Max Weber Programme 2011/24
In the sixteenth century, the dukes of Württemberg, also sovereigns of Montbéliard, enforced Lutheranism as the new faith in the city and its surrounding dependent villages. The dukes sought to convert the French-speaking peasants there to the new religion but stumbled on ancestral traditions, old rituals, local identity and language, part of the peasants’ mentalities, culture and set of social norms. In order to disseminate the new faith, the authorities relied on pastoral visits and teaching in order to convert the faithful, and also established a consistory to make sure social discipline and new moral norms were effectively respected.
This paper explores rural communities confronted by the process of conversion and confessionalization in Montbéliard from 1524 to 1660 and intends to demonstrate that peasants adapted somehow to the new faith but kept their own beliefs, rituals and social norms, refusing therefore an acculturation process.