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Setting the Lutheran Eucharist

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The liturgy took place. To say that is to set the liturgy in specific architectural structures, spatial arrangements, configurations of visual images, as well as in specific human communities with unique traditions of devotional practices. In this essay, the Lutheran liturgy is "set" in two towns, Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which were geographically and linguistically close. These two towns, however, had different devotional practices, different visual settings for the liturgy, different preachers and differing paces of reform. The article explores the implications of those differences for the meaning of the liturgy within each town. In so doing, it posits possible reconstructions of the liturgy as it might have been experienced, the liturgy not simply as text, but as a ritual, in which image, gesture, and spoken or sung word all participated in the performance and the meaning it conveyed.

Affiliations: 1: Yale Universiry

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