Eretici Esuli E Indemoniati Nell'eta Moderna

Article excerpt

Eretici esuli e indemoniati nell'eta moderna. Edited by Mario Rosa. [Biblioteca della Rivista di Storia e Letteratura Religiosa, Studi IX.] (Florence: Leo S. Olschki. 1998. Pp. 205. Lire 38,000 paperback.)

The volume contains four articles unrelated to one another. The first by Salvatore Lo Re mostly notes references to the movements and associations in the 1540's and 1550's of the Dominican theologian and controversialist Ambrogio Catarino Politi, known for his books against Italian and other heretics, found in the II processo inquisitoriale del Cardinal Giovanni Morone, edited by Massimo Firpo and Dario Marcatto (6 vols. in 7 parts; Rome, 1981-1995). Lo Re describes Politi as particularly hostile to the spirituali" in the circles of cardinals Morone and Reginald Pole. He sees Politi as a facile persecutor of new heretical doctrines and a profound biblicist who rejected Scholastic theology and Thomism. But the article is an incomplete work in progress.

The second article by Simonetta Adorni-Braccesi is a good outline of the collective lives in northern Europe of the approximately 300 Luccans who left for Geneva between 1555 and the early seventeenth century. About eighty came from the upper classes of wealthy merchants and bankers, the rest from trades and crafts, especially the silk industry. Some went on to Lyon, Paris, and La Rochelle, where they contributed to the Calvinist cause in the religious struggles. Those who remained in Geneva only slowly integrated into Calvinist society, because they maintained economic and personal contacts with Italy and other Catholic countries in the hope of return.

The third article, by Vincenzo Lavenia, tells the story of accusations of demonic possession in a convent in Carpi and the subsequent investigations by the local inquisition and the Roman congregations of the Holy Office and Regular Clergy, 1636-1639. Investigation uncovered sexual solicitation, outside interference, conflicting jurisdiction, exorcisms, and conflicting medical testimony about diabolic possession in Santa Chiara, a convent for nuns from upperclass families led by a mother superior with ties to the ruling Este family. …