Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Religious Authority in the Spanish Renaissance

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Religious Authority in the Spanish Renaissance

Article excerpt

Early Modern European

Religious Authority in the Spanish Renaissance. By Lu Ann Homza. [The Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, 118th Series.] (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. 2000. Pp. xxv, 312. $39.95.)

Lu Ann Homza's Religious Authority in the Spanish Renaissance will change the way historians have customarily interpreted Spanish religious culture in the first half of the sixteenth century. Not all readers will agree with her conclusions, but they will be hard-pressed to think about the intellectual currents of this era in the same way after having read this important new work. Homza effectively challenges traditional interpretations of scholasticism, humanism, and clerical authority in Renaissance Spain.

She frames each chapter as a revelation. According to her, things are never quite what the prevailing scholarship would have us believe. Homza effectively argues, for example, that Juan de Vergara, often presented as the embodiment of Spanish humanism, was a more complex figure -who borrowed heavily from scholastic methods and interpretation and did not divide his intellectual arsenal into carefully delineated compartments. By challenging the notion that humanism and scholasticism were mutually exclusive, Homza tackles head on the long historiographical shadow cast by Marcel Bataillon. Bataillon read Spain's ultimate rejection of Erasmian humanism as a step backwards and characterized much of the period after the 1530's as repressive and intolerant. Homza offers instead a less judgmental and rigid portrait of Spain's religious culture. Spanish intellectuals melded old traditions and new trends. Authors like Vergara may lose their status as paragons in the process, but they become more engaging as Homza traces their "energy and ingenuity" (p. 210).

In a similar fashion, she reinterprets the question of clerical authority in Spain. By looking at texts like confessors' manuals, Homza posits a more subtle image of Spanish clerics in this period. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.