Indulgences

In the Feb. 7 lecture, Professor Stuart mentioned indulgences.

An indulgence was an item that could be purchased by a person in order to reduce their sin, meaning that they’d spend less time in hell if they bought some.

The buying and selling of indulgences eventually went commercial by the Late Middle Ages, and went out of the Church’s control.

Eventually, the buying and selling of indulgences was repressed, partially due to the Protestant Reformation that we’ll soon learn about.


Interestingly, or perhaps not very interestingly, indulgences are exactly what Hans of Peasant Fires would’ve urged people to burn. Hans believed that any items indicating wealth (like fancy clothes and pointed shoes) should be burned, as they contributed to sin. Since indulgences were items purchased in order to reduce a person’s sin, they go counter to Hans’ beliefs.

I believe that Hans would’ve believed indulgences to be heretical, as they were something only the wealthy could obtain many of. Therefore, they’d be but another item thrown onto the communal bonfire.

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