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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter presents an overview of the book Law, Medicine, and Engineering in the Cult of the Saints in Counter-Reformation Rome: The Hagiographical Works of Antonio Gallonio, 1556-1605, which discusses how Antonio Gallonio engaged with elements and techniques from the secular disciplines of law, medicine and engineering. The book shows that in these engagements he endeavored to claim for the priesthood aspects of the lives of saints that at first sight seemed to be the preserve of worldly experts. His oeuvre, and the context in which it came into being, demonstrates the ambivalence of a priest who wanted to bind the laity to himself without subjecting himself to worldly preoccupations. It is precisely his ambivalence which makes this relatively unknown sixteenth-century priest interesting to the intellectual and social history of the early modern Roman Catholic culture.

Keywords: Antonio Gallonio; counter-reformation Rome; engineering; hagiography; law; medicine; saints



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