51. évf. , 3–4. szám (2012): Protestáns mártirológia a kora újkorban
Although the construction of martyrdom has come to the forefront in recent international research on Protestantism, there are only a few Hungarian scholars who have already examined the early modern representations of different religious and national identities from this aspect. The articles collected in this volume aim at shifting the centre o...f Western research on early modern martyrdom towards the Carpathian Basin. We analyse the interconnections, patterns and differences of textual and visual representations of Protestant martyrdom, and explore how the various Western martyr traditions were interpreted and acculturated in early modern Hungary. This volume is based on a conference held in 2011 at the University of Debrecen, and organised by the Research Group for Reformation and Early Modern Cultural History, in cooperation with other scholars of several Hungarian universities. We participate in a collaborative research project, supported by OTKA and TÁMOP funds, in order to extend our understanding of early modern martyrdom.
This study is an interpretive attempt to propose new arguments regarding the emergence and evolution of early modern Hungarian patriotism. I claim that first the Protestant, and later on the Calvinist martyrologies also undertook the function of advancing various behavior patterns or discourses promoting loyalty towards the “true” church, a...nd this tendency eventually evolved into a notion of patriotism, which was equally connected to the church and the nation. Furthermore, I also argue that the reinterpreted and re-evaluated Protestant culture of martyrology delineated a certain type of narrative, the so called récit martyrologique, which became the new prototype of early modern memoires. These narratives conveyed the written testimonies of their authors’ deeds, and in fact imitated the confessions of saints and martyrs. For a Calvinist, the martyr fulfilled the functions and expectations related to one particular ideal, namely, an elected individual ready to undertake the greatest sacrifice for religion, church and fatherland.
Having surveyed the early modern European culture of martyrology and its major texts, my second objective is to reflect on their contemporary Hungarian reception. Relying on three relevant authors like István Nagy Szőnyi, János Komáromi and Miklós Bethlen, I identify the specific Hungarian uses and applications of Calvinist martyrology. In the light of these results I propose the thesis that despite their small number, Hungarian martyrologies had a significant effect on contemporary Calvinist intelligentsia, contributing to the emergence and emulation of loyalty, first towards the Church, then towards the nation and/or the Fatherland. Thus, the cultural origins of nineteenth-century Hungarian national heroes seem to reach back to the early modern martyrs of the seventeenth century.
Der Begriff Martyrium im allgemeinen Sinne ist fester Bestandteil sowohl der katholischen, als auch der kalvinistischen Tradition. In der Frühneuzeit, dem Zeitalter der Konfessionalisierung und der katholischen Gegenreformation und vor allem im 20. Jahrhundert finden sich zahlreiche Beispiele für die speziellen kalvinistischen Vitae Martyri....In diesem Beitrag wird die Rezeption der ungarischen kalvinistischen Weltanschauung im Kontext dieser Martyrien untersucht und dabei soll der Frage nachgegangen werden, durch welche Quellen, Themen und Gattungen diese Weltanschauung sichtbar gemacht wird. Weiterhin soll die vorliegende Analyse zeigen, wie sich diese Problematik zu den Märtyrern des 20. Jahrhunderts verhält.
Bei der Untersuchung wurden sechs Kategorien aufgestellt. Dazu gehören einerseits individuelle Fälle, wie historische Beispiele, Privataufzeichnungen von Zeitgenossen und Biografien; andererseits kollektiven Repräsentationsstrukturen, wie die allgemeinen Leidensgeschichten in Kalendarien, sowie in sogenannten Märtyrer-Katalogen, Martyrbüchern. Hierbei ist unbedingt festzuhalten, dass die Märtyrer-Darstellungen weder von Gattungen, noch vom Zeitalter abhängig sind. Dementsprechend können diese Darstellungen als Exempel einer Predigt, oder als Teil einer Historie, oder als Egodokumente erscheinen und sowohl orthodox, als auch puritanisch gestaltet sein. In die Analyse der Problematik sollen daher all diese Quellen einbezogen werden.
