Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage

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False Pilgrims
(984 words)

In an era that considered almost any sort of spiritual travel, literal or figurative, to be a pilgrimage, it is hard to imagine what a false pilgrim could be. Early modern reformers such as Desiderius Erasmus, Martin Luther, and Thomas More were quick to call pilgrimages 'false,' given the distasteful adoration of relics and pecuniary benefit to shrines that such journeys seemed to entail, solidifying into a more widespread view the unease with which some in the Middle Ages had viewed pilgrimage (see also Barriers to Pilgrimage). However, the term 'false pilgrims' has come to app…

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Martin Leigh Harrison, “False Pilgrims”, in: Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage. Consulted online on 25 May 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2213-2139_emp_SIM_00321>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004181298, 20091023

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