CIVIC PREACHING IN THE EARLY RENAISSANCE
Giovanni Dominici's Florentine Sermons
DANIEL R. LESNICK
THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE MONASTIC WORLD to the world of lay men and women arose from parallel social aspirations: both "worlds" were comprised of human communities with interlocking ideal and pragmatic components. In this closing chapter of Part One, Daniel R. Lesnick focuses on the point of intersection of these related social visions. Professor Lesnick analyzes how Florentine Dominicans, as members of an ecclesial "community," undertook the task of translating monastic ideals into terms accessible to the civil community, and how members of the main Dominican house in Florence articulated these ideals in public preaching. He traces the tradition of Dominican involvement in Florentine political life from the late Dugento through the fifteenth century; his principal figure is Giovanni Dominici, who was prior of Santa Maria Novella before going on to become head of the Observant community at Fiesole and, later, a cardinal of the Roman Church. Using Dominici's preaching, Professor Lesnick illustrates the classical humanist values and biblical and prophetic cast of Dominican social teaching in Florence, which paved the way for Savonarola's success at century's end.
DANIEL R. LESNICK is associate professor of history at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has published on Franciscan and Dominican preaching and the creation of capitalist ideology in late medieval Florence.