Title

Drinking, Family Relations and Authority in Early Modern Germany

Publication Date

7-2004

Journal

The Journal of Family History

Volume

29

Issue

3

First Page

253

Last Page

273

Abstract

The ideal of orderly family life in early modern Germany did not exclude drinking. In fact, drinks shared at the family table were closely tied to early modern notions of the marital bond and were also a necessary component of normal work relations. Drinking became a problem only when it threatened the stability of the household. The amount of alcohol involved in such cases might be as little as one drink if the circumstances were unsuitable. On the other hand, drinking that would by our standards be viewed as excessive or chronic could be considered acceptable . Even during and immediately after the period of Reformation, when polemical and prescriptive literature addressing the household was dominated by the problem of sin, drunkenness was rarely treated as a spiritual issues. The primary concern of both authorities and populace was not to protect the health or the rights of individuals but to protect the sanctity of the household and the stability of the community.

DOI

10.1177/0363199004266851

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