Read The Preacher's Demons: Bernardino of Siena and the Social Underworld of Early Renaissance Italy by Franco Mormando Online

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"When the city was filled with these bonfires, he then combed the city, and whenever he received notice of some public sodomite, he had him immediately seized and thrown into the nearest bonfire at hand and had him burned immediately." This story, of an anonymous individual who sought to cleanse medieval Paris, was part of a sermon delivered in Siena, Italy, in 1427. The s"When the city was filled with these bonfires, he then combed the city, and whenever he received notice of some public sodomite, he had him immediately seized and thrown into the nearest bonfire at hand and had him burned immediately." This story, of an anonymous individual who sought to cleanse medieval Paris, was part of a sermon delivered in Siena, Italy, in 1427. The speaker, the friar Bernardino (1380-1444), was one of the most important public figures of the time, and he spent forty years combing the towns of Italy, instructing, admonishing, and entertaining the crowds that gathered in prodigious numbers to hear his sermons.His story of the Parisian vigilante was a recommendation. Sexual deviants were the objects of relentless, unconditional persecution in Bernardino's sermons. Other targets of the preacher's venom were witches, Jews, and heretics. Mormando takes us into the social underworld of early Renaissance Italy to discover how one enormously influential figure helped to dramatically increase fear, hatred, and intolerance for those on society's margins.This book is the first on Bernardino to appear in thirty-five years, and the first ever to consider the preacher's inflammatory role in Renaissance social issues....

Title : The Preacher's Demons: Bernardino of Siena and the Social Underworld of Early Renaissance Italy
Author :
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ISBN : 9780226538549
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 380 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Preacher's Demons: Bernardino of Siena and the Social Underworld of Early Renaissance Italy Reviews

  • Katie
    2018-10-17 23:53

    This work takes a look at Bernardino of Siena, a firebrand preacher in 15th century Italy, especially his thoughts on witchcraft, sodomy, and Judaism. It does a really nice job analyzing Bernardino's preaching techniques (regardless of the guy's pretty distasteful opinions, he certainly had flair) and his general approach to theology. Main points: Bernardino's approach to witchcraft was pretty early - the witch craze didn't start until 50 or so years after his death, and didn't really get going until the mid 1500s - but he was a precursor of things to come. He illustrates the shift in ideas of witchcraft from manipulation of nature (gathering herbs, love potions, all that sort of thing) to an active pact with the Devil and the consequent rise in hysteria that engendered. He viewed sodomy as an anti-social sin - both because of its lack of procreation and its biblical track record of causing cities' destruction - and was really harsh in his condemnations of it. And while Bernardino's wasn't particularly friendly towards Judaism, he wasn't quite the rabid anti-Semite he had previously been depicted as. All of this is super interesting on its own. Mormando runs into problems, though, when he tries to explain why these things became so central to Bernardino and his audience in the 15th century. The first is the heavy reliance on psychology to explain Bernardino's predilections. His theology is said to be heavily determined by his parents' early death and by potential repressed homosexuality. While that's certainly a possibility, it's a really hard historical argument to convincingly make. Especially since potentially broader causes are all pretty much passed over - while Mormando makes some quick attempts to suggest that Bernardino's popularity could be traced to the generally uncertain and apocalyptic times or to the need for a social scapegoat, he never explains why these particular scapegoats were chosen, and what that could potentially say about 15th century Italy. Bernardino never quite gets situated into his historical context, and that's a bummer, because the book is really interesting otherwise. Still definitely worth a read.