John Frith (1503–1533) was burned at the stake in Smithfield on 4 July 1533, and was one of the earliest evangelical martyrs during the reign of Henry VIII. Many scholars consider his death one of the greatest losses in the early period of theological reforms in Tudor England. The paper first surveys the life of the young reformer who was a d...isciple and assistant of the Bible-translator William Tyndale (ca. 1494–1536). He also authored several books, the most famous ones are on the false idea of purgatory and the Lord’s Supper. The present study focuses on the latter theme, especially on his debate with Sir Thomas More (1477–1535). Frith’s short anonymous statement on the subject entitled Christian Sentence was read by the famous humanist Lord Chancellor, who responded him in a long letter A Letter of syr Tho. More knyght impugnynge the erronyouse wrytyng of John Fryth against the blessed sacrament of the aultare. This letter gave occasion for Frith, already a prisoner in the Tower of London, to refute More and to present his views at greater length in A Book Made by John Frith Prisoner in the Tower of London Answering Unto M. More’s Letter. The present study analyzes these three documents which also illuminate why this young man chose martyrdom. Shortly before his execution Frith wrote a short statement: The Articles for Which John Frith Died. This document as well as his Christian Sentence and The letter from Prison are also published in the present volume for the first time in Hungarian.
Why did Mihály Sztárai (Drávasztára?, ca. 1510–Pápa, 1575), one of the most successful Hungarian reformers of the 16th century call himself a “miserable man” at the end of the 1550s? Did he come into conflict and break with his followers – with the one hundred and twenty Protestant churches he had himself founded? Was he unfairly a...ttacked by his fellow pastors? Was he at variance with himself or did he blame himself for some hasty deed he had bitterly regretted? Was his dignity as a bishop – of which he had been so proud – damaged? Or was he simply swept away by the tempest of Reformation that he himself had created and then tried in vain to appease?
The present paper attempts to answer the above questions with the help of a Hungarian historical song hitherto mostly neglected, Sztárai’s poem about the martyrdom of Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The verse-chronicle written in 1560 describes an event that is extremely far geographically but all the more close in time, actually current, as it were: ‘Story of archbishop Thomas Cranmer’s faithfulness in the true faith, who was condemned to an awful death in England by Queen Mary for having denied the knowledge of the Pope’ – reads the argumentum of the poem. Cranmer, one of the legendary pioneers of English Reformation, the first senior bishop of the Church of England, was burned in Oxford on 21 March 1556, during the cruel prosecution of Protestants by order of the Catholic queen, Mary Tudor.
Sztárai’s source – John Foxe’s Protestant martyrology written in Latin (Rerum in Ecclesia gestarum… commentarii) −, had been published in Basel a year before the Hungarian verse-chronicle was written. Thus, the question is not how John Foxe’s martyrology found its way to Mihály Sztárai, rather how he adapted and interpreted it. Why did Sztárai feel a martyr, similar to Cranmer? It is obvious that the basic elements of the story could not in themselves urge Sztárai to adapt Foxius. Beyond the possibility of an abstract moral lesson, the minute details of Cranmer’s life and death also proved apt to convey a peculiar message, specifically addressing Hungarian readers. By the time Sztárai wrote the verse-chronicle in question, he had accumulated profound experience in the allegorising methods of figurative storytelling. Sztárai’s poem on Cranmer is an allegory. The historical verse narrative is not about the conflict of the Catholics and the Protestants but the controversy between the Lutheran and the Reformed denominations in Hungary. The Cranmerus-chronicle seems to confirm that in 1560, the Lutheran Sztárai saw himself as a deceived, failed, “miserable” man, as a “Protestant” bishop who had been removed from his office by his Reformed fellows.
