Secular and spiritual power in the early Lutheran orthodoxy: Polykarp Leyser the Elder (1552–1610)

Andrey Yur’evich Prokopiev Doctor in History, professor, Institute of History, Saint-Petersburg State University (Mendeleevskaya linia, 5, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 199034),

Prokopiev A. Yu. Secular and spiritual power in the early Lutheran Orthodoxy: Polykarp Leyser the Elder (1552–1610), Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2016, vol. 5, pp. 198–233.

doi: 10.24411/2308-0698-2016-00010

Language: Russian

One the major trends in the literature of the early Lutheran Orthodoxy is the problem of correlation of spiritual and secular powers. The topic was quite actual within the background of developing of confessional societies in Germany in the second half of the 16th century. Constructing new structures Lutheran Church required theoretical understanding of relations between the clergy’ and the princes’ power. The Duchy of Württemberg is a particularly vivid example, because many representatives of the Württemberg parsonage successfully made career in other Protestant lands. Polycarp Leiser the Elder, who played a major role in the establishment of the Lutheran Church in the Electorate of Saxony, was a typical representative of the early orthodoxy. The article carefully studies his sermons preached mainly in commemoration of the court’s noubles, and a summary of the preacher’s ideas is made. In his sermons Leiser constantly emphasized the idea of autonomous co-existence of the spiritual and secular powers that was qrounded on the unity of secular and spiritual elite. His political views typical for the Orthodoxes influenced on the Lutheran theology of the pietism era.
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Key words: confessionalisation, Württemberg, Saxony, Tübingen, Dresden, Lutheran Orthodoxy


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