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Manuscript Miscellanies, Jerome's Letters to Women, and the Dominican Observant Reform in Fifteenth-Century Italy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 September 2021

Austin Powell*
Affiliation:
University of California, Davis

Abstract

This article examines the manuscripts into which compilers bound Dominican letters of spiritual direction in fifteenth-century Italy. It argues that manuscript compilers sought to model Observant Dominican sanctity after Jerome's late antique practice of writing letters of spiritual direction to women. The paper aims to contribute to the growing conversation around the development and spread of an Observant Dominican identity by demonstrating that compilers modeled Observant beati after Jerome's authoritative persona in order to argue for the ancient precedent of the reformers’ often controversial agendas, chief among them their active ministry to women.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by the Renaissance Society of America

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Footnotes

I would like to thank my PhD advisor, Katherine Jansen, as well as Jennifer Davis and Caroline Sherman for reading earlier drafts. I also thank Renaissance Quarterly's anonymous readers, and James Mixson, for their comments. The Delmas Foundation, the Cosmos Club, and the AHA's Bernadotte Schmitt Grant supported the article's research in 2017. I then wrote the first draft while a 2018–19 Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. Any errors are mine alone.

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