During the period of Reformation a strong resistance to the cultivation of saints can be witnessed in Hungarian Protestant martyrology. The faithful ones borrowed their sacral heroes from the Old Testament, identifying them with the leaders or Protestant martyrs of their age, lest a new cult of saints should emerge. These heroes were initially...protagonists in the “Antichrist” Wars of the period (preachers or deceased soldiers); victims selected strictly with the purpose of setting an example. To make the fundamentally repulsive profession and inordinate stereotype of soldiers accepted, it was first of all necessary to profess the war in which they are engaged as a just undertaking. The next step presupposes a military commitment adapted, at all times, to the situation. From the mid-sixteenth century, then, under the Ottoman threat, linked to Apocalyptic expectations, sacrality returned more and more prominently, together with the medieval title of Miles Christi (Soldier of the Christ). In Hungary, evidently, the heroes of the patriotic war against the Turks were thus elevated: the defenders of Eger (1552) as well as Miklós Zrínyi had acquired such fame by the late sixteenth century. In the seventeenth century, then, the Protestant glory of martyrdom would shine around those heroes, missing in action during the Ottoman conquest, who appeared as exemplary figures in Protestant sermons, while their memory obtained ever stronger connections with the tradition of the independent Hungarian state.
Albert Szenci Molnár erklärte 1620, dass seine Hanauer Verleger, Daniel und David Aubry sowie Clemens Schleich, „vielmehr bereit seien das Martyrbuch herauszugeben”, als das ungarische Gebetbüchlein und die ungarische Übersetzung von Johannes Calvins Institutio. Der vorliegende Aufsatz soll der Frage nachgehen, was dieses Martyrbuch eig...entlich war, das den Verlegern mehr Profit hätte bringen können. Nach der Verfasserin des Beitrages handelt es sich hier um das Groß Martyrbuch (Hanau 1606), das die deutsche Übertragung der Histoire des martyrs persécutéez [...] jusque a l’an 1574, comprinse en dix livres, [...] (Genève, Crespin, 1582) war. Szenci Molnár übersetzte zwar dieses Werk nie ins Ungarische, die Thematik kommt jedoch in seinen anderen Schriften mehrmals vor. Auf dem Titelblatt seiner Institutio-Übersetzung wurden seine eigenen Leiden im Sturm von Heidelberg 1622 dargestellt, ähnlich den Szenen auf den Titelblättern deutscher Martyrbücher.
Das Diatribe de mille annis apokalypticis, in dem Johann Heinrich Alsted seine millenaristischen Ansichten zum ersten Mal ausführlich darlegte, ist im Jahr 1627 entstanden. In dieser Dissertation legte Alsted den Beginn des Millenniums eindeutig in der nahen Zukunft, im Jahr 1694 fest. In seiner Dissertation betonte er mehrmals, dass die Aufer...stehung und die Herrschaft der Märtyrer auf der Erde noch vor dem Jüngsten Gericht stattfinden werden. Er prägte die Vorstellung über das Millennium als eine weltweite Erscheinung. Über mehrere Seiten beschäftigte er sich mit der Auferstehung der Märtyrer und fertigte auch eine Tabelle über die Art und Weise ihrer Auferstehung an. Alsted glaubte, dass sich Gläubige auf den Beginn des Millenniums gut vorbereiten sollen. Dementsprechend spielten seiner Auffassung nach die in den Enzyklopädien zusammengesammelten Kenntnisse und die ausführlichen Bibelinterpretationen in dieser Vorbereitung eine wichtige Rolle.
This paper analyses the first Hungarian book on martyrdom and its catalogue of martyrs, which was written by a Calvinist preacher, Mihály Szöllősi in 1666, and published two years later. The book, Sion leánya... (Daughter of Zion) can be interpreted as an answer to a Catholic text by Mátyás Sámbár, that is, in the context of an extensiv...e contemporary religious dispute. This study argues that Szöllősi’s book does not only use controversial language, but it also shifts the debate from its apologetic and polemic rhetoric towards the discourse of martyrdom. Szöllősi counts both the martyrs of the Bible and the history of medieval Christianity and Reformation. Thus, the present paper analyses Szöllősi’s Martyrium historicum in the Western European context of early modern literature on Protestant martyrs.
