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Preaching Scripture Under Pressure in Tridentine Italy: a Case Study of Gabriele Fiamma

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image of Nederlands Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis / Dutch Review of Church History
For more content, see Church History and Religious Culture.

As the forces of Catholic reform brought bishops back to their dioceses in sixteenth-century Italy, the act of preaching came to denote very different activities for mendicants preaching to the elite and for secular clerics first learning to preach to the uneducated. One preacher, however, the Augustinian Gabriele Fiamma, demonstrates that this gulf was not unbridgeable. Fiamma wrote both extremely ornate sermons and simple guides for secular clerics, even though he himself was not a bishop at the time. In addition, he continued to make the teaching of Scripture central to both kinds of preaching. Fiamma's decisions demonstrate that preachers, as conveyers of orthodox doctrine and religious education, not only remained central to Catholic identity in the post-Tridentine era but helped to reinforce that identity by embracing different Catholic audiences within their purview.


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