Le prédicateur Georg Scherer ou la perception de l'Histoire Sainte dans l'ici et maintenant viennois (1585)

Translated title of the contribution: Georg Scherer, preacher. the perception of sacred history in the here-and-now of Vienna in 1585

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Lucien Febvre argued that Europe saw a shift in the years 1540-1550 from an auditory to a visual culture. This sensorial revolution resulted in large part from the work of the Company of Jesus, whose members, through their theological, pastoral and theatrical productions, put the image in the foreground of the Catholic Reformation. The Viennese Jesuit Georg Scherer (1540-1605) used the landscapes surrounding the city of Vienna as a book of Christian images, in his Mayenpredigt of 1585. The great book of the world that Georg Scherer deciphered for his readers bore the stigmata of a sacred biblical history whose horizon was salvation itself. For Scherer, the episodes of Creation, the Resurrection of the dead and eternal life were always perceptible in the spatio-temporal framework of the faithful - the Austrian nature of 1580s. The terrestrial world, in its most concrete contemporaneity, was capable of being read two ways, and that behind the contemporary history of the historical break fruit of the Reformation, Scherer unveiled the continuity of the intemporal history of Salvation. Yet his method depended on a dialectical movement: the rebirth of nature, in the month of May, with all its ramifications had to recall the Bible, the only work capable, inversely, of providing the interpretative keys to the surrounding world. This omnipresent sanctification of the contemporary world finally justified a greater sanctification of the Church. By affirming the Church as the only valid mediator between the faithful and the real, Georg Scherer operated a re-enchantement of the world, intended to link the history of the Viennese people of the end of the 16th century to the continuity of a Catholic history perpetuated under the aegis of the Roman church. When the city of Vienna in the 1580s, like the rest of Lower Austria, was wracked by religious schism, Scherer sanctified the here-and-now of the faithful, torn in their faith, in order to integrate them in the hereafter.

Translated title of the contributionGeorg Scherer, preacher. the perception of sacred history in the here-and-now of Vienna in 1585
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)25-37
Number of pages13
JournalRevista de Historiografia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • 16th century Vienna
  • Austrian Studies
  • Catholic Preaching
  • Church History
  • Counter-Reformation
  • Early Modern History
  • Early Modern Intellectual History
  • Georg Scherer
  • Jesuits
  • Pastoral Literature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History


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