representations of mission activities
- Translation work, cultural translations, and the reception of these translations
Collections, Material Culture, and the History of Knowledge
The global activities of Halle and Moravian Pietism not only opened up new mission spaces, but also gave access to previously unknown worlds of knowledge and things. Both Pietisms engaged in high-level scientific inquiry, accompanied by a comprehensive exchange of its objects within a diverse knowledge network, whereas the religious component of this interest sometimes seems questionable. For this section, we ask for comparative contributions on the following topics:
- Significance of missionary collecting practices and Pietist collections for the history of knowledge, science and Pietism
- Natural history collections or cabinets of curiosities (Wunderkammer) – concepts of space, use and the religious/theological dimensions of Pietist collections
- Donations, patronage, commerce and publicity – collection artifacts and their functionalization
- Network formation between Pietism and the res publica literaria
- Diverse aspects of missionary collecting and the history of objects: from the documentation of non-Christian cultures, foreign documents to ethnographic artifacts
- Missionary collections as part of the material culture of European colonialism
Architecture and Space
Pietist architecture and spatial organization have been examined in recent years using different approaches and thematic focuses (Pietist isolation, planned urban spaces, exemplary utopian models). These examinations are based on the question of the connection between religious concepts, social structures, and town planning and they can be fruitful for the analysis of the interplay between (intended) habitus and interior and exterior spatial design. This perspective can also be fruitful when studying individual objects and their role within spatial settings. We propose different fields of investigation:
- settlement designs and urban planning
- functionality and aesthetics of newly constructed (or redesigned) buildings and groups of buildings
- functionality and aesthetics of assembly and prayer rooms, spaces of knowledge, class rooms, hospital (nursing) rooms, living rooms, etc.
- new or remodeled gardens - pious elements in landscaping and representations of the nobility, as well as in terms of economic usefulness.
- material culture - objects and things in rooms, gardens, and buildings, connecting people with spaces
Art, Literature, and Music
For a long time, the Pietists, especially those in Halle, were considered to be critical or hostile to art, perhaps due to the selective inclusion and omission of certain historical figures, but also above all because of a concept of autonomous art that is both unhistorical and normative that has long been preferred by scholars. This position changes if, instead, a pragmatically modelled concept of heteronomous art or artistic form of expression and strategies is adopted. If literature, music and the visual arts are functionally incorporated into practices of Pietism as well as into the educational and psychological praxes for the individual and the community of the believers, then this art was highly valued and not dismissed as constituting an alienation from God and misappropriation of Pietism. The processes of internalization, subjectification, and individualization as well as the emotionalization of the self in relation to God in Pietism are essentially the result of artistic aesthetic efforts, languages, and forms. The following questions present themselves:
- Writing calendars, diaries and chronicles, as well as memoir and autobiography as forensic text types/genres of accountability, (self) justification, and the training and representation of the pious subject
- Poetry, epistolary and edifying literature as media for authentication and generation of personal, individual piety
- Literature and the staging of exemplarity and the exemplary pious subject
- Affect training, habitus formation and community foundation, among other things through hymns and sacred music and an increased intensified reference to God
- Music in worship practice
- Visual arts and the visualization and staging of Piety
- Literature, music, and the visual arts as media of personal devotion, communal culture of remembrance, and the invention of tradition
There will be ample room for discussion. The duration of each paper is 25 minutes. Tandem lectures (2x25 min.) on Halle and Moravian Pietism are warmly welcomed. Travel costs and overnight stays in Halle will be borne by the organizers within the framework of the usual rules, provided that our applications for funding are successful. Proposals for papers (300 words) and a short resume (CV) are requested by May 1st 2022 at email@example.com.
Christer Ahlberger, Göteborg
Wolfgang Breul, Mainz
Katherine Faull, Lewisburg
Brigitte Klosterberg, Halle
Thomas Müller-Bahlke, Halle
Paul Peucker, Bethlehem
Thomas Ruhland, Halle
Christian Soboth, Halle
Peter Vogt, Herrnhut
Holger Zaunstöck, Halle