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Reformation of the SensesThe Paradox of Religious Belief and Practice in Germany$
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Jacob M Baum

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042195

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042195.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Late Medieval Worship: A Sensory Production

Late Medieval Worship: A Sensory Production

(p.13) 1 Late Medieval Worship: A Sensory Production
Reformation of the Senses

Jacob M. Baum

University of Illinois Press

This chapter begins part 1 of the study by attending to the production of worship practices in fifteenth and early sixteenth century Germany as a political economic problem. The narrative of the Reformation as a de-sensualizing force relies on the construction of late medieval Christianity as intensely ritualistic and hypersensual: particularly during the rite of the Mass, late medieval worship mobilized not only ostentatious gestures, images, and textiles, but also bells, organs, choirs, incense, and a complement of expensive liturgical vessels to overwhelm churchgoers with a multi-sensory theatrical spectacle. However, as systematic scrutiny of church inventories shows, this level of sensuous worship was an expensive proposition and, as such, was something that only the wealthiest urban churches could hope to approximate. In reality, producing sensuous worship before the Reformation was much more variegated than commonly assumed.

Keywords:   political economy, Mass, Production, religious practice, inventories, liturgy, multi-sensory, material culture, urban, rural, parish churches

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