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date: 29 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Pope Gregory XV’s Inscrutabili Divinae (1622), the bull that established the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, is considered to be the first text to use the word “propaganda” in the modern sense of the word. But a closer reading of the text reveals the word “propaganda” to be in transition from “spreading, extending, disseminating” or “giving birth to” into something more akin to its modern, ideological meaning. Significantly, the various forms of the word itself indicate that the action of “propagating” was seen as relatively neutral—beneficial when used by the Catholic Church to bring souls back to the fold and harmful when used by Protestant reformers to “mislead” the unwary.

Keywords: Propagation, Protestant, Catholic, Dissemination, Bible

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