The Reformation of Ritual: An Interpretation of Early Modern Germany

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Overview

In The Reformation of Ritual Susan Karant-Nunn explores the function of ritual in early modern German society, and the extent to which it was modified by the Reformation.
Employing anthropological insights, and drawing on extensive archival research, Susan Karant-Nunn outlines the significance of the ceremonial changes. This comprehensive study includes an examination of all major rites of passage: birth, baptism, confirmation, engagement, marriage, the churching of women after childbirth, penance, the Eucharist, and dying. The author argues that the changes in ritual made over the course of the century reflect more than theological shifts; ritual was a means of imposing discipline and of making the divine more or less accessible. Church and state cooperated in using ritual as one means of gaining control of the populace.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Karant-Nunn (history, Portland State U.) employs anthropological insight and draws on archival research to explore the function of ritual in early modern German society and the ways in which it was modified by the Reformation. She takes into account emerging Calvinism as well as the early Lutheran Church, and considers regional variations in religious practice, comparing Protestant observances to the widespread Catholic ones of the Middle Ages and describing to what extent official views were adopted by the laity and the people. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Engagement and marriage ceremonies: taming the beast within 6
2 To beat the Devil: baptism and the conquest of sin 43
3 Churching, a women's rite 72
4 Repentance, confession, and the Lord's Table: separating the divine from the human 91
5 Banning the dead and ordering the living: the selective retention of Catholic practice 138
6 Ritual change: conclusions 190
Notes 202
Index 278
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