Dealings with God: From Blasphemers in Early Modern Zurich by Francisca Loetz

By Francisca Loetz

Early glossy ecu society took a major view of blasphemy, and drew upon a variety of sanctions - together with the demise penalty - to punish those that cursed, swore and abused God. while such attitudes might sound draconian at the present time, this examine makes transparent that previously, blasphemy was once considered as a truly genuine hazard to society. in line with a wealth of basic resources, together with court docket files, theological and ecclesiastical writings and professional urban statutes, Francisca Loetz explores verbal sorts of blasphemy and the range of contexts in which it could actually take place. Honour conflicts, theological disputation, social and political provocation, and non secular self-questioning all proved fertile flooring for accusations of blasphemy, and her rivalry - that blasphemers frequently intended greater than they acknowledged - unearths the underlying complexity of an it sounds as if easy inspiration. This leading edge process translates instances of verbal blasphemy as 'speech activities' that mirror broader political, social and non secular matters. circumstances in Protestant Zurich are in comparison with the location in Catholic Lucerne and regarding findings in different components of Europe (Germany, France, England, Italy) to supply an intensive dialogue of other ancient ways to blasphemy - ecclesiastical, felony, highbrow, social, and cultural - within the Early sleek interval. In so doing the booklet deals exciting feedback approximately what a cultural heritage of religiousness may possibly and will be. by means of linking a wide evaluation of the problem of blasphemy, with case reviews from Zurich and Lucerne, this e-book presents a desirable perception right into a the most important, yet usually misunderstood element of early-modern society. The conclusions reached not just supply a miles fuller realizing of the location in Zurich, but in addition have resonance for all historians of Reformation Europe.

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Additional resources for Dealings with God: From Blasphemers in Early Modern Zurich to a Cultural History of Religiousness (St Andrews Studies in Reformation History)

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The programmatic approaches of Daniel, Dinges and Scribner discussed above are very relevant to the object of the present study. As Daniel emphasises, the hermeneutic process begins with not-understanding. Interpreting ways of speaking that would not today be heard as blasphemous means starting from a position of not-understanding. Asking after the ‘meaning’ of religious utterances on the basis of the early modern understanding of blasphemy implies that religion is not seen as primarily structurally determined (by the church, by theology, by fear), but rather as a changing set of action decisions made in the context of existing norms.

If he had spoken against the Bible or the ministers, he was deeply sorry. He now entreated God and the authorities to show him mercy. 123 An analysis of this document according to Grice’s conversation model reveals how speech action theory can refine conventional forms of source criticism. While we can only speculate on the illocutionary act on the part of Wyß, the propositional act of the charge is beyond doubt. The bailiff makes a statement about the world and charges Wyß with an offence. What he means by this is absolutely clear.

Rather, Daniel’s concept of ‘meaning’ assumes that individuals 92 Ute Daniel, ‘“Kultur” und “Gesellschaft”: Überlegungen zum Gegenstandsbereich der Sozialgeschichte’, Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 19 (1993), pp. 69–99; here: p. 94. ’, in Paul Nolte, Manfred Hettling, Frank-Michael Kuhlemann et al. (eds), Perspektiven der Gesellschaftsgeschichte (Munich, 2000), pp. ’, Zeitschrift für historische Forschung, 24 (1997), pp. 179–214. 94 Daniel, ‘“Kultur”’, pp. 92f. 95 Ute Daniel, Kompendium Kulturgeschichte: Theorien, Praxis, Schlüsselwörter (Frankfurt, Main, 2001), pp.

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