Religion in Social Relations
Judit Klement and Veronika Novák
Special Editors of the Thematic Issue
The Difficulties of Conversion Non-Catholic Students in Jesuit Colleges in Western Hungary in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century
AbstractThe societies of the multiethnic and multilingual region of Central Europe became more diverse through the emergence of distinct confessions (Konfessionalisierung). The first half of the seventeenth century is especially interesting in this regard. In this period, the Catholic Church started to win back its positions in the Hungarian Kingdom as well, but the institutionalization of the Protestant denominations had by that time essentially reached completion. The schools, which were sustained by the various denominations, became the most efficient devices of religious education, persuasion and conversion. In this essay I present, through the example of the Jesuit colleges of western Hungary, the denominational proportions and movements of the students in the largely non-Catholic urban settings. Examining two basic types of sources, the annual accounts (Litterae Annuae) of the Society of Jesus and the registries of the Jesuit colleges in Győr and Pozsony (today Bratislava, Slovakia), I compare and contrast the data and venture an answer to questions regarding the kinds of opportunities non-Catholic students had in the Jesuit colleges. In contrast with the assertions made in earlier historiography, I conclude that conversion was not so widespread in the case of the non-Catholic students of the Jesuits. They were not discriminated against in their education, and some of them remained true to their confessions to the end of their studies in the colleges.
Intra- and Inter-confessional Conflicts in Tiszaeszlár in the Period of the “Great Trial”
AbstractAt around noon on Saturday, April 1, 1882, Eszter Solymosi, a 14-year-old girl disappeared without a trace from Tiszaeszlár, a village in Szabolcs county in the Tiszántúl region. The case remains unsolved. In the course of a criminal procedure, one of the charges made was that the Jews living in Eszlár had murdered the girl and used her for a ritual blood sacrifice. Finally, in an extended trial held in Nyíregyháza the accused were acquitted in the absence of proof.
I have found only one open conflict that took place in the public sphere prior to the trial held in Nyíregyháza that was thematized along Christian–Jewish confessional interests: the issue of Jewish education. However, there were numerous intra-confessional conflicts among the Christian denominations. The best way of reconstructing the subtle network of relationships connecting the villagers (Christians and Jews as well) is to make an effort to expose the capillaries of the “female public opinion” of the village. To do this, one must analyze the background of the discourses of the trial, the conflicts of the everyday life.
Rivalry between the approved Christian denominations found manifestation either in conversion or in mixed marriages. After the emancipation of the Jews, the Christian–Jewish conflict still took the form not only of blood libels, but also of the ritual forms of intimidation and violence.
“The Jewish Ambassador to Budapest”: Mór Wahrmann and the Politics of “Tactfulness”
AbstractIn this article I explore the cultural paradoxes associated with the articulation of Jewish identity in fin-de-siècle Hungary. By focusing on the political career of Mór Wahrmann, I trace the implicit contradictions of a liberal public sphere that officially recognized freedom of religion for Jews but implicitly banned all expression of Jewish cultural or ethnic difference. Reading Wahrmann’s career through his famous joke about the “Jewish ambassador in Budapest,” I argue that this system gave rise to a radically bifurcated public culture, which prohibited even the mention of a distinct Jewish identity in official politics or social life, but tolerated and even celebrated the performance of Jewish difference in the realms of commercial entertainment and humor. The paper is part of a larger book project entitled “The Invisible Jewish Budapest,” which attempts to recuperate the lost world of Jewish urban experience that flourished in Budapest in the years between 1867 and 1914.
The Social Integration of the Jewish Upper Bourgeoisie in the Hungarian Traditional Elites
A Survey of the Period from the Reform Era to World War I
AbstractIn the spirit of the principles of liberal nationalism, which dominated Hungarian political life from the Reform Era to the end of World War I, Christian politicians and intellectuals tirelessly emphasized their firm belief that, in addition to acculturating and identifying with the Hungarian nation, the Jewry must also integrate socially into majority Christian society. This call for integration also allotted a task to the Christian members of Hungarian society, namely that they welcome their compatriots into their social circles. The views of contemporaries notwithstanding, according to whom the greatest aspiration of the Jewish haute bourgeoisie was to gain acceptance into the circles of the traditional social elites and their families, this striving was really only characteristic of the second and third generations of upper-class Jewish families. With regards to the last stage of integration, in other words marriage into the families of the traditional elite, with one exception that confirms the rule, this was only possible for Jews if they were willing to convert. Following the 1850s, 1860s, and 1870s, decades that were more open from the perspective of integration into the social sphere, the traditional elites closed ranks. The National Casino, which had been founded in 1827, accepted its last Jewish member in 1872. Neither the Country Casino that was created in 1883 (it was referred to as the Országos Kaszinó, i.e. the word “nemzeti,” or “national,” was replaced with “országos,” which means national in the more political sense) nor the Park Club (which was created in 1895) ever had a single Jew among their members, though both had many Christian members who had converted from Judaism. This constituted a clear contradiction of the liberal promise of social integration, though at the same time it also indicates that exclusion was not (yet) based on concepts of race.
