This book makes me think of Edward Said's Orientalism, in the way that it is now generally accepted that trying to construct religious or ethnographic...moreThis book makes me think of Edward Said's Orientalism, in the way that it is now generally accepted that trying to construct religious or ethnographical archetypes to explain historical phenomena is methodologically useless (besides being insulting) (as per Said), but still no one critiques Weber for having done exactly that. It's as though it's perfectly reasonable for him to have done because 1. it's about Westerners, so it's not insulting and 2. he's got proof to back things up, so it isn't suspect. Never mind that the theory predicates entirely on a misunderstanding of Calvinist doctrine, and a bunch of statistics that have been widely discredited. I mean, has no one noticed that he was just MAKING SHIT UP? Seriously, I am so sick of reading critiques that grant Weber the veracity of x, y and z, but did he think of a? when it actually happens that x and y are on sketchy ground to begin with, and z is just a total fabrication of his pro-Calvinist lalaland.
Again, liked this far less on re-read. Ginzburg argues that an "ancient peasant culture" existed in pre-modern Europe, in tandem with and in contradic...moreAgain, liked this far less on re-read. Ginzburg argues that an "ancient peasant culture" existed in pre-modern Europe, in tandem with and in contradiction to the wider Christian culture, which was often simply overlaid onto an as-yet un-Christian society, even up to 1600. He argues that it is possible to get at artefacts of this peasant culture through the trial of Domenico Scandella, contrasting what he said about the works he owned and read with what we know them to contain -- and so thereby discover the lens or screen through which he was interpreting them. That lens or screen *is* that peasant culture. However, Ginzburg reaches too far when he draws the comparison between Menocchio and Pighino, who, despite their geographical disparity, held heretical views with astonishing amounts of overlap.
While I buy that such coincidences are often the result of serendipity due to a shared culture (see also: Luther, Martin and Zwingli, Ulrich), it is not really clear to me why the peasant culture that Ginzburg describes must necessarily be an un-Christian one, and why, rather, the un-Christian elements of both Menocchio's and Pighino's thought cannot be the result of their own fevered brains. Clearly, their denouncers saw that each Menocchio's and Pighino's thought was un-Christian, and while that lack of Christianness may have been initially unworthy of commentary, witnesses were pretty quick to condemn their ideas as antithetical to Christian teaching -- a teaching that must have impacted their lives in some way, because even though they shared some inscrutable peasant culture, they were still able to identify those elements that did not fit.(less)
Re-read January 7, 2010: very textbook-y. I think it was at this point that I began to understand just how very right my peers were when they told me...moreRe-read January 7, 2010: very textbook-y. I think it was at this point that I began to understand just how very right my peers were when they told me that at some point in my reading, I would begin to be able to tell what the book was going to say before I'd even read it. Admittedly, I'd already read it, but still.
Basically: early modern life organized around ritual; the Reformation reconfigured ritual life in Protestant areas and the Council of Trent placed ritual in Catholic areas more squarely under control of the church; and the Enlightenment changed everything. Obviously.(less)