Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(949 words)

1. Definition

In the early modern period, godparenthood (French parrainage, Ger. Patenschaft, Ital. padrinaggio, Span. compadrazgo) was understood to be associated with baptism and in the Catholic Church with confirmation as well (Sacrament). The German term Pate (“godparent”) is derived from Latin pater, “because the one who lifts the child up at baptism enters into a spiritual relationship with the child, becoming his spiritual father (pater spiritualis).” The word’s metaphorical use …

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Gestrich, Andreas, “Godparenthood”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 29 November 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_025320>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180915

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