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Faithful NarrativesHistorians, Religion, and the Challenge of Objectivity$
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Andrea Sterk and Nina Caputo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451829

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451829.001.0001

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Incombustible Weber

Incombustible Weber

How the Protestant Reformation Really Disenchanted the World

(p.132) Chapter 8 Incombustible Weber
Faithful Narratives

Carlos Eire

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses how challenges to traditional beliefs about death and purgatory in the Protestant Reformation caused significant material consequences, triggering a so-called “economic revolution.” Focusing on the issue of secularization in a present-day understanding of Protestant Reformation, the chapter examines the concept of “disenchantment” as manifested in three distinguishing characteristics of Protestantism. First is the redefinition of how “matter” and “spirit” relate to each other, which had led to iconoclasm and a new approach to rituals. Second is the redefinition of the boundaries between the “natural” and “supernatural” realms, which led to the denial of mystical ecstasies. Lastly, there is the separation of the living from the dead, which led to a reconfiguring of conceptual and socioeconomic structures.

Keywords:   Protestant Reformation, economic revolution, death, purgatory, disenchantment, Protestantism, iconoclasm, mystical ecstasies

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