divinity for six years upon graduation. However, this did not mean full-time attendance at university but private study under the control of the presbytery, during which time probationers taught in parish schools to secure an income. The need of students to do so highlights the financial burden of a university education. Students from modest backgrounds could simply not afford to attend university for long periods of time. As Hope demonstrates, there was a considerable difference in Lutheran Germany between a gifted and well-connected elite who received an education of between five and ten years, and a poor ordinand who could expect at most two years of theological education on a course that was itself dependent on the whim of the lecturer.
With the exception of the Presbyterian churches in Scotland and Ireland, most European Protestant churches did not insist on demonstrated theological competence as a necessary qualification for new clergy. As noted, the Church of England only required evidence of a university education in the arts as a qualification for the ministry. The number of theology degrees held by Lutheran pastors remained small until well into the seventeenth century. In addition, there was a definite hierarchy in the type of qualification one could expect. Masters degrees were given to urban ministers (or graduates of Tubingen) and doctorates to superintendents or court preachers. When theological education was offered, it reflected the values of the church authorities and the often-outdated confessional politics that arose after the Council of Trent. Yet the so-called Lutheran scholasticism this produced had been weakened during the seventeenth century by the influence of Reformed theology and the development of a more spiritual and devotional approach, which laid the basis for the triumph of Pietist pastoral theology. These developments have led Nicholas Hope rightly to caution against overstating the 'coercive power' of theology. Most ordinands in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries preferred 'customary and pastoral' rather than controversial doctrines. Beyond the inadequacy of theological education, practical training for the realities of parish life was in the words of Aston 'either minimal or nonexistent'. The picture that emerges is of clergymen generally ill-equipped to grapple with theological matters and thrust into parish ministry without any semblance of formal training in practical or pastoral matters.
There were exceptions to this pattern and attempts were made by church authorities to improve the oversight, education, and practical training of potential ministers. A number of instances may be cited. First, the tradition in Scandinavia was to train the Lutheran clergy in pastoral theology, and, given the attachment of the people to the state churches, this seems to have paid
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