University of Erfurt

Project of Dr. Corinne Bayerl

From Port-Royal to Gotha: The Use of Jansenist Ideas in the Pietist Opposition against Theatre and Music

My research project will explore why and how the German pietist Gottfried Vockerodt used arguments by French Jansenists in the polemical debate about "adiaphora" or "Mitteldinge" at the end of the seventeenth century.

In his treatise "Wiederholetes Zeugnüs der Warheit Gegen die verderbte Music und Schauspiele [...] (1698), Vockererodt included a translation of Pierre Nicole's "Traité de la comédie" (1667) in which he heavily amended the original text. With both authors being in charge of education at highly reputed religious schools, their common focus is the question of the pedagogical value of the theatre as an instrument of (moral) education. To explain the various reasons why Vockerodt felt both compelled to include and alter Jansenist ideas when condemning music and public spectacles is the first objective of this project. Its broader goal is to show concrete points of connection between heterodox religious groups in Early Modern Europe across national and confessional boundaries. While English Puritanism and Dutch Reform movements have been recognized in their importance for the pre-history of German Pietism, the very scarce scholarship dealing with the relationship between French Jansenism and German Pietism has established hypothetical parallels only on the basis of theological beliefs, such as comparable views of predestination; my project goes further in taking into account the concrete knowledge, use, and at times, misuse of Jansenist arguments in Pietist work such as Vockerodt's.

Short biography

Corinne Bayerl is Senior Instructor of Comparative Literature at the University of Oregon. She received her Ph.D. in French Literature from the University of Chicago in 2014 after completing undergraduate studies at the Sorbonne in Paris and earning an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität in Munich. Dr. Bayerl’s research focuses on Early Modern theatre, religious thought, and translation practices in Europe. She is particularly interested in the cultural impact of dissident religious groups in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, with an emphasis on the French Jansenists. In recent years, Dr. Bayerl’s research has been supported by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Newberry Library, and the French Government. Dr. Bayerl co-directs the international research group CAHSA, an international group of literary scholars and historians whose research involves religious texts and practices in the Early Modern Francophone world. 





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