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Marpingen: Apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Bismarckian Germany
     

Marpingen: Apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Bismarckian Germany

by David Blackbourn
 
In 1876, three girls from the German village of Marpingen claimed to see a vision of the Virgin Mary. Thousands flocked to the area. Now, a leading historian brilliantly reflects on Germany's crisis-laden atmosphere at the time, and offers a subtle interpretation of the interplay between politics and religion.

Overview

In 1876, three girls from the German village of Marpingen claimed to see a vision of the Virgin Mary. Thousands flocked to the area. Now, a leading historian brilliantly reflects on Germany's crisis-laden atmosphere at the time, and offers a subtle interpretation of the interplay between politics and religion.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1876, three eight-year-old German girls gathering berries in the woods claimed to have seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary in the village of Marpingen. Dubbed ``the German Lourdes,'' the solidly Catholic village attracted tens of thousands of pilgrims, many claiming miraculous cures from a nearby spring. Prussian authorities intervened with a military occupation, curfews, sometimes brutal policing and arrests, including the incarceration of the three girls, who were accused of deception but later released. Catholic clergy, alarmed by manifestations of popular religiousity, remained silent, while liberals viewed Marpingen as symptomatic of Catholics' superstition and disloyalty to Bismarck's Germany. In this engrossing study, exhaustively researched from German archives, Harvard history professor Blackbourn links the Marpingen visions to severe economic distress and persecution of Germany's Catholic minority. He also provides a social history of Marian apparitions from the French Revolution to the 1980s. BOMC History Club alternate; Readers Subscription Book Club selection. (Sept.)
Library Journal
In July 1876, three girls in Marpingen, Germany, claimed that the Virgin Mary had appeared to them. Blackbourn (history, Harvard) has deftly mined a host of sources both pro and con, official and private, that sets the event in the context of Bismarkian Germany and the Kulterkampf that pitted the state against the Catholic Church. Much of the conflict arose from the clash of cultures: "ignorant" peasants against the progressive, liberal statesmen; Protestant against Catholic. Combining history, sociology, psychology, and religion, Blackbourn gives us a picture, seen from several perspectives, of one small German town at a critical period, and, at the same time, examines the wider significance of what at first glance would seem an insignificant, parochial event. Recommended for both general and specialized collections.-Augustine Curley, Newark Abbey, N.J.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780198217831
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
12/28/1993
Pages:
480

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