Jiménez de Cisneros: On the Threshold of Spain's Golden Age

Jiménez de Cisneros: On the Threshold of Spain's Golden Age

Jiménez de Cisneros: On the Threshold of Spain's Golden Age

Jiménez de Cisneros: On the Threshold of Spain's Golden Age

Excerpt

It is indicative of the dearth of English literature on Cisneros’ life that a recent publication cites as “the most judicious account” a chapter in a Spanish book on Erasmus (M. Bataillon’s Erasmo y España, Mexico 1966, cited by Bentley, p. 70). Similarly, an entry on Cisneros in a biographical dictionary (Contemporaries of Erasmus: A Biographical Register of the Renaissance and Reformation, Toronto 1986) lists three biographies, respectively dating from 1851 (by Hefele, written in German, available in English translation), 1914 (by Lyell, in English), and 1930 (by Fernández de Retana, in Spanish). The most recent biography in English is W. Starkie’s Grand Inquisitor: Being an Account of Cardinal Ximénez de Cisneros and His Times (London, 1940). Clearly, there is a lack of biographies for English readers. In Spanish literature, by contrast, Cisneros has received a great deal of attention. A plethora of books and articles has appeared in the last twenty years, ranging from Cruz Martínez Esteruelas’ popular paperback, Cisneros, de presidario a rey (Barcelona, 1992) to José García Oro’s scholarly study, El Cardenal Cisneros (2 volumes, Madrid, 1992–93). The majority of these publications are, however, meant for specialists. García Oro’s book provides an account that covers the full scope of Cisneros’ activities, but it assumes a thorough knowledge of the period and is burdened with minute detail. For an undergraduate readership it is labyrinthine. Other Spanish accounts deal with specific aspects of Cisneros’ career, most often related to his activities as a churchman. In an earlier work, Cisneros y la reforma del clero español … (Madrid, 1971) García Oro addresses Cisneros’ reform programme; P. Sainz Rodríguez treats of the same subject, with particular attention to Cisneros’ inclination to mysticism, in La siembra mística del Cardenal Cisneros y las reformas en la iglesia (Madrid, 1979). The most recent collection of papers dedicated exclusively to Cisneros is La hora de Cisneros, edited by Joseph Pérez (Madrid, 1995).

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