Supporting the Pastor or the Poor? Competition over the Community Chest in Early Modern Prussia, 1525-1584
Martin Luther insisted that parish communities establish common chests to support pastors and the poor. But which should be prioritized in times of poverty? In Ducal Prussia—an impoverished country that was the birthplace of the first Lutheran state church—this question divided communities. My paper uses early church orders and visitation records to learn how Prussians established common chests and how extreme poverty divided opinions over the use of common funds.
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About the Premodern Studies Seminar
The Premodern Studies seminar provides a forum for new approaches to classical, medieval, and early modern studies, allowing scholars from a range of disciplines to share works-in-progress. Seminars are conversational and free and open to faculty, graduate students, and members of the public, who register in advance to request papers.