Idolatry, Markets, and Confession: The Global Project of the de Bry Family

Burghartz, Susanna. (2020) Idolatry, Markets, and Confession: The Global Project of the de Bry Family. In: Protestant Empires. Globalizing the Reformations. Cambridge, England, pp. 140-176.

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Theodor de Bry, his sons, Johann Theodor and Johann Israel, and their son-in-law, Matthäus Merian, are famous for chronicling the expansionist politics of European nations outside of Europe. Following closely the English, French, and Spanish into the Americas, and the Portuguese and Dutch into Asia, they created the first Protestant travel collection with truly global ambitions. Building on the latest research, this essay will show how this first global Protestant travel collection used Calvinist migrant networks to successfully address the European elites beyond all confessional barriers. The way in which the de Brys dealt with the question of idolatry is of particular interest, as it was so central to discussions of European belief at the time. Fascinated by South-American goldwork, they cherished their indigenous colleagues as equals while at the same time harshly condemning the production of idolatrous images and rituals by "heathens" as well as by Catholics. However, the first Protestant comprehensive travel collection, paradoxically, relied on images that continue to define our pictorial archive of early European expansion.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Geschichte > Bereich Frühe Neuzeit > Renaissance und frühe Neuzeit (Burghartz)
08 Cross-disciplinary Subjects > Europainstitut
UniBasel Contributors:Burghartz, Susanna
Item Type:Book Section, refereed
Book Section Subtype:Further Contribution in a Book
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Book item
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Last Modified:06 Apr 2021 14:58
Deposited On:06 Apr 2021 14:58

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