Contest communities : flight and identity in the reformation.


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This dissertation explores the ways in which the decision of whether or not to flee from persecution in the Protestant Reformation both affected and was affected by communal identity. It uses the personal correspondence of five individuals from the Reformation to explore how they navigated the complex relationship between their religious, national, social and familial identities as they went about making this decision. Oftentimes, the process of deciding whether or not to flee hinged upon whether or not an individual was willing to give up one aspect of their identity in order to protect another. If they were willing to do so, they abandoned their national or religious identity and either fled to protect what they believed or reconverted to preserve their civic belonging. If the individual could not do so, then they remained and suffered the consequences of openly affirming both their religious and national affiliations when authorities declared the two to be incompatible. Regardless, this dissertation demonstrates the process of identity formation in early-modern Europe as new religious identities vied with emerging national identities to create complex ideological landscapes which early reformers were forced to navigate, both physically and metaphorically.



Reformation. Flight. Luther. Calvin. Exile. Identity.