Lutheran ecclesiastical culture in early modern Germany was defined by theological innovation and experimentation, political engagement in cities, towns, and universities, and the initiatives of individual lay leaders and clergymen. This chapter explores the mental development of one such clergyman and innovator, Heinrich Heshusius, the second son of Lutheran theologian Tilemann Heshusius. The chronological time-span for my analysis is the 35 years between the birth of Heinrich (1556) and the date of his first major assignment as pastor and superintendent in Tonna (1591). Rather than a comprehensive survey of political and ecclesiastical developments in the German lands, this chapter concerns itself with the immediate family of Tilemann Heshusius and the circle of Lutheran pastors and professors located at the University of Helmstedt, founded in 1576.2 Tilemann Heshusius provided his sons and students with a rigorous theological education that most historians would now label “GnesioLutheran” in character, and he also arranged for his children (including a
daughter, Anna) to be married into an extended family network in North Germany that included pastors and professors who offered mutual support to one another, along with opportunities for education, employment, and career advancement. Although this social network was centered in Helmstedt, it also enjoyed overlapping connections to office holders in nearby cities and towns, as well as established Lutheran clergy networks in Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, Albertine Saxony, Ernestine Saxony, and the universities of Wittenberg, Jena, Königsberg, and Rostock.