This new and expanded edition of the first comprehensive study of rituals in early modern Europe examines the impact on the European interpretation of ritual from the discoveries of new civilizations in the Americas and missionary efforts in China. It also adds more material about rituals peculiar to women. Edward Muir draws on extensive historical research to emphasize the persistence of traditional Christian ritual practices, even as enlightened elites attempted to choose reason over passion, textual interpretation over ritual action, and moral rectitude over gaining access to supernatural powers of anti-Christian rituals. First Edition Hb (1997) 0-521-40169-0 First Edition Pb (1997) 0-521-40967-5
"...Muir has written a superlative study that surpasses previous work in the field and constitutes the definitive introduction to the history of rituals and their place in early modern European popular culture." Steven G. Renhardt, Journal of Interdisciplinary History
Introduction: what is ritual?; Part I. The Ritual Moment: 1. Rites of passage; 2. The ritual calendar; Part II. Rituals of the Body: 3. Carnival and the lower body; 4. Manners and the upper body; Part III. Ritual Representation: 5. The Reformation as a revolution in ritual theory; 6. The Reformation as a ritual process; 7. Government as a ritual process; Epilogue: mere ritual.