In early modern Europe, many adolescents both male and female were compelled by their elders to become professed religious, mainly for patrimonial reasons. Ecclesiastical regulations provided a means of contesting their involuntary monachization: making an appeal to the pope, which was then adjudicated by a Roman congretation. Based on records of the Congregation of the Council and other archival materials, this essay examines five seventeenth- and eighteenth-century cases of unwilling nuns in the Republic of Venice who sought annulment of their religious vows.
This article explores how ordinary people—those below the ranks of the educated elite—understood and made use of conscience in the years after the Reformation. While much is known about the ideas of theologians and legal scholars regarding this issue, no other work has attempted to recover popular notions of conscience. This article argues that coroners’ inquests reveal the early modern shift from the objective understanding of conscience to the newer, subjective understanding.
In the recent history of masculinity, the male body has gained ground as a fresh field of interest, parallel in many ways to earlier emphases on the female body in women’s history. This article explores male baldness as a constituent of masculinity in early modern England. Drawing from printed texts of various genres, combined with evidence from diaries and (auto)biographical writings, it shows that baldness could have many meanings to sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Englishmen.
Lovesickness, a medical condition thought to be caused by unrequited passion and also known as erotomania or erotic melancholy, figures prominently in the Heptameron. Marguerite de Navarre’s complex narrative strategies and skillful use of the controversial medico-moral debate on lovesickness, especially in novellas 9 and 26, convey to her contemporary, active readers a richly textured message about literary interpretation and sexual difference.
Between 1538 and 1545, Wittenberg printer-publisher Georg Rhau published fifteen impressive liturgical-musical collections designed for worship needs of Lutheran congregations throughout the year. Friedrich Blume characterized Rhau’s effort as international in musical style and interconfessional in theology, but in fact, Rhau’s collections favored an outmoded, conservative cosmopolitan musical style that continued to enjoy popularity in Germany.
Catholic reformers cited pluralism and absenteeism as the chief sins of elite clergy and the cause of the church’s ignorance and poverty. Reformers encouraged bishops to reside in their dioceses, educate their flocks, and investigate both theological and behavioral abuses. This line of argument ignored the practical realities that drove pluralism and absenteeism and those clergy who pursued reform mandates in their dioceses and benefices.
This study focuses on how the consistory in Courthézon steered a course of coexistence as the minority in a biconfessional town while maintaining the church’s confessional integrity. By examining two sets of illuminating cases from 1617 to 1631, the study shows that the consistory embraced the ideal of peaceful coexistence articulated in the edict of 1607. One set of cases dealt with Catholic-Protestant encounters in the town; the other set dealt with internal cases of révolte and intermarriage. The consistory chose its battles with the Catholic majority with care.
This essay investigates why the Testament Rhetoricael (Bruges, 1562), a large collection of poems and songs by Eduard de Dene, a prominent sixteenth-century rhetorician (rederijker) from the city of Bruges, has been preserved in manuscript instead of print. By discussing the links made by the poet between his text and the biblical image of the Book of Life, it is argued that for an early modern author like De Dene, the act of writing and its material result, the manuscript, could be a more than purely functional tool.
Sixteenth-century biblical translation was a site of extensive and closely reasoned argument about vernacular language and literature. These arguments emerged out of Reformation debates about biblical authority and the canon. Roman Catholics tended to interpret the Bible within a broader canon of received doctrine, while Reformers described scriptural language as intrinsically meaningful.
One of the most influential guidebooks of Renaissance Rome was written by the young Bolognese natural historian Ulisse Aldrovandi. Drafted while he awaited trial for heresy before the Inquisition in 1549–50, his Di tutte le statue antiche describes the private antiquities collections of Rome.