Networks of Conflict: Analyzing the "Culture of Controversy" of Polemical Pamphlets of Intra-Protestant Disputes (1548-1580)
Keywords:Protestant Controversies, Polemical Pamphlets, Reformation
Following the Augsburg Interim ordered at the Augsburg Diet of 1548, the late 16th century witnessed a number of intra-Protestant controversies that fundamentally advanced the formation of Lutheran identity and its central doctrine. They were fought through the medium of polemical pamphlets, which were regularly addressed against specific opponents. While their intention aimed less at the conviction of their respondent than at the formulation and definition of theological issues, they were instrumental in the search for doctrinal truth that found a preliminary conclusion in the publication of the Formula of Concord in 1580. The paper analyzes this culture of controversy from a network theoretical perspective. Building on the relationship between authors and the theologians they directed their polemics against, it focuses on the characteristic attributes of a communication built on antagonistic relationships. Main aspects that are examined consist of the particular structure of conflict-based networks, the reciprocity of relations, and the degree to which historical processes reflect in the graph. In addition, two particular subtypes of controversies and their contribution to the structure of the complete network are examined in closer detail: spheres of conflict related to the views of one particular person, and those revolving around specific issues.
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