The Use of Religious Books in Early Modern Times

The first part-project will connect research on the religious book in France and in Germany with a comparative analysis of its forms, its contexts, and its practices in the Christian denominations from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. The investigation is aimed at outlining denominational boundaries more precisely. Particular attention will be paid to the transdenominational aspects of books and the circulation of the resulting religious »knowledge«. Questions concerning authorship, commissioners and producers, as well as readers and users of religious books will be considered, as also will issues of religious identity, and religious and linguistic borders. Various aspects of the project will be examined by looking inter alia at Lutheran hymnals from the collections at the libraries in Göttingen, Wolfenbüttel, and Gotha.

Johann Sebastian Bach et sa mémoire

The second project, »Johann Sebastian Bach et sa mémoire: constructions, réceptions et appropriations en Allemagne au XIXe et au XXe siècle«, is concerned with the process of »monumentalization« of Bach and the development, features and factors determining this process in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The »Bach phenomenon« in Germany will be explored from a cultural-historical perspective, rather than focusing on the musicological aspects that have predominated in research on Bach so far. The veneration of Bach as a monumental figure in music can also be interpreted as a kind of cult, as can be observed in the religious terminology often used in the discourse on his person and his music. Although not limited to Germany, this cult-like idolization is particularly lasting and intensive here. The »Bach-cult« has its own sites and institutions, bearers, rites, as well as commemoration and anniversary rituals. The many forms of worship-like reverence for Bach open up new questions about the status of the musician, who was known to his contemporaries as a virtuoso and master of counterpoint, and only later became the »Father of Western Music« outshining all other musicians of his time. From the point of view of the history of ideas, Veit will analyze the historical (musical, aesthetical, ideological, religious, and national) contexts that produced the image of Bach as the patriarch of Protestant church music, a symbol of German arts, a figure of identification for German culture as such, and, finally, a role model no musician is able to ignore.