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18. The Alphen Pig War

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Chapter Summary

Much of popular culture works on the principles of iconoclash. Religion, which concerns us, is not immune to the refashioning of its sacred truths, nor are the authoritative models of science or the established conventions of art safe from popular reinvention. Seventeenth century satirical prints on religion provide an example of this mechanism. They hold up a distorting mirror to the religious establishment, with an eye to its destruction and the emergence of new orthodoxies. The Reformation in the sixteenth century spawned a flood of satirical prints, and quite a number appeared concerning the Arminian controversies. The print on the Alphen Pig War belongs to a little cluster of satirical-moralistic images, published in the last quarter of the seventeenth century, and probably originating in the circles of the 'radical enlightenment'. They illustrate contemporary perceptions of 'what religion should be', and what it was in practice. It invites rethinking religious identities.

Keywords: Alphen Pig War; Arminian controversies; iconoclash; radical enlightenment; religious identities; satirical-moralistic images



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