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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: 04 August 2021

The Senses and Religious Experience in Vernacular Theology

The Senses and Religious Experience in Vernacular Theology

(p.77) 3 The Senses and Religious Experience in Vernacular Theology
Reformation of the Senses

Jacob M. Baum

University of Illinois Press

This chapter utilizes fifteenth-century vernacular culture to challenge the notion that learned understandings detailed in chapter 2 fully determined the meaning of sensuous worship on the eve of the Reformation. Through analysis of the unusual diary of the Nuremberg widow Katherina Tucher (d. 1448) and a critical mass of personal vernacular prayer books, this chapter shows that people made use of some learned ideas about the senses promoted by learned culture but went well beyond them in many cases. Educated, urban lay men and women played games with sensory language in their personal devotional experiences and, in doing so, exercised limited agency as vernacular theologians in their own right. Following this analysis, this chapter shows how male intellectuals responded by increasingly identifying sensuous worship with femininity and non-Christians. It concludes with a summary of part 1.

Keywords:   Vernacular, Diary, prayer books, sensory language, experience, agency, power, laity, gender, cultural alterity

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