(2,294 words)

1. General

In Late Antiquity, the term “catechism” (Latin catechismus from Greek katéchesis, “oral instruction”) came into use for the instruction of adult catechumens; when infant baptism was introducted in the 2nd/3rd century, it was applied to the instruction of the faithful (Catechetics). In the early modern era, the term came to be applied to systematically organized works designed for elementary religious instruction. Other terms used included ench(e)iridion (Greek, “small handbook”), in…

Cite this page
Fischer, Michael, Albrecht, Christian and Hauptmann, Peter, “Catechism”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 21 February 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160907

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