Early Modern Catholic Perspectives on the Biblical Text: The Bellarmine and Whitaker Debate

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Title: Early Modern Catholic Perspectives on the Biblical Text: The Bellarmine and Whitaker Debate
Authors: Ó hAnnracháin, Tadhg
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/10290
Date: 1-May-2018
Online since: 2019-05-07T07:32:45Z
Abstract: The importance of the Bible to the Reformed traditions within Christianity is of course a truism. But the weight which the bible exercised over European Catholicism is sometimes under-estimated. As Maria Rosa has demonstrated, the influence of scriptural models influenced many different parts of life in Italy, not least in the realm of political theory. Figures such as Benito Montano whose De optimo imperio, sive in lib. Josuae commentarium (1589) was followed in 1592 by De varia republica, sive commentaria in librum Judicum or Francois Regeau who produced Leges politicae ex Sacae Scripturai libris collectae in 1615 or the avvisi of the Accademia dei Virtuosi in and around the pontificate of Gregory XV testified to the massive influence of Scripture within reformed Catholicism in creating a new political theory specifically opposed to Machiavellian conceptions of reason of state. Indeed, the determination with which the Italian vernacular scriptures were pursued in the sixteenth century is itself testimony to the importance which was accorded to the word of the Bible and the authority of the Vulgate. This in some respects reached a crescendo with Felice Peretti, the future Sixtus V, who spent a period of disfavour in revising Ambrosine texts and replacing their biblical quotations with the wording of the Vulgate. In Early Modern Rome it was certainly believed that the Bible must be removed from unsafe hands and there was a strong insistence on the authority of unwritten tradition but nevertheless Scripture remained the centre of gravity of Catholic thought also. Thus the very first book of Robert Bellarmine’s Controversiae, in many respects the paradigmatic text of early modern Catholicism, laid out the Catholic understanding of the primary importance of the Scriptures. At no point was Bellarmine prepared to concede that any form of Protestantism was more securely anchored in Scripture: on the contrary he insisted “nam Scripturam nos pluris facimus, quàm illi[the reformers]”.
Type of material: Book Chapter
Publisher: Brill
Series/Report no.: St Andrews Studies in Reformation History
Copyright (published version): 2018 Brill
Keywords: ChristianityBibleEuropean CatholicismItalyItalyScripturesTheologyIntellectual historySixteenth centurySeventeenth century
Other versions: https://brill.com/abstract/title/35024
Language: en
Status of Item: Not peer reviewed
Is part of: Armstrong, R., Ó Hannracháin, T. (eds.). The English Bible in the Early Modern World
ISBN: 978-90-04-34797-7
Appears in Collections:History Research Collection

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