luther Refomation: 1500's

  • Popular peity
  • parochial church
  • Elite religion
  • Humanism
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Popular Piety

more concerned with the present life than the after life.


  • Called upon Church "white magic" and rituals for comfort and control over weather, crops, droughts.
  • Rituals often had no link with recognised form of worship.
  • Growth of rituals shows continued spread of religion into normal life.

Importance of saints

  • Saints were approachable- Virgin Mary was important  intercessory
  • Saints called upon to bless questionable activities. Aim of rituals was to achieve personal gain.
  • Educated church men found manipulation of rituals for their own gain to be inapropriate.
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Elite religion and Humanism

Elite religion

  • Some just as superstitious of their faith as peasant (Frederick of Saxony)
  • Main concern was fate of their soul in the after life- consequently aimed to live out a good christian life.
  • Elite invested in good causes which brought spiritual benefit. (fithteenth century- disposing of all assets)


  • Branch of elitism
  • Humanists interest in Greek literature and biblical studies led their beliefs to become biblical based---> consequently judged aspects of western religion.
  • contemptuous of popular piety.
  • Originally welcomed by elitists as they too were serious about religion.
  • Humanists influencial in education of younger generations.
  • Erasmus became spokesman for humanists in 16th century.
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