Over the last forty years, social historians have transformed the study of the Reformation in a variety of ways. New historical methods as well as a new interest in the laity and how religion was practiced and perceived rather than just how it was taught by clerical elites have challenged older narratives of the Reformation. These narratives often depicted Lutheranism and Calvinism as more modern and more progressive forms of religion, which replaced a decaying and outmoded medieval Catholicism. Because of their interest in religious practices, social historians have been more focused on the similar goals and aims of reformed Protestantism and reformed Catholicism, such as the goal of both to instill greater social and moral discipline in an effort to remake the kingdom of Christ on earth, than in the obvious doctrinal disputes that divided them. These contributions are most noticeable in several key areas—lay piety, rituals, gender and marriage, confessionalization and social discipline, and transmission of ideas through print, images, and education—and the greatest potential for future research lies in these same areas.

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pp. 133-144
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