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Sanctity in Early Modern Italy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 February 2009


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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1996

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1 Boureau, A., La Léende done: le système narratif de Jacques de Voragine (1298), Paris 1984Google Scholar; Reames, S. L., The Legenda Aurea: a re-examination of its paradoxical history, Madison, Wisc. 1985Google Scholar; Fleith, B., Studien zur Überlieferungsgeschzichte der lateinisches Legenda Aurea, Brussels 1991Google Scholar.

2 Elsewhere in western Europe for the early modern period, the situation has been improved by the following recent works: Soergel, P. M., Wondrous in His saints: Counter-Reformation propaganda in Bavaria, Berkeley-Los Angeles-London, 1993Google Scholar; Kamen, H., The Phoenix and the flame: Catalonia and the Counter-Reformation, New Haven, Conn-London 1993, esp. pp. 131ff.Google Scholar,Nalle, S. T., God in La Mancha: religious reform and the people of Cuenca, 1500–1650, Baltimore-London, 1993Google Scholar.

3 The initial terms of the debate were set out by Gajano, Boesch in ‘Dai leggendari medioevali agli “Acta Sanctorum”: forme di transmissione e nuove funzioni dell'agiografia’, Rivista di storia e letteratura religiosa xxi (1985), 219–44Google Scholar.

4 The collection of essays with Gajano's, Boesch important introduction which in many ways initiated the renewed interest in saints and sanctity in Italy was entitled Agiogrqfia altomedioevale, Bologna 1976Google Scholar. For an excellent survey of recent publications on medieval Italian hagiography see Godding, R., ‘Italia hagiographica: chronique d'hagiographie italienne’, Analecta Bollandiana cxii (1994), 401–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The important new journal Hagiographica: rivista di agiogrqfia e biogrqfia della Società per lo studio del Medio Evo latino, published by Brepols and begun in 1994, unfortunately maintains the emphasis on the Middle Ages by taking the Council of Trent as its cut-off date.

5 This is a point missed by Burke, Peter in his otherwise useful, if superficial, article ‘How to be a Counter-Reformation saint’, in his The historical anthropology of early modern Italy, Cambridge 1987, 4862Google Scholar. Cf. Ditchfield, Simon, ‘How not to be a Counter-Reformation saint: the attempted canonisation of Pope Gregory x, 1622–45’, Papers of the British School at Rome lx (1992), 379422CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

6 Le Sante Vive: profezie di corte e devozione femminile tra '400 e '500, Turin 1990Google Scholar.

7 Margherita was finally canonised in 1728, while Angela had her local cult confirmed in 1693.

8 Vision und Visionsliteratur im Mitklalter, Stuttgart 1981Google Scholar.

9 Ix, Gregory, Decretales, 3, 45, 1Google Scholar.

10 For an excellent example of the legal thoroughness a medieval canonisation trial could attain see Monuments originaux de l’histoire de S. Yves, ed. Borderie, L. A. Le Moyne de la, Saint-Brieve 1887Google Scholar.

11 These letters in support of the canonisation of Pius v from Philip iv of Spain, the Emperor Ferdinand, King Louis xm, his wife Anne of Austria and King Ladislaus of Poland are dated February/March 1633 (except for Ferdinand's two letters of April 1627 and October 1628) and may be found in the Archivio della congregazione per le cause dei santi, Rome: Fondo Q (unfoliated). I am currently working on the politics of sanctity surrounding Pius' canonisation trial. For the general degree of inactivity in this area see Ditchfield: ‘How not to be a Counter-Reformation Saint’, 407–10.

12 For the classic statement of this position uncritically accepted by almost everyone see Maio, R. De, ‘L'ideale eroico nei processi di canonizzazione della Controriforma’, in his Riforme e miti nella chiesa del '500’, Naples 1973, 257–78Google Scholar.

13 Webb, D. M., ‘Sanctity and history: Antonio degli Agli and humanist hagiography’, in Denley, P. and Elam, C. (eds), Florence and Italy: Renaissance studies in honour of Nicolai Rubinstein, London 1988, 297308Google Scholar.

14 Alberti's, ‘Vita S. Potiti’ may be conveniently consulted in Opuscoli inediti di Leon Battista Alberti: Musca, Vita S. Potiti, ed. Grayson, C., Florence 1954, 6385Google Scholar.

15 ‘How unworthy of God and Christian man is that account of saints called the Goldenlegend. I do not know why it is called “Golden” since it appears to have been written by men with mouths of iron and hearts of lead’: De causis corruptarum artium, bk 11.

16 See his De locis theologis, Louvain 1564, bk xiGoogle Scholar.

17 Gentilcore, D., From bishop to witch: the system of the sacred in early modern Terra d'Otranto, Manchester 1992, pp. 68ffGoogle Scholar, and ‘“Adapt yourself to the people's capabilities”: missionary strategies, methods and impact in the Kingdom of Naples 1600–1800’, this Journal xlv (1994), 269–96Google Scholar.

18 Jacobilli, L., Vite de'Santi e Beati dell'Umbria e di quelli corpi de'quali riposano in essa provincia, Foligno 16471661, iii. 531Google Scholar.

19 See inter alia Bossy, J., Christianity in the west 1400–1700, Oxford 1985, esp. ch. viiGoogle Scholar; Reinhard, W., ‘Reformation, Counter-Reformation and the early modern State: a reassessment‘, Catholic Historical Review lxxv (1989), 383404Google Scholar; Hsia, R. Po-Chia, Social discipline in the Reformation: central Europe 1550–1750, London-New York 1989Google Scholar. Cf. the recent reflections of Prosperi, A., ‘Riforma cattolica, controriforma, disciplinamento sociale’, in Rosa, G. De and Gregory, T. (eds), Storia dell'Italia religiosa, II: Età moderna, Rome-Bari 1994, 348Google Scholar.

20 Cabibbo, S. and Modica, M., La santa dei Tomasi: storia di Suor Maria Crocifissa (1645–1651), Turin 1989Google Scholar; Andretta, S., La Venerabile Superbia: ortodossia e trasgressione nella vita di Suor Francesca Farnese (1593–1651), Turin 1994Google Scholar. Cf. the articles by Grieco, Sara F. Matthews and Cabibbo, S. in Scaraffia, L. and Zarri, G. (eds), Donna e fede: santità e vita religiosa in Italia, Rome-Bari 1994Google Scholar.

21 There was also the important role played by artists in the representations of sanctity which does not, unfortunately, receive dedicated discussion in any of the three books reviewed. But see now the article by Karen Edis-Barzman ‘Immagini sacre e vita religiosa delle donne (1650–1850)’, in Scaraffia and Zarri, Donna efede..

22 Jacobilli, , Vite de'santi e bead dell'Umbria, iii. 540Google Scholar.

23 Bossy, , Christianity in the west, 96Google Scholar.

24 For a fuller discussion of the role played by sanctity in the particularisation of the universal reforms adumbrated at Trent (and in the reciprocal process of the universalisation of particular devotions and liturgical practices) see Ditchfield, Simon, Liturgy, sanctity and history in Tridentine Italy, Cambridge 1995Google Scholar, introduction and passim.