chapter  1
17 Pages

The return of the virtual

Do you think that there is anything new about the virtual? If so, you will be surprised to learn that in 1556 Thomas Cranmer was executed in large part because of his affirmation of the virtuality of the Eucharist. Similar charges were levelled against the reformation theologians Luther and Zwingli. Indeed, debates surrounding the virtual and practices of virtuality have a long history. This chapter introduces the historical importance and associations of the virtual as an aspect of cultures in Europe and other parts of the world. Sections introduce historical virtualities and develop the argument for the historicity of the virtual, as follows:

• Key definitions of the virtual include not only the virtual as essence or the ‘essentially so’ but the notion of ‘virtue’.