An outstanding work of controversial early modern theological literature in Hungary, Sion vára (Fortress of Zion) was published in 1675, as a posthumous book of István Czeglédi, the excellent Calvinist preacher of Kassa, Upper Hungary. For several reasons, this volume can be interpreted as the part of the publishing programme of Mihály Vere...segyházi Szentyel’s press in Kolozsvár (Transylvania) in the decade of persecution (persecutio decennalis) of Hungarian Protestants. On the one hand, the book provided the victims of the Counter-Reformation with a protective armour and boosted resistance. On the other hand, recalling the author’s course of life and the series of tribulations he had suffered, this book also offered an example for the ones in despair. Sámuel Köleséri Sen., editor of the volume, used the opportunities that the title offered ingeniously: he relies both on mournful and combative rhetoric, a typical feature of the texts written during the decade of persecution, focussing on the narrative of Protestant martyrdom.
Die ungarischen protestantischen Prediger kamen nach ihrer Befreiung im Mai 1676 nach Zürich. Hier wurden sie von Professor Johann Heinrich Heidegger und von den weltlichen und kirchlichen Würdenträgern der Stadt empfangen und begrüßt. Der Empfang und die Begrüßung waren Bestandteile eines großangelegten identitätsstiftenden Repräsent...ationsprozesses, in dessen Zentrum die märtyrologische Interpretation der Befreiung und die Konstruktion einer entsprechenden Erzählung standen. Letztere hatte viele Quellen: einerseits die internationale (schweizerische, niederländische, deutsche, englische und französische) politische und kirchenpolitische Öffentlichkeit, andererseits die europäische protestantische märtyrologische Tradition des 16. Jahrhunderts. Die befreiten ungarischen Galeerenhäftlinge wurden dementsprechend als die idealtypische Verkörperung des Märtyrertums betrachtet. Heidegger vermischt in seiner Rede die eschatologische Diktion (Erzählmodus) und kirchengeschichtlich-politische Argumente, letztere aus Bullingers Schrift De persecutionibus ecclesiae christianae (1573). Dies war eine der wichtigsten Quelle der westeuropäischen protestantischen Märtyrologie. Heideggers Schriften, Dissertatio de Martyrio und Consolatio Christiana S. Martyrum, erweitern durch ihre ungarischen Bezüge die Interpretation der Märtyrerthematik. Das Schicksal der Ungarn betrachtet er im Kontext der Beziehungen zwischen der schweizerischen und ungarischen Kirchengeschichte, indem er eine Parallele zwischen der Verfolgung der Urkirche und den späteren Verfolgungen zieht. Seine Schriften Consolatio und De Martyrio erlebten mehrere deutsche und französische Ausgaben. Diese verbreiteten die ungarischen Bezüge der Märtyrologie, die durch den Wiederruf des Edikts von Nantes (1685) verstärkt aktualisiert wurde. Der Autor zog Parallele zwischen den ungarischen und den französischen Protestanten, die wieder der Verfolgung ausgesetzt waren. All dies bewirkte, dass die Geschichte der ungarischen Galeerenhäftlinge in der breiten internationalen Öffentlichkeit in einem märtyrologischen Kontext erschienen war.
Although Sándor Felvinczi, a Hungarian Calvinist preacher of Debrecen in the second half of seventeenth century was not persecuted by the Habsburgs or the Catholics, he was still represented as a martyr by funeral sermons and epigrams which were published to commemorate him in 1686 in a volume entitled Hedera Poetica. A few years after the dec...ade of persecution (persecutio decennalis) most funeral texts used the topos of martyrdom. There are several Biblical and Classical sources of this early modern rhetorical tradition, and the present study sets out to examine these.
I argue that widowhood (often called “orphanage” in early modern texts) was an important metaphor of the contemporary Hungarian Calvinist Church. Several prayers, prayer books, congregational songs, jeremiads and sermons represented the martyrdom of the Church (and of the Hungarian nation as well) as a “helpless widow”, and lamented in...her name. This cultural and rhetoric pattern was created and prescribed for the communities by several early modern texts, and were based on scriptural quotations from the Old Testament. (For instance: “How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!” Lamentations 1, 1) I examine this metaphor not only in late seventeenth century texts, but also in the eighteenth century, when authors could not write openly about the Calvinist Church because of the new and increased censorship of the Habsburgs and the Catholic settlers in Transylvania. The representational patterns of Calvinist women in the eighteenth century is explored in this study thorough the example of countess Kata Bethlen.
