SCHMITT R., PETROVA A.A. The Lutheran-Protestant Last Supper as a Problem of Coordination and Positioning (the Case of Russia and Germany) [in German]


Reinhold Schmitt

Doctor of Sociology, Member of the Department of Pragmatics,

Institute of the German Language,

R 5, 6-13, D-68161 Mannheim, Germany

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Anna A. Petrova

Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Associate Professor, Head of the Department of German and Romanic Philology

Volgograd State University,

Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Abstract. This paper examines the celebration of The Last Supper in three Lutheran worship services based on the methodology of multimodal interaction analysis. The corresponding videos were recorded in Sarepta (Russia), Rimbach and Zotzenbach (both Germany). After the review of relevant research, the analytical interest in the Last Supper as a collective positional task has been explained. Three-case analyses reconstruct the architecture-forinteraction requirements for the collective movement of the community towards the altar. This movement, the positioning of the community to receive The Last Supper (wine and bread) and the return to the church benches are spatially related subtasks that need to be dealt with in the situation. The community’s movement is organised in obviously different ways in the three worship services. The reconstruction of these differences allows the formulation of three divergent models primarily regarding the following two aspects: on the one hand, the extent and form of socialisation (as a symbolic re-enactment of The Last Supper of Jesus Christ and his disciples on Maundy Thursday) and, on the other hand, the way in which the participants consume wine and bread. A model of socialisation with collective care (Sarepta), a model of partial socialisation with partial collective care (Zotzenbach) and an individualisation model with individual care (Rimbach) could be identified. In addition to the opportunities that the architecture provides for the performance of The Last Supper, the number of participants in particular was a key factor influencing the structure. Once a certain number is reached, there is an economic constraint which has a negative effect on the quality of socialisation.

The idea of conceptualising the Last Supper as a coordination and positioning task originates from Reinhold Schmitt. He has also developed the multimodal interaction-analytical methodology, which provides the basis for this research. Furthermore, he created and transcribed the video recordings in Rimbach and Zotzenbach. Anna Petrova recorded and transcribed the church services in Sarepta. The methodical and theoretical conception of the article comes from both authors. The analyses of the selected case studies have also been conducted in collaboration.

Key words: The Last Supper, Lutheran-Protestant church service, multimodality, interaction analysis of space, architecture-for-interaction, socio-spatial positioning, coordination.

Citation. Schmitt R., Petrova A.A. The Lutheran-Protestant Last Supper as а Problem of Coordination and Positioning (the Case of Russia and Germany). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2018, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 75-94. DOI:

Лицензия Creative Commons

The Lutheran-Protestant Last Supper as a Problem of Coordination and Positioning (the Case of Russia and Germany) [Schmitt R., Petrova A.A. Das Lutherisch-Protestantische Abendmahl als Koordinationsproblem und Positionierungsaufgabe: Beispiele aus Russland und Deutschland] by Schmitt R., Petrova A.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Download this file (5_Sсhmitt_Petrova.pmd.pdf) 5_Sсhmitt_Petrova.pmd.pdf