Publication details

Early Modern Purgatory: Reformation Debates and Post-Tridentine Change


MALÝ Tomáš

Year of publication 2015
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field History
Keywords Purgatory; 16th and 17th centuries; Reformation; polemics; religious practice
Description With early modern discussions on purgatory, the doctrine gained a new dimension. The content and structure of these debates, however, changed in the course of the sixteenth century. As the sixteenth century was dominated by a confessionalized, polemical approach, in which there was no place for any details about purgatory itself, later debates became more elaborated, as a consequence of the transformation of Catholic discourse in the sense of a concretisation of the description of the places in the next world and a differentiation of sources used to prove the existence of purgatory. The topic of purgatory was gradually included in Catholic meditative literature and in the moral education tradition of ars moriendi prints, and simultaneously enriched with elements of the (Ignatian) imagination, with an emphasis on the experience of emotions and contemplation of sin and the pains associated with it. This shift was caused by the attempt to popularise the doctrine and also to reflect it more consistently in religious practice. In the study I also try to point out the specific contexts of this change in the Catholic lands in the seventeenth century: the question of charity and salvation, the reform of atonement and a more consistent typology of sins, an involvement of the lay brotherhoods in introducing post-Tridentine principles into religious practice and the fundamental role of the themes of the Eucharist and Christ's Passion.
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