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Published December 1986 | Published
Journal Article Open

Church and Community in the Diocese of Lyon, 1500-1789 [Book Review]


Connoisseurs of the recent scholarly attention given to the social and cultural impact of the sixteenth-century religious reformations will welcome Hoffman's fine study of the Counter Reformation in the diocese of Lyons, even though much of his story will come as no surprise to readers of Bossy, Delumeau, Perouas and others. The rise of the seminary and the doctrinal "reeducation" of the Catholic clergy; the substitution of the priest as a moral and spiritual être à part in relation to the parish for the priest who had been an essential but barely distinguishable part of the village community; the coming of the new clerically controlled and devotional confraternities at the expense of the purely lay and somewhat festive confraternities that had been nearly congruous with the village; the crabbed campaign against quasi-sacral charivaris, sportive pilgrimages, and irreverent saints' days-the whole promiscuous intermingling of the sacred and the secular-all of these general features of the Catholic Counter Reformation find their particular variants in Hoffman's diocese of Lyons. More committed than his predecessors, however, to the Braudelian longue durée, Hoffman takes nearly the entire Old Regime as his province and carries his story to the onset of dechristianization on the eve of the French Revolution.

Additional Information

© 1986 MIT Press. Book review of: Church and Community in the Diocese of Lyon, 1500-1789. By Philip T. Hoffman (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1984) 239 pp.

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