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Sacred Spaces.docx

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William Nelson

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Sacred Spaces: Religious Buildings and Early Modern Connections Why did the Protestants ritually burn religious paintings/statues at the stake?  Tradition of heretics being burned at the stake. By burning the art, this was a way to reverse the act.  Protestants thought that the images of saints were invitations to idolatry: o They thought that by praying to the saints, they were worshipping „false gods‟ o Protestants believed that thought should be focused on salvation through the person themselves, not by using saints/priests/etc. as messengers.  John Calvin went even further, by declaring, “God forbade…the making of any images representing him.” Protestant Church  Modest  Plain  No stained glass/no images – Decorative austerity  Purity  Humility  People sitting all together, facing different ways  Preacher was placed very high in his pulpit  Down-playing of worldly goods Catholic Church  Elaborate  Many decorations  Pews all facing the altar  Wealth  Altar is lower than pulpit  Heaven represented in art Catholic churches became more decorative as counter-reformation to Protestant austerity. The Catholic faith had an air of mystery – the priest, bishops, etc. had to have this air of mystery so that laypeople would believe that they would need their help to get into heaven. Their church was a religious temple; God lived there. The Protestant faith – the church was supposed to be where everyone came together to exercise relationship to God. Luther and the Protestant Reformation  (1485 – 1546); a German monk  He posted his 95 theses in 1517, on the church door in Wittenberg  He criticized church corruption: o Sale of indulgences o Purchase of church offices (art, statues)  He believed in practicing by „faith alone‟ o Salvation through faith, not by doing good works  He believed in a return to “true” Gospel teachings  He broke with Rome in 1520.  He helped to bring around the „Great Leveling‟ (social and religious) o An emphasis on equality in the eyes of God o Luther wanted to remove barriers between people and God  This would become the notion of a personal relationship to God and Jesus  Sacraments should not be hollow acts or barriers to salvation  Luther translated the New Testament into German o People should have direct access to the word of God  Luther advocated “the priesthood of all believers” o No cleric should be between a person and God o Clerics do not need the education or endorsement of the Church o Anyone can learn and preach the word of God  This resulted in a huge undercutting of clerical power  Luther‟s religion quickly developed a following of “Evangelicals” o Drawn to his religious message and its social implications o Believed they were in the last days of the world John Calvin  (1509 – 1564); a Frenchman who settled in Geneva  Started his own religi
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