Challenging the Delumeau thesis: Evidence from the Artes Moriendi

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Thesis type
(Project) M.A.
Date created
2005
Authors/Contributors
Abstract
The eminent French historian Jean Delumeau has argued that late medieval and early modern clergymen, both Catholic and Protestant, used manuals about dying, the artes moriendi, as one of many tools to instill fear and gudt in European Christians. Their deliberate attempt to create a widespread culture of fear and guilt is a process that he calls culpabilisation. This paper challenges Delumeau's thesis of culpabilisation using evidence from six popular artes moriendi of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries. The authors of these manuals-the unknown author of the original Ars moriendi, Martin Luther, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Thomas Becon, Robert Bellasmine, and Jeremy Taylor-were not pastoral terrorists. Their goal was to prepare Christians for a holy death and blessed afterlife and to comfort the dying.
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Language
English
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