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The Reformation And The Book. A Reconsideration

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Chapter Summary

Early critics within the church were scandalised and alarmed by Luther's blatant courting of a broad public through printed tracts. The connection between the book and the Reformation, in their eyes a malign one, was immediately obvious. The evidence for the impact of the book on the Reformation is too overwhelming. Based on a survey of the print world that extends beyond the immediate context of Luther's challenge to embrace the broader print culture of sixteenth-century Europe, this chapter offers some observations that will at least place the relationship between the book and the Reformation in a slightly different context. Print played an important role in the growth of science, but disseminated much nonsense, particular in the realm of medicine and astronomy. In the realm of religious ideas, in France print was used every bit as effectively by defenders of old ways as by promoters of new.

Keywords: France; print world; Reformation; religious ideas



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