The early modern historiography of early modern cardinals

Book chapter


Pattenden, Miles and Witte, Arnold A.. (2019). The early modern historiography of early modern cardinals. In In Hollingsworth, Mary, Pattenden, Miles and Witte, Arnold Alexander (Ed.). A companion to the early modern cardinal pp. 435-452 Brill Academic Publishers. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004415447_029
AuthorsPattenden, Miles and Witte, Arnold A.
EditorsHollingsworth, Mary, Pattenden, Miles and Witte, Arnold Alexander
Abstract

[Excerpt] The following chapter sets out how forms of writing about cardinals – in particular, biographical forms – developed, focusing both on key authors and on what motivated their endeavours. It explains the difference between two kinds of texts which predominate early modern accounts of cardinals’ lives: 1. those which sought comprehensiveness as a means of chronicling and validating the Church’s traditions; and 2. those with a more didactic purpose which saw the lives of particular cardinals as especially noteworthy (though not necessarily for entirely positive reasons). The texts of the first category were, for the most part, clearly intended as part of, or an annex to, the greater Historia Ecclesiastica which was being compiled in these centuries. Those of the second were more akin to the genre of single-subject hagiographies which Pamela Jones discusses in her chapter below. Nevertheless, the distinction between such texts and others which sought to place cardinals in the context of the Church’s traditions is far from clear cut. Texts of all kinds were very much forged within an intellectual culture which sought to identify and promulgate exemplary models for the Christian life, and which also justified them with reference the same overarching continuum of ideals – a continuum which also gave birth to many other forms of writing, including about cardinals. Treatises on the “ideal cardinal” and hagiographies of specific individuals from within the College are of such historical and historiographical importance that we have accorded them their own chapters within this section. However, other genres that need to be acknowledged and referenced include 1. manuals for how cardinals should conduct themselves in conclave, 2. accounts of the proper rights and responsibilities of the College and its members in particular contexts (a genre which intersects with, but does not completely overlap, treatises on the ideal cardinal), and 3. political discourses about the rights and wrongs of so-called “Crown Cardinals.” All these genres are briefly discussed in the text below.

Page range435-452
Year2019
Book titleA companion to the early modern cardinal
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Place of publicationLeiden
ISBN9789004310964
9004415440
9004310967
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004415447_029
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All rights reserved
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Output statusPublished
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Online2020
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Deposited30 Sep 2021
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