Power and persuasion : catechetical treatments of the sacraments in Reformation Germany, 1529-1597

Atherton, Ruth Kimberley (2018). Power and persuasion : catechetical treatments of the sacraments in Reformation Germany, 1529-1597. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This study considers the nature of the sacramental knowledge that was taught in the sixteenth-century catechisms of Martin Luther, Andreas Osiander, Peter Canisius, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Catechism of the Council of Trent. Focusing on the sacraments of baptism, penance, and communion, this thesis seeks to present two principal arguments that are rooted in the indisputable fact that the catechisms were intended for a lay audience. Firstly, the knowledge imparted in sacramental instruction was too limited to delineate effectively along confessional lines, thereby raising questions about the extent to which catechisms can be viewed as tools by which to create fixed confessional identities. The second argument is that catechisms should be seen as facilitators of concord rather than division. The avoidance of complex sacramental doctrine suggests that catechisms were intended to help the laity live together. This does not suggest that there was an attempt to merge together doctrinal beliefs: each of the catechisms taught the elements of a Catholic, Lutheran, or Reformed faith. Moreover, the German catechists were fiercely devoted to their respective confessions, as evidenced by their broader publications. However, in providing religious edification for the laity, the heat was taken out of these theological divisions.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of History
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal Theology
D History General and Old World > DD Germany
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/8579


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