Right Thinking and Sacred Oratory in Counter-Reformation Rome

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At the end of the sixteenth century, when painters, writers, and scientists from all over Europe flocked to Rome for creative inspiration, the city was also becoming the center of a vibrant and assertive Roman Catholic culture. Closely identified with Rome, the Counter-Reformation church sought to strengthen itself by building on Rome's symbolic value and broadcasting its cultural message loudly and skillfully to the European world. In a book that captures the texture and flavor of this rhetorical strategy, ...
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Overview

At the end of the sixteenth century, when painters, writers, and scientists from all over Europe flocked to Rome for creative inspiration, the city was also becoming the center of a vibrant and assertive Roman Catholic culture. Closely identified with Rome, the Counter-Reformation church sought to strengthen itself by building on Rome's symbolic value and broadcasting its cultural message loudly and skillfully to the European world. In a book that captures the texture and flavor of this rhetorical strategy, Frederick McGinness explores the new emphasis placed on preaching by Roman church leaders. Looking at the development of a sacred oratory designed to move the heart, he traces the formation of a long-lasting Catholic worldview and reveals the ingenuity of the Counter-Reformation in the transformation of Renaissance humanism.

McGinness not only describes the theory of sermon-writing, but also reconstructs the circumstances, social and physical, in which sermons were delivered. The author considers how sermons blended spirituality with pious legends--for example, stories of the early martyrs--and evocative metaphors to fashion a respublica christiana of loyal Catholics. Preachers projected a "right" view of history, social relationships, and ecclesiastical organization, while depicting a spiritual topography upon which Catholics could chart a path to salvation. At the center of this topography was Rome, a vast stage set for religious pageantry, which McGinness brings to life as he follows the homiletic representations of the city from a bastion of Christian militancy to a haven of harmony, light, and tranquility.

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What People Are Saying


Readers of John O'Malley's Praise and Blame in Renaissance Rome will be heartened to encounter this new book on Counter-Reformation Rome. By a thorough analysis of the whole organization and structure of preaching in Rome during this period, McGinness fills a significant gap in our knowledge. In defining the fine line drawn by Rome after Trent, setting Catholics apart from all other mortals, he addresses those interested in what the Catholic Church became and is now struggling to surmount.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691034263
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/3/1995
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 7.74 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 3
Ch. 1 Roman Eloquence and Christian Virtue: A Paideia for Defenders of the Respublica Christiana 9
Ch. 2 "Vices and Virtues, Punishment and Glory": Homiletic Instructions, Sacred Rhetoric, and Zeal for the Word of God 29
Ch. 3 "And to Heare the Maner of the Italian Preacher. . . ": Tridentine Rome and the Ambience of the Sacred Orator 62
Ch. 4 "To Penetrate into the Deep-Down Things . . . ": Arcana Dei and the Majesty of the Papal Liturgy 87
Ch. 5 Right Thinking: Conformity, Militant Catholicism, and the Return to Discipline 108
Ch. 6 Like "A Sundial Set into a Rock": The Supreme Hierarch of the Church Militant 139
Ch. 7 From Vices to Virtues, Punishment to Glory: Rome, Civitas Sancta 167
Conclusion 191
Appendix 1: Liturgical Texts for the Feasts Celebrated by the Papal Court with a Latin Sermon 193
Appendix 2: List of Popes 195
Abbreviations Used in Notes 197
Notes 201
Bibliographical Essay 321
Index 325
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