TITLE: Cruelty, Savagery and the Formation of a National Community in the Bohemian Reformation
SPEAKER: Joel Seltzer
EVENT DATE: 07/23/2008
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 49 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
The Bohemian Reformation of the 15th century was a seminal event in the history of late medieval Europe. Kluge Fellow Joel Seltzer contends that for the first time, the authority of the Roman Church over Latin Christendom was broken by a religious reform that sought to return to the primitive roots of the early Church. Anticipating the Protestant Reformation by a full century, the Bohemian reform emphasized the authority of the Bible, preaching and reading the Gospels in the vernacular, clerical poverty, and the lowering of divisions between clergy and laity. Additionally, this reform led to five crusades, civil war and the hardening of linguistic divisions between Czechs and Germans.
This talk explores the role of medieval chronicle writing in establishing and maintaining this national, Czech-speaking religious revolution. It focuses particularly on the rhetorical uses of violence as a means of binding the Czech community literally over the "dead bodies" of the fallen, and creating a sense of a national destiny centuries before the advent of the modern ideology of nationalism.
Speaker Biography: Kluge Fellow Joel Seltzer is a visiting assistant professor in medieval history at Skidmore College in Saratoga, N.Y. He was awarded a doctorate from Yale University.