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Synopsis

Drawing upon printed pamphlets, tracts, advice manuals, diocesan statutes and other literary material, the study traces the evolution of writing and teaching about Purgatory and the fate of the soul between 1480 and 1720. By examining the subject across this extended period it is argued that belief in Purgatory continued to be important, although its role in the scheme of salvation changed over time, and was not simply a story of inevitable decline. Offering a fascinating insight into popular devotional practices, the book opens new vistas onto the impact of Catholic revival and Counter Reform on beliefs about the fate of the soul after death.

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