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Translating Christianity in an Age of Reformations

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Publication details

JournalStudies in Church History
DateAccepted/In press - 1 Nov 2016
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jun 2017
Number of pages31
Pages (from-to)164-195
Original languageEnglish


This article argues that the age of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations and the global spread of the latter brought with it the challenge that not only was it necessary to learn new languages in order to communicate the Christian message to non-European peoples encountered during the so-called ‘Age of Discovery’, but some kind of control had to be exercised over the new, global circulation of sacred images and relics. The latter facilitated the visual (and virtual) translation of such holy sites as Jerusalem and Rome and its specific holy treasures in the mental prayers of the faithful. It concludes that it was less Lamin Sanneh’s ‘triumph of [linguistic] translatability’ and more the physical translatability of the sacred that made possible the emergence of Roman Catholicism as this planet’s first world religion.

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© Ecclesiastical History Society, 2017. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

    Research areas

  • translation , reformations, age of discovery

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