Bernhard Pez: An Austrian Benedictine Scholar between Sacred Antiquarianism and New Practices of Scholarship

in Erudition and the Republic of Letters
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


The article addresses the question of how to situate a Benedictine scholar of the early eighteenth century in relation to recent research on the intersecting goals of historical-critical scholarship and the search for confessional identities. The Benedictine Bernhard Pez (1683–1735) was among the first scholars in Austria to engage in the systematic collection and critical publication of medieval source texts. He has been long regarded as a pioneer of the historical-critical method though, like many contemporaries, he used it mainly for apologetic purposes, especially in favour of the Benedictine Order. What is interesting about Pez are his attempts to evade the institutional limitations in theology by highlighting the historical nature of church history and to search for Protestant allies in an anti-Roman struggle for a historical view of the antiquities of the ‘German’ church.




Levitin, ‘From Sacred History’, 1144; Grafton, ‘Church History’, 25–26.


Glassner, ‘Thesaurus’, 355–356.


Arnaldo Momigliano, ‘Ancient History and the Antiquarian’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 13 (1950), 285–315. More recently, see, among others, Ingo Herklotz, Cassiano Dal Pozzo und die Archäologie des 17. Jahrhunderts (Munich, 1999); Philip Jacks, The Antiquarian and the Myth of Antiquity. The Origins of Rome in Renaissance Thought (Cambridge, 1993); Peter N. Miller, Peiresc’s Europe. Learning and Virtue in the Seventeenth Century (New Haven, ct, 2000); Alain Schnapp, La conquête du passé. Aux