This chapter introduces the narrative of de-sensualization promoted by early German Protestants, and briefly outlines its persistence in modern academic and popular discourse. It then addresses recent attempts to deal with the senses in religion among historians of early modern Europe and the German Reformation specifically, showing how the scholarship has enriched our understanding of the relationship between religious changes and sensory culture in this period, but has tended to focus primarily on vision and hearing and has often ignored some of the political, economic, and social power dynamics that often complicated the place of the senses in religious belief and practice. Thereafter, it outlines the major arguments of the study, its scope and methodology, and previews each of the body chapters.
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