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The Dickens Brooks Lecture
"Faith and Survival: A Religious History of the Thirty Years' War"

Date: Thursday 29 February
Time: 5:30pm-6:30pm, followed by a drinks reception
Location: Crausaz Wordsworth Building, Robinson College, Adams Road, Cambridge
Speaker: Professor Bridget Heal

Click through to register for tickets. This event is free and open to the public. 

The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) was Germany’s first ‘Great War’. Europe had experienced nothing like it before and would experience nothing like it again until the twentieth century. It brought with it a population loss of up to two-thirds in parts of the Holy Roman Empire and an unprecedented level of material destruction. The conflict was primarily about governance, politics, and the balance of power within Europe. But religious divisions also played a part. This lecture will serve as a call to augment the study of religion’s role in precipitating and prolonging early modern conflict with a recognition of the importance of faith for survival and recovery. It will consider the disruption of everyday religious life during the war and will focus on resilience, analysing the beliefs and practices that helped individuals and communities endure prolonged crises. Finally, it will ask what religious recovery looked like, exploring the new stability of the post-war period.

Speaker bio: Professor Bridget Heal studied in Cambridge and in London and has been at the University of St Andrews since 2002 where she is currently Head of History. Her research focusses on the long-term impact of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations on German society and culture. The most distinctive element of her approach has been the incorporation of visual evidence into the broader frameworks of religious history. She is the author of two monographs, The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Early Modern Germany: Protestant and Catholic Piety, 1500-1648 and A Magnificent Faith: Art and Identity in Lutheran Germany as well as numerous articles and essays. She is currently writing a religious history of the Thirty Years War.

The Dickens-Brooks Lecture series was originally founded by Dr P N Brooks, to celebrate the life and achievements of Professor A. G. Dickens, the eminent Reformation historian and sometime Director of the Institute of Historical Research. The Lectures advertise the major contribution of Cambridge to the study of the history of the Reformation, understood in the widest sense to include also Theology, Art History, Music, Architecture and Literature and to underline the commitment of Robinson College to the furthering of these enquiries within and beyond the University.

We are grateful to the Caritas Foundation, the Wittenberg Center for Reformation Studies, and former students of Dr Brooks for their generosity in making this event possible.

 Please note: this event will be filmed