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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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The Senses and Sacramentality in Late Medieval Intellectual Discourse

The Senses and Sacramentality in Late Medieval Intellectual Discourse

(p.47) 2 The Senses and Sacramentality in Late Medieval Intellectual Discourse
Reformation of the Senses

Jacob M. Baum

University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores learned discourse about the significance of the senses in religious worship in fifteenth century Germany, focusing mainly on Latin-language treatises on the sacraments of the church. It shows that, in contrast to the diversity of producing sensuous worship in practice, theories of the importance of the senses in religion were quite consistent among learned theologians and university professors, deriving heavily from Aristotelian natural philosophy. Above all, emphasis was placed on the positive, affective attachments people formed to religion by engaging with the ritual edifice of the church through all five senses. Church officials in particular were keen to promote this idea as a means of bolstering the authority of the clergy as a class of ritual experts at a time when challenges to this authority were emergent.

Keywords:   senses, sacraments, Aristotle, natural philosophy, intellectuals, universities, theologians, affect, emotion

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