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The Formation of Territorial Churches in the Habsburg/Ottoman Borderlands: Primus Truber, Hans Ungnad, and Peter Paul Vergerio, 1550-1565

  • Author(s): Esswein, Ben
  • Advisor(s): Head, Randolph
  • et al.
Abstract

My dissertation focuses on the Austrian province of Krain, along the modern Croatian/Slovenian border, which acts as a case study for the rest of the Habsburg-Ottoman borderlands. The reformers in this region were in direct contact with Johannes Brenz in Wirtemberg, and sought to implement his "territorial church" model. Additionally, the Austrian Habsburgs long supported this model as a means to expand their hegemony over the region and keep the Ottomans out. A printing press was established outside Tübingen with the purpose of spreading Slavic translations of Biblical and evangelical texts into Crain. The Austrian Hapsburgs' confessional allegiance to Rome remained fluid until after the Council of Trent (1563), and they had few reservations about supporting this mission endeavor as long as it included loyalty towards Hapsburg supremacy.

I have identified three individuals who were integral in establishing this movement: the reformer and Bible translator Primus Truber, the Austrian nobleman Hans Ungnad, and the Lutheran convert and diplomat Peter Paul Vergerio. In particular, Ungnad played a central role in transmitting through his personal network of translators, publishers, and booksellers. All three men established networks of support, mostly Lutheran but also including notable moderate Catholics and Swiss Reformed, and relied on their networks integrally to spread their faith and to support their endeavors financially. The use of the Lutheran "territorial church" model signifies an attempt to establish a Lutheran confession and church regulation in Slovenian and Croatian lands by making them loyal to the regional reformer (Primus Truber) responsible for instilling Godly virtue and the true faith.

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