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The concept of 'Catholic confessionalization' is seen by its advocates as a replacement for the term 'Counter-Reformation': 'Counter-Reformation' (Gegenreformation) and 'Counter-Reformations' (in the plural) have been used in German scholarship since the later eighteenth century. In nineteenth-century Germany, the term became part of the Kulturkampf: 'Counter-Reformation' was used by Protestant historians as a negative and one-dimensional concept that stressed the aspect of reaction and resistance to Protestantism and neglected that of reform within Catholicism. The term was understandably shunned by Catholic historians. Even when the Protestant historian Wilhelm Maurenbrecher introduced the term 'Catholic Reformation' in 1880, German historiography remained confessionally divided on the subject. The term 'Catholic Reformation' appealed to Catholic historians because it offered them the possibility of avoiding the term 'Counter-Reformation', with its problematic connotation of a mere reaction to Protestantism. But it was rejected by Protestant historians largely because they did not want the term 'Reformation' to be used for anything other than the Protestant Reformation. Protestant historians therefore continued to use the term 'Counter-Reformation'.1 Responding to this state of affairs, Hubert Jedin, a Catholic church historian, wrote a short treatise in 1946 in which he described the conceptual and terminological problems of the terms 'Counter-Reformation' and 'Catholic Reformation' and suggested the compromise terminology 'Catholic reform and Counter-Reformation'.2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Ashgate Research Companion to the Counter-Reformation
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781317041627
ISBN (Print)9781409423737
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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