by increasing the self-confidence of the laity and producing new denominations such as Methodism and Moravianism with their own distinctive, and protean, understandings of the ministry. The period between 1660 and 1780 therefore saw the emergence of a significant challenge to the religious and social status of the established Protestant clergies.
With this broader context in mind, this chapter examines the structures and experiences of the Protestant clergies of Europe in the decades between 1660 and 1780 and considers how their position in church and society developed over time. The five sections of this chapter examine key aspects of clerical life: social background, education, methods of appointment and subsequent career patterns, income levels, and status within the state and local community. A recurring theme will be whether or not the Protestant clergies canbe described as a professional group duringthis period. It willbecome obvious that the early modern Protestant clergy were in an ambiguous position, poised between a traditional understanding of their calling and place within parish communal life, and an emerging sense of being members of a separate occupational group.
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