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Spiritual Reading Aids


Spiritual Reading Aids

The advent of the Gutenberg printing press (c. 1450) resulted in a paradigm shift in how the laity accessed and interpreted the word of God. Previously, ecclesiastical texts were almost exclusively presented verbally in Latin by church leaders to a congregation, along with a strict liturgical calendar and devotional rituals which were institutionally sanctioned. In this way, the Catholic Church could control public engagement with unorthodox religious practices.  
 
Due to the increased availability of vernacular biblical literature for a lay public, the new textual technology of the printing press also ushered in a crisis of faith and a critique of the hierarchical practices of the Church. Thus, it was paramount that Post-Restoration biblical texts contain detailed and clear instructions for how the laity should interpret the printed doctrine and practice devotion outside of religious institutional settings.