Religions and the Nation in Kassa before World War I
AbstractThe paper aims to evaluate the role of religion in the everyday life of a multilingual town in the former Hungarian Kingdom in the second half of the long nineteenth century. It focuses in particular on the adaptation to and adoption of nationalist discourse and practice in religious communities. Religion as traditional and nation as modern ideological concept and symbolic order competed against each other for influence in society. However, religious representatives and nationalist activists also worked together in mutual initiatives. The main goal of the Hungarian nationalist program was linguistic homogenization, i.e. the Magyarization of society, and churches were assigned a special role in this project. They provided the possibility of gaining mass attention and could serve for mass inducement. At the same time, church institutions and services were spaces of everyday multilingual practice in mixed lingual areas. In the end, different confessional communities in Kassa (German: Kaschau; today Košice, Slovakia)1 showed different strategies. The Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church, due to the resistance from the majority of believers or church clerks (who protested against Hungarian-only services), remained multilingual up to World War I. Other communities transformed themselves quite smoothly from multilingual to Hungarian-only and therefore “patriotic” or “loyal” communities, e.g. the Jewish Reform (Neolog) Community or the Local Greek Catholics, whereas the Calvinists had always regarded themselves as the true “Magyar Denomination.” In general, the churches always played a vital role in the social and cultural life of the town, in school and educational systems, in associations, or in the culture of memory. But many questions and discussions of the era were linked to nationalist requirements and objectives which concerned the church representatives.
Religious Life in an Industrial Town The Example of Ostrava, 1850–1950
AbstractIn the first half of the twentieth century, Ostrava (Moravian Ostrava, Greater Ostrava), as the center of the Ostravian industrial area (with a high concentration of plants that use coal, iron, and steel and were involved in the chemical industry in the nineteenth century), was not only an important center of Austria–Hungary and then Czechoslovakia, but also served as an important center of modern religious life in the Czech lands. Between the two world wars, the Ostravian area was the center of the Czechoslovak atheistic movement, the National Czechoslovak Hussite Church, and the Middle-European spiritualistic movement. In this essay, which is based on records and statistic materials from Ostrava City Archive and other Czech archives, will map religious life of Moravian Ostrava in relation to two social groups, the working class and the middle class of both the Czech and the German speaking populations, including German speaking people of Jewish origin. The second observed phenomenon, proselytism, will be described based on Books of religious conversions of the Roman Catholic Parish Office from 1854 to 1920. I consider the frequency of conversions between individual confessions, the most frequent reasons given for conversion, mixed marriages within working class and middle class environments, and Jewish converts to Roman Catholicism.
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A reformáció nyelve. Tanulmányok a magyarországi reformáció első negyedszázadának vizsgálata alapján. (Humanizmus és reformáció 34)
[Language of the Reformation. Essays Based on the Study of the First Twenty-five Years of the Hungarian Reformation (Humanism and Reformation 34)].
By Zoltán Csepregi. Reviewed by Gabriella Erdélyi
Politikai korrupció a Monarchia Magyarországán, 1867–1918 [Political Corruption
in Hungary of the Compromise Era, 1867–1918]. By András Cieger.
Reviewed by Zoltán Fónagy
The Inauguration of Organized Political Warfare – Cold War Organizations Sponsored by the National Committee for a Free Europe / Free Europe
Committee. Edited by Katalin Kádár Lynn. Reviewed by Barnabás Vajda
Kisebbség és többség között. A magyar és a zsidó/izraeli etnikai és kulturális tapasztalatok az elmúlt századokban [Between Minority and Majority. Hungarian
and Jewish/Israeli Ethnical and Cultural Experiences in the Last Centuries].
Edited by Pál Hatos and Attila Novák. Reviewed by Árpád Welker
Notes on Contributors