Protestant Politics: Jacob Sturm (1489-1553) and the German Reformation

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Protestant Politics: Jacob Sturm (1489-1553) and the German Reformation. By Thomas A. Brady, Jr. [Studies in German Histories.] (Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: Humanities Press. 1995. Pp. xix, 449. $65.00.)

In delineating the career of Strasbourg's greatest political leader of the Reformation era, Jacob Sturm, Thomas Brady also offers the reader the finest detailed narrative of the political history of the early German Reformation that is available in any language. Beginning as a local magistrate, Jacob Sturm was propelled onto the Imperial stage by the Reformation movement and the confessional parties that it engendered. Sturm became the leading city politician in the Schmalkald League, the partner of Landgraf Philip of Hesse, and he spent the best years of his life representing the south German cities in imperial affairs. He experienced intimately the great political events of his generation: the Peasants' War of 1524-25, the Imperial Diets of the 1520's, '30's, and '40's, the formation of the Schmalkald League, the Protestant defeat in the Schmalkald War, the Interim and its aftermath. Although he believed that laws could not change beliefs, as a good "Marsiglian" he suppressed religious dissenters in Strasbourg while tacitly encouraging diversity of opinion in the Strasbourg Latin school. …