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ThingsReligion and the Question of Materiality$
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Dick Houtman and Birgit Meyer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823239450

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823239450.001.0001

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Things That Matter: The Extra Calvinisticum, the Eucharist, and John Calvin's Unstable Materiality

Things That Matter: The Extra Calvinisticum, the Eucharist, and John Calvin's Unstable Materiality

Chapter:
(p.62) Things That Matter: The Extra Calvinisticum, the Eucharist, and John Calvin's Unstable Materiality
Source:
Things
Author(s):

Ernst van den Hemel

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823239450.003.0004

Against the background of the problematic Protestant stance with regard to materiality, this chapter points out the impossibility of a religion that completely does away with matter. This is done by critiquing the widespread interpretation of Calvin's writings on the Eucharist as entailing merely a strictly symbolic and stereotypically Protestant understanding of transubstantiation. If we look closer and more critically, it is argued, we find that Calvin understood divine presence as being simultaneously immanent and transcendent, and he thus avoided both the dangers of a veneration of matter and a strictly metaphorical interpretation of Christ's presence.

Keywords:   Protestantism, Matter, Calvin, Eucharist, Transubstantiation

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