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16. The Reception of Gregory in the Renaissance and Reformation

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Chapter Summary

Gregory the Great's works continued to be sought after for many reasons by the humanists of the Renaissance and the theologians of the Reformation era as worthy of reading, worthy of study, and worthy of publishing. Gregory the Great (590-604) was a Doctor of the Church, an established theological authority by the 9th century. Renaissance Christian humanism, as it was developed in Florence by Petrarch and his circle, stressed classical learning, the arts of discourse (grammar and rhetoric), along with Christian piety and moral philosophy. The Renaissance papacy is typically associated with decadence and worldly affairs in the wake of the Avignon papacy, the Great Schism, and shortly thereafter, the fall of Constantinople. Pierre Jounel reminds that the cult of Gregory in the Middle Ages had an early Roman as well as northern European focus. The men of the Renaissance and early Reformation found much to admire in Gregory.

Keywords: Avignon papacy; Gregory; Reformation; Renaissance



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