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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: March 2008

20 - Ritual in early modern Christianity

from Part V - Religion, Society, and Culture
Summary
Throughout the history of Christianity, leaders of the faith have found in ecclesiastical ritual an indispensable means of inculcating correct doctrine upon the unlettered and theologically uninitiated masses. Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli, in their respective regions, emerged as the predominant voices, and this is an apt metaphor in as much as both loved to sing, in the early Reformation chorus. The observant churchgoer in Wittenberg might have noticed the alterations that crept into the administration of the sacraments during the 1520s. In Lutheran sanctuaries, organ music and song gained new ground during the sixteenth century. The Reformer of Zurich, by contrast, in the alterations he wrought, left no doubt, even among illiterate charges, that Catholic ritual was now at an end. Hughes Oliphant Old has studied the development of Reformed baptismal rituals during the remainder of the sixteenth century and found them to be anything but inflexible. The Anabaptist ceremony of baptism departed the most radically from established practice.
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The Cambridge History of Christianity
  • Online ISBN: 9781139054843
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521811620
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