9780198217831 / 0198217838

Marpingen: Apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Bismarckian Germany


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Publisher:Clarendon Pr, 1995



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About the book:

In July 1876 three eight-year-old girls from Marpingen, a village in the west German border region of Saarland, claimed to have seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary. Their visions attracted tens of thousands of pilgrims and prompted numerous claims of miraculous cures. They also led to military intervention, the dispatching of an undercover detective, parliamentary debate, and a dramatic trial. This book examines an episode that contemporaries dubbed the 'German Lourdes', its background and its repercussions. David Blackbourn sets out to recreate the Catholic world of Bismarckian Germany through a detailed analysis of the changing social, economic, and community structures in which it was embedded, and a sensitive account of popular religious beliefs. He powerfully evokes the crisis-laden atmosphere of the 1870s, and offers a subtle interpretation of the interplay between politics and religion in newly unified Germany. The book ranges boldly across the fields of social, cultural and political history, in an engrossing story with many contemporary resonances.

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