Catechism primers in Italian-speaking Switzerland and Lombardy

Wolfgang, Sahlfeld (2023) Catechism primers in Italian-speaking Switzerland and Lombardy. In: Juska-Bacher, Britta and Grenby, Matthew and Laine, Tuija and Sroka, Wendelin, (eds.) Learning to Read, Learning Religion. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 259-271. ISBN 9789027212825

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Catechism primers are inconspicuous but telling little books for children combining the teaching of reading skills and religious catechesis. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, they have been produced, disseminated and used in huge numbers in many regions of the world, in particular in Europe. Remarkably, similar texts appeared across the continent, spanning confessional traditions that were in other respects highly divergent. In different places, and across the whole period, different denominations used not only similar pedagogical and religious strategies, but also shared the same formats and iconography. The chapter written by Wolfgang Sahlfeld tells the evolution of catechism and primer in the italian-speaking zone of southern Switzerland and northern Italy from the Counter-Reformation to the modern education systems between the Austrian Empire and the italian-speaking cantons of Switzerland.

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