Open to current graduate students and faculty
At this master class seminar, participants will read and discuss Professor Carlos Eire's essay "Incombustible Weber: How the Protestant Reformation Really Disenchanted the World" from Faithful Narratives: Historians, Religion, and the Challenge of Objectivity, ed. Andrea Stark and Nina Caputo (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014). A PDF copy of the reading will be provided.
This chapter discusses how challenges to traditional beliefs about death and purgatory in the Protestant Reformation caused significant material consequences, triggering a so-called “economic revolution.” Focusing on the issue of secularization in a present-day understanding of Protestant Reformation, the chapter examines the concept of “disenchantment” as manifested in three distinguishing characteristics of Protestantism. First is the redefinition of how “matter” and “spirit” relate to each other, which had led to iconoclasm and a new approach to rituals. Second is the redefinition of the boundaries between the “natural” and “supernatural” realms, which led to the denial of mystical ecstasies. Lastly, there is the separation of the living from the dead, which led to a reconfiguring of conceptual and socioeconomic structures.