136 ry’ (1995), even though to some extent he discards this notion. Apart from Szaká- ly, only Katalin Péter (b. 1937) – and her followers, Gabriella Erdélyi (b. 1971), Antal Molnár (b. 1969) and Sándor Őze (b. 1963) – seem to be interested in Reformation theories, others tend to keep their thoughts on methodology to themselves. Apart from this pragmatism, the literature in Hungary has evolved, surprisingly, in parallel to the international research trends, following them almost without delay. A reformáció jegyében [In the Spirit of the Reformation], the literary history overview by János Horváth (1878-1961), is characterised by the character-oriented approach which dominated the ?irst half of the twentieth century (it is structured around magnate patrons and Maecenas circles).2 The concept of ‘market town Reformation’ appeared a few years later, starting from 1957 (simultaneously with the boom in German town research). Representatives of the market town theory – Tibor Klaniczay (1923-1992), László Makkai (1914-1989), Ferenc Szakály – sought to ?ind a solution for multiple disadvantages and de?iciencies. On the one hand, the alleged relatively low degree of urbanisation in Hungary, and on the other, the signi?icant lack of data due to the destruction of archives and the lack of educational institutions (such as universities and printers) interfered with the study of the Reformation in Hungary as an urban development, and prevented the extension of the relevant source base with methods used in urban research. Moreover, the archives of the privileged medieval town chain from Sopron to Brașov proved to be mostly inaccessible at the time. These scholars’ thesis stated that in the Hungarian settlement structure the middle and southern part of the country lacked “real towns (civitates)”, hence the market towns (oppida) assumed urban functions, and their citizens (mostly occupied in the beef and wine trade) became the basis of the Reformation, its key shaping force. For decades, nobody thought of questioning the hypothesis. Historians considered it a valid interpretive framework, as if it were evidence. Retrospectively, one has the impression that although the market town theory, which tried to connect the economic and spiritual processes, can go hand in hand with the Marxist approach to history, it was not the demands of Marxism which played a major role in its creation but the needs and characteristics of Hungarian historical research, primarily the above mentioned pragmatic aspects. This is the reason why the thesis did not become normative before 1989, and why it outlived the political changes after 1989 by a good few years. Despite the theory’s tendency to greatly simplify and generalise, it had a positive effect on the research focusing on the Reformation of some market towns, without signi?icantly interfering with the formulation of questions regarding other aspects, especially concerning the history of ideas. The main added value of the Klaniczay-Makkai school is 2 Horváth: A reformáció jegyében.
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