Professor Bridget Heal

Professor Bridget M Heal

MA (Cantab), MA (Lond.), PhD (Lond.) - Professor

Contact Details

E-mail -
Telephone - +44 (0)1334 462909
Fax - +44 (0)1334 463334
Twitter - @bridget_heal

Research Profile on Research@StAndrews




Teaching and Research Interests

My research focusses on the long-term impact of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations on German society and culture. The most distinctive element of my approach is the incorporation of visual evidence into the broader frameworks of religious history. My first monograph, The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Early Modern Germany: Protestant and Catholic Piety, 1500-1648, drew on both textual and visual sources to analyse the significance of Marian piety during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. My second monograph, A Magnificent Faith: Art and Identity in Lutheran Germany, was published in 2017.  It explains how and why Lutheranism—a confession that insisted upon the pre-eminence of God’s Word—became a visually magnificent faith, a faith whose adherents produced, during the eighteenth century, monuments as splendid as the Frauenkirche in Dresden. I spent 2017-18 as a visiting fellow at the Freie Universität in Berlin in order to work on my next major project, which focuses on religious life during and after the Thirty Years' War.

My teaching follows my research interests closely. I lecture and tutor for MO1007, ‘The Early Modern Western World, c.1450-c.1750’. At third-year level, I currently offer a selection of modules focusing on the social and cultural history of early modern Europe: ‘Art and Piety’, ‘Women and Menand Witches and Witch-hunting’. My fourth-year special subject is on ‘The German Hercules: Martin Luther and Germany 1517-2017’.          


Main Publications


  • A Magnificent Faith: Art and Identity in Lutheran Germany (OUP, 2017) [more details]
  • The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Early Modern Germany: Protestant and Catholic Piety, 1500-1648 (CUP, 2007) [more details]

Edited Volumes

  • Bridget Heal and Anorthe Kremers (eds), Radicalism and Dissent in the World of Protestant Reform (V&R, 2017) [more details]
  • Bridget Heal and Joseph Leo Koerner (eds), Art and Religious Reform in Early Modern Europe, special issue of Art History 40 (2), April 2017 [more details]
  • Bridget Heal and Ole Grell (eds), The Impact of the European Reformation: Princes, Clergy and People (Ashgate, 2008)


  • Ein herrlicher Glaube: Kunst und religiöse Identität in Regensburg und im lutherischen Deutschland im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert’ in: Harriet Rudolph (ed.), Die Reichsstadt Regensburg und die Reformation im Heiligen Römischen Reich (Regensburg, 2018)
  • ‘Lutheran Baroque: The Afterlife of a Reformation Altarpiece’, Art History 40 (2) (April 2017)
  • ‘Reformatorische Bildwerke in der Kunst der Aufklärung‘ in Wolf-Friedrich Schäufele / Christoph Strohm (ed.), Das Bild der Reformation in der Aufklärung (Gütersloh, 2017)
  • ‘Visual and Material Culture’ in The Oxford Handbook of the Protestant Reformations, ed. Ulinka Rublack (OUP, 2016)
  • ‘Kirchenordnungen und das Weiterbestehen religiöser Kunstwerke in lutherischen Kirchen’ in Ordnungen für die Kirche – Wirkungen auf die Welt: Evangelische Kirchenordnungen des 16. Jahrhunderts, ed. Sabine Arend und Gerald Dörner (Mohr Siebeck, 2015)
  • ‘Commemoration and Consolation: Images in Lutheran Saxony, c.1550-1700‘ in Preparing for Death, remembering the Dead, ed. Tarald Rasmussen and Jon Øygarden Flæten (V&R, 2015)
  • ‘Seeing Christ: Visual Piety in Saxony’s Erzgebirge’ in Visual Acuity and the Arts of Communication in Early Modern Germany, ed. Jeffrey Chipps Smith (Ashgate, 2014)
  • ‘Church Space and Religious Change in Reformation Germany’, in Religious Conversion: History, Experience and Meaning, ed. Ira Katznelson and Miri Rubin (Ashgate, 2014)
  • ‘“Zum Andenken und zur Ehre Gottes”: Kunst und Frömmigkeit im frühneuzeitlichen Luthertum’ in Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, 104 (2013)
  • 'The Catholic Eye and the Protestant Ear: the Reformation as a non-visual event?’ in The Myth of the Reformation, ed. Peter Opitz (V&R, 2013)
  • ‘”Better Papist than Calvinist”: Art and Identity in Later Lutheran Germany’, German History 29/4 (2011) [awarded a prize for the best article published in GH during 2011 by the journal’s editorial board]
  • ‘Mary “Triumphant over Demons and also Heretics”: Religious Symbols and Confessional Uniformity in Catholic Germany’ in Diversity and Dissent: Negotiating Religious Differences in Central Europe, 1500-1800, ed. Howard Louthan, Gary B. Cohen and Franz A. J. Szabo (Berghahn Books, 2011)
  • ‘Sacred image and sacred space in sixteenth-century Germany’ in Sacred Space: The Redefinition of Sanctity in Post-Reformation Europe, ed. Will Coster and Andrew Spicer (CUP,, 2005)
  • ‘Marian devotion and confessional identity in sixteenth-century Germany’ in Studies in Church History, volume 39, The Church and Mary, ed. Robert Swanson (EHS / Boydell and Brewer, 2004)
  • ‘Images of the Virgin Mary and Marian devotion in Protestant Nuremberg’ in Religion and “Superstition” in Reformation Europe, ed. Bill Naphy and Helen Parish (Manchester University Press, 2003)
  • ‘Civitas Virginis? The significance of civic dedication to the Virgin for the development of Marian Imagery in Siena before 1311’ in Art, Politics, and Civic Religion in Central Italy, 1261 – 1352, ed. Joanna Cannon and Beth Williamson (Ashgate, 2000) 

General and Review Essays

Administrative Duties

I am currently Director of the Reformation Studies Institute and lead editor of the book series 'St Andrews Studies in Reformation History'. I am a member of the board of the Verein für Reformationsgeschichte.


Research Students


Nora Epstein, Visual Commonplacing: The Transmission and Reception of Printed Devotional Images in Reformed England (with Andrew Pettegree)
Rebecca Lott, Ethnic Charitable Societies in Philadelphia and Charleston, 1740s-1810s (with Emma Hart)

Recently completed:

Nadja Kundmüller
, The cult of the Eucharist in early modern Bavaria
Drew Thomas, The industry of Evangelism: Printing for the Reformation in Luther’s Wittenberg (with Andrew Pettegree)
Róisín Watson, Lutheran visual culture in the Duchy of Württemberg




Main Publications

The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Early Modern Germany