Liturgy Wars: Ritual Theory and Protestant Reform in Nineteenth-Century Zurich, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Liturgy Wars

Ritual Theory and Protestant Reform in Nineteenth-Century Zurich, 1st Edition

By Theodore M. Vial


192 pages

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The nineteenth century was a period of intense religious conflict across Europe, as people confronted the major changes brought by modernity. In Zurich, one phase of this religious conflict was played out in a struggle over revisions to the ritual of baptism. In its analysis of the Zurich conflict, Liturgy Wars offers a strategy for understanding the links between theology, ritual, and socio-politics. Theodore M. Vial offers a new perspective on contemporary ritual studies - and critiques the cognivist approaches of Lawson and McCauley, as well as Catherine Bell's analysis of power and the body - by reintergrating the imporatance of speech acts into considerations of ritual.


"Connecting historical theology with ritual theory, Theodore M. Vial's well-written and stimulating book analyzes this liturgy war, which ended, in 1868, with a stalemate: the adoption of two baptismal rites…Vial's book presses an important point of discussion between those scholars who emphasize practice and those who search for a cognitive theory of ritual." -- The Journal of Religion

About the Author

Theodore M. Vial is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Virginia Wesleyan College. He has published in Numen and the Harvard Theological Review. He co-edited Ethical Monotheism, Past and Present: Essays in Honor of Wendell S. Dietrich, and contributed the chapter on "Church and State in Schleiermacher's Thought" to The Cambridge Companion to Friedrich Schleiermacher.

Series Editors: Frank Reynolds and Winnifred Fallers Sullivan

About the Series

Religion in History, Society and Culture

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Christian Theology / History
RELIGION / Theology