Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Giuseppe Dossetti E le Officine Bolognesi

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Giuseppe Dossetti E le Officine Bolognesi

Article excerpt

Giuseppe Dossetti e le Officine bolognesi. By Paolo Prodi. (Bologna: Società editrice il Mulino. 2016. Pp. 281. euro24,00 paperback. ISBN 978-88-15-26352-0.)

Paolo Prodi died on December 16, 2016, at the age of eighty-four. He taught modern history, focusing mainly on the Counter-Reformation era, at universities in Italy and abroad and served as rector of the University of Trent. He also served as a deputy in the Italian Parliament's eleventh legislature in the 1990s and was widely known beyond academia as the brother of Prime Minister Romano Prodi. Giuseppe Dossetti e le Officine bolognesi is something of a memoir or perhaps a personal history of a place and an era, Bologna, particularly scholarly Bologna, in the 1950s and 1960s, and heavily influenced by a man, Giuseppe Dossetti, the Christian Democratic politician-turned-priest. Prodi will not, he declares, engineer a "general reconstruction," but rather only provide "a few plugs" to the story (p. 98).

Prodi delivers a personal story about his scholarly development in postwar Italy, where he struggled to develop a viable dissertation subject and negotiate that decision with his supervisors, particularly Hubert Jedin and Delio Cantimori. Prodi needed to justify his choice of Reformation-era Italy, focusing on the diocese of Bologna. Most graduate students should recognize and appreciate this saga. Prodi weaves his personal account into politics and the foundation of what is now known as the John XXIII Foundation for Religious Studies. From its start in the early 1950s the institution reflected the personality of its founder, Dossetti, a scholar, World War II Resistance leader, Catholic politician, and, later, priest. Would this "workshop" (offcina), called initially the Center for Documentation (Centro di documentazione), be a place of scholarship or one of prayer and reflection? …

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