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Department of Computational Linguistics

The Spread of Ideas during the Reformation in 16th Century Correspondence

Supervisor: Dr. Phillip Ströbel


This project aims to investigate the dissemination of ideas during the Reformation using correspondence data from the 16th century. Our research will be based on two primary datasets: the Süddeutscher Theologenbriefwechsel and Bullinger Digital.
Our goal is to extract the main concepts from the letters and track their evolution over time in the correspondence network. To achieve this, we will utilize a range of advanced techniques such as Handwritten Text Recognition, semantic indexing, word embeddings, and topic modeling, alongside network analysis techniques.
Our approach will allow us to uncover the key themes and ideas that drove the spread of the Reformation across different regions and networks. By examining the patterns of correspondence, we can gain valuable insights into how these ideas were transmitted and how they influenced the development of religious and political thought during this critical period in history.


  • Python
  • Knowledge of network analysis advantageous