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Eine geistlich-weltliche Körperschaft im Alten Reich: quantitative Annäherungen an die deutschen Domkapitel

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Hersche, Peter

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Abstract The present article is a summary of a quantitative Social History in three volumes (can be obtained directly from the author) treating of the 24 cathedral chapters of the Old German Empire in the 17th and 18th Century. The research on the cathedral chapters which were as well spiritual as secular corporations, until now is rather traditional in its methods, i.e. focusing on the constitutions and the biographies of the canons. Actually there are only a few monographies. Our study which comprehends all chapters examines 5 725 cases. The case-unit is not the person, but the prebend. The following variables are taken up: name (locality) of the chapter, dignitaries, degrees (for commoners), the ways of applying to and retiring from the chapters, social status (seven categories for the nobility, two for the commoners), advancements in rank, origin, cumulations. The completeness of the data is generally more than 90%, often towards 100%. All data is published in form of chronological lists of the canons in every chapter, besides an index of names is given. Therefore our work serves as a reference-book too. The data were processed with SPSS, crosstabulations and other statistics are published also. For regional inquiries the chapters were classified into three groups: Northern Germany, the chapters of the Knights of the Empire (i. e. Rhineland and Franconia), Southern Germany and Austria. To show the chronological development we divided the entire period (1601-1803) into four periods of about fifty years. The article presents some important results for every variable. Some general Statements are possible. From the viewpoint of social history the hypothesis of three regional types has been verified. Chapters at the border of the Empire form a particular group which shows more and more deviations to the Standard. On the other hand the chapters in the center assimilate. Spatial mobility decreases, local recruitment increases. There are tendencies to closeness and occasional provincialism. Cumulations increase in the second half of 18th Century. Canons from the middle and lower classes were almost completely eliminated during the two centuries. Thus the European feudal reaction can clearly be demonstrated using the example of the German cathedral chapters. Our research shows that the chapters get into a crisis in the late 18th Century. They could no more accomplish their functions as providing institutions for the German nobility. For many reasons the run to the prebends grew as well as the commoners' criticism influenced by the Enlightenment. They disapproved the loss of the chapters' spiritual functions, the prevalence of the nobility, the grewing exclusion of the commoners and the enormous cumulations. Proposals to a reform failed. The difficult Situation in the Empire during the Napoleonic Wars forced the secularization (1803) which brought the end to the old German cathedral chapters.
Keywords German Reich; seventeenth century; eighteenth century; Catholic Church (Roman); church office; bishop; power
Classification Social History, Historical Social Research
Free Keywords Altes Reich; Domkapitel
Collection Title Lebenslauf und Gesellschaft : zum Einsatz von kollektiven Biographien in der historischen Sozialforschung
Editor Schröder, Wilhelm Heinz
Document language German
Publication Year 1985
Publisher Klett-Cotta
City Stuttgart
Page/Pages p. 28-47
Series Historisch-Sozialwissenschaftliche Forschungen : quantitative sozialwissenschaftliche Analysen von historischen und prozeß-produzierten Daten, 18
ISSN 0713-2153
ISBN 3-608-91137-5
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications