Religion Past and Present

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Ars moriendi
(634 words)

[German Version]

I. History – II. Practical Theology

I. History

The literature on the “art of dying” arose in the late Middle Ages out of the need for lay catechesis: clerics and lay people assisting the dying needed handbooks to guide a meritorious death that would guarantee the salvation of the dying person's soul (J. Gerson, De arte moriendi, 1403). The ars moriendi coalesced with other literary forms (legends, memento mori, imitatio Christi, etc.) and graphic representations (“Ars in pictures,” c. 1450) to produce edifying …

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Mennecke-Haustein, Ute and Schmidt-Rost, Reinhard, “Ars moriendi”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 23 July 2024 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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