La Bibbia Al Rogo: La Censura Ecclesiatica E I Volgarizzamenti Della Scrittura (1471-1605)

By Gleason, Elisabeth G. | The Catholic Historical Review, July 1998 | Go to article overview

La Bibbia Al Rogo: La Censura Ecclesiatica E I Volgarizzamenti Della Scrittura (1471-1605)


Gleason, Elisabeth G., The Catholic Historical Review


La Bibbia al rogo. La censura ecclesiastica e i volgarizzamenti delta Scrittura (1471-1605). By Gigliola Fragnito. (Bologna: Il Mulino. 1997. Pp. 345. Lire 38.000.)

Italian bishops proclaimed 1997 the "year of the Bible" and enjoined their flocks to read the Scriptures with fervor. They expressed their unease at the fact that the Bible, although widely diffused in Italy, was probably among the least read books. Their proclamation followed Pope John Paul II's call to all Christians in his pastoral letter Tertio millennio adveniente to "turn with renewed interest to the Bible." The appearance of Professor Fragnito's book coincidentally with these efforts to deepen the knowledge of biblical texts among Catholics is nothing short of ironic. She tells a complex story which shows why and how this knowledge disappeared among the Italian people in the sixteenth century, never to return to the mainstream of their culture.

This book quite literally opens a new stage in scholarship. Professor Fragnito is one of the very few who were given permission to use the archives of the former Holy Office (or Inquisition), inaccessible to most scholars before its very recent opening celebrated on January 22, 1998. Her work is based on hitherto unknown material and brings an entirely new perspective on vexed and muchdebated questions.

In her opening chapter the author has assembled information showing the ready availability of vernacular Scriptures during the first half of the sixteenth century, whether editions of the Old and New Testaments, the Gospels, or the Epistles. The first printed Italian translation of the Bible by Nicolo Malerbi appeared in Venice in 1471, to be followed by other translations in many editions. A wealth of devotional works based on biblical texts like the Fioretti della Bibbia were printed as well. Italy was a country where reading the vernacular Bible was common and widespread among individuals, in families, confraternities, convents, and monasteries.

The increased interest in reading the Scriptures in the wake of the Reformation led ecclesiastical authorities to mistrust the owners of vernacular Bibles. Reading the word of God in one's own language became suspect or linked with heresy. The author points out that this was true not only in Italy, but that political authorities in England, France, or Spain made the same connection between reading the Bible and heresy. However, in Italy the enforcement of the prohibition lay not so much with the state as with the Inquisition, reorganized and made into an effective organ of the papacy in 1542.

The central part of the book is devoted to a discussion of the various Indexes from that of Paul IV in 1559 to the Clementine Index of 1596, and their provisions regulating the printing and/or reading of vernacular Bibles. Using the newly accessible documentation with exemplary expertise, the author shows the profound differences which existed during these years at the highest levels of the Church concerning the reading of the word of God by the common people. Popes, masters of the Sacred Palace, the Congregations of the Index and of the Inquisition, cardinals and bishops disagreed among themselves. The Index of 1559 flatly forbade both reading and printing the Bible, putting control over enforcement into the hands of inquisitors. However, the Tridentine Index of 1564, drawn up by a commission of more sympathetic bishops, mitigated these prohibitions. Soon afterward, in 1567, the last vernacular Bible until 1773 was printed in Italy.

With the establishment of the Congregation of the Index in 1571 a new office entered the picture. One of the most surprising aspects of this book is its presentation of the ongoing conflict between this new congregation and the Inquisition. The latter defended its turf, aimed at control over all literary and religious works, and wanted to nullify the role of bishops in the censorship of books. The former, while generally not more lenient, was sensitive to encroachments of its jurisdiction by the Inquisition and more ready to co-operate with bishops. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

La Bibbia Al Rogo: La Censura Ecclesiatica E I Volgarizzamenti Della Scrittura (1471-1605)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.