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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 Reformation of the Senses in Early Evangelical Culture

The Reformation of the Senses in Early Evangelical Culture

(p.105) 4 The Reformation of the Senses in Early Evangelical Culture
Reformation of the Senses

Jacob M. Baum

University of Illinois Press

This chapter begins part 2 of the study by considering the origins of the mythology of a de-sensualized Protestantism. Analysis of evangelical print culture in the first half of the 1520s reveals that those who moved to break with the Church of Rome produced unprecedented numbers of vernacular pamphlets laying out criticisms of traditional religion and visions for a new alternative. Consistently, evangelicals told the story of a new, de-sensualized form of Christianity, in contrast to the old, hypersensual religion. This narrative of change over time obscured the complexity of late medieval religion yet nonetheless became central to early Protestant identity in a few short years, and over the course of the sixteenth century it became a generalized assumption in religious discourse and fostered the sensibility that some had indeed profoundly changed.

Keywords:   print culture, popular discourse, imagination, narrative, Reformation, evangelicals, de-sensualization, Protestant, identity

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