Dynast und Kirche. Studien zum Verhaltnis von Kirche und Staat im spateren Mittelalter und in der Neuzeit. By Alfred A. Strnad. Edited by Josef Gelmi und Helmut Gritsch in collaboration with Caroline Baidemair. [Innsbrucker Historische Studien,Vols. 18/19.] (Innsbruck: Studien Verlag. 1997. Pp. xxii, 688. OS 650.00.)
This is a collection of twenty-three studies, six of which were hitherto unpublished, by the Ordinarius for modern history at the University of Innsbruck, the chair established originally in 1887 for Ludwig Pastor, the well-known historian of the popes, The anthology was edited by his students on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday. It reflects the honoree's distinguished career as a historical researcher. Having obtained his doctorate under Alphons Lhotsky, the Nestor of Austrian medievalists, he then worked in the Institut fr Osterreichische Geschichtsforschung, that nursery of painstaking diplomatics, as assistant to its director, Leo Santifaller. In 1964 he transferred to the department for historical studies at the Austrian Cultural Institute in Rome, where he remained for thirteen years before he took up his present appointment in 1976. Much of his time there was spent in the Vatican Archives, particularly for his study of the earlier career of the humanist Enea Silvio de' Piccolomini, the later Pius II, and the Piccolomini family, who were closely involved in Austria. While most of this collection deals with the later Middle Ages, some articles spill over into the early modern, particularly the Counter-Reformation, period. The last one takes us even to the end of World War I. One of the purposes the editors had in mind in publishing these studies was to fill a perceived gap in the historiography of the late medieval Habsburgs, especially their ecclesiastical policy Whereas this work may not fulfill the desideratum completely, it certainly lays the groundwork for such a book. With the possible exception of the first study, the essays reflect a good old-fashioned German approach to the writing of history, namely, a conscientious and minute search for, and examination of, relevant sources, including what to us may seem trivial biographical data of semiobscure personalities. But in a surprising manner Strnad is able to use these details to shed light on broader issues. Sometimes he finds it even necessary to correct his old mentor, Lhotsky.
The only truly interpretative study is the first one, his unpublished The Holy Roman Empire in the Late Middle Ages: Insights into Imperial Concepts," In it we have a sweeping; but acute interpretation of the notion of the medieval Empire and the part that the Habsburgs played in it from the death of the Hohenstaufen Emperor Frederick II to the Imperial reformulation at the time of the Habsburg Emperor Charles V Using the overarching idea of a universal Empire that would bring about peace and justice as found in Dante's De Monarchia, Strnad gives us an outline, albeit subjective at times, of the character and policy of the various German kings or emperors. …