Reverence, Shame and Guilt in Early Modern European Cultures

Authored by: Jonas Liliequist

The Routledge Companion to Cultural History in the Western World

Print publication date:  September  2020
Online publication date:  September  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138649460
eBook ISBN: 9781003080206
Adobe ISBN:


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In the course of early modern state building and confessionalization, reverence – the duty to honour and respect not only God but also parents, teachers, monarchs and all figures of parental authority – was prescribed as a key emotion in the legitimization of political and confessional power. Alongside the catechetical inculcation of religious doctrine, the instilling of shame and guilt played a crucial role in the efforts of social disciplining. In terms of gender, application of reverence, shame and guilt as means for social disciplining and legitimation of power reinforced traditional patriarchal structures in household and society. Suicidal murder represented the ultimate challenge to this policy of shame and guilt.

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