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Lay Piety And Community Identity In The Early Modern World

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Chapter Summary

The rise of Protestantism and Catholic reform had fundamental consequences for how the laity envisioned personal salvation and imagined the collective well-being and hoped-for salvation of their community. For many of the laity, it appears, penance, as part of a larger practice of confession, penance, and consolation, was central to their participation in and understanding of their individual and collective religious lives. By examining lay perceptions of the meaning of penance, as refracted through the lenses of the recently converted on the one hand, and through the lenses of collective social and political interests, on the other, we can trace the changing status of this sometime sacrament.

Keywords: Catholic reform; penance; Protestantism



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