On the eve of the St. Bartholomew’s Day in 1572, thousands of French Huguenots were massacred in Paris. One of the victims was their leader, admiral Gaspard de Coligny (1519–1572). His martyrdom was narrated in a short story which was translated into Hungarian with the title “Wedding in Paris” by a student from Debrecen, József Pap in...1766. The manuscript is kept at the Library of the Reformed College of Debrecen. One of the sources of this document was Jacobus Augustus Thuanus’ work, Historiarum sui temporis. This study interprets the historical background of the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre and its eighteenth-century Hungarian reception, and highlights that Coligny is shown as a Huguenot martyr in the text. The main purpose of the translator was to comfort the members of the Reformed Church and set an example for them during the period of the “bloodless counter-reformation” in eighteenth-century Hungary.
This study analyses a book which was published in 1830 in Halberstadt (Kingdom of Prussia) by Carolus Brüggeman: Historia Ecclesiae Evangelicae Augustanae Confessioni addictorum in Hungaria universe; precipue vero in Tredecim Oppidis Scepusii. The author, Antal Lajos Munyay, a Lutheran preacher whose name did not appear in the book, interprete...d the history of the Lutherans of the county of Szepes (comitatus Scepusiensi) from the Reformation to the nineteenth century. Munyay did not mention the word “martyr” even in the context of the Protestan persecutions of the 1670s. The present study thus tries to disclose the reasons for this surprisingly neutral narrative of early modern Lutheran history in Upper Hungary.
The review makes an attempt to summarize the most important questions of the research on ancient Christian martyrdom, relying on the writings of professor Boudewijn Dehandschutter (Leuven), the internationally acknowledged scholar who died recently and in honour of whom a Festschrift has been published. Dehandschutter’s research focussed on M...artyrium Polycarpi, a text dating back to the second century AD, which almost paradigmatically shows the most important questions of ancient Christian martyrdom, the nature of its cult and origins. The review touches upon the following questions: philology, etymology, theology, poetics and genre, various phenomena connected to the history of ideas and the cults regarding the cult of the martyrs from the beginnings to the end of the forth century AD.
Western European scholars have widely examined early modern Protestant martyrology since the nineteenth century. German, French, English and Dutch scholars have achieved significant results by applying the cross confessional study of martyrology, a field of research denying strict disciplinary boundaries. In the context of various research proj...ects on cultural memory (Das kulturelle Gedächtnis), recent studies on early modern martyrology have explored how martyrs were used as “sites” of religious and national memory (Erinnerungsorte, les lieux de mémoire), and how these persons were provided as “loci” for ritualized and political modes of remembrance (Erinnerungspolitik, Erinnerungskonkurrenz). This process of commemoration and oblivion also implies the fictionalization of the historical tradition, developed a Protestant culture of martyrs, and eventually created a special narrative of martyrdom. A few research projects have already started to systematically explore the construction of early modern martyrology as a mixture of different religious and national identities, with special attention to the anthropological aspects of the experience of suffering (Leidenserfahrung). The representations of early modern martyrs in several genres, stylistic registers and texts can help us to explore the reasons of their different roles in religious, national, and cultural memory.
Protestant martyrology was rejected by the members of the Catholic Church in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This phenomenon was interpreted from a confessional perspective by Petrus Canisius, Laurentius Surius and by other Catholic authors. As a result of the persecution of Hungarian Protestants in the 1670s, several texts were written and published not only in Hungarian, but also in Latin, German, English, Dutch and French. While Hungarian researchers have not focused on early modern Protestant martyrology yet, the present volume tries to facilitate a deeper understanding of martyrdom as a cross confessional and cross-cultural phenomenon, as well as encourage further study.