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Exempla, Prudence And Casuistry In Renaissance Political Discourse

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses what the author takes to be a largely ignored aspect of Renaissance humanist culture, and for which he thinks there are as yet no methodological tools available. All too often Renaissance texts are navely studied as adhering to the implicit conventions governing modern or contemporary textuality. The chapter begins by offering a brief survey of different modes of textual dependency in the Renaissance. It focuses on the role of exempla in humanist discourse and their relation to the world of political action. Renaissance moral philosophy, with its emphasis on prudence and exempla, need to be understood in close connection to a time-honored, but discredited and poorly understood philosophical and theological tradition, namely, casuistry.

Keywords: casuistry; Exempla; prudence; Renaissance; textual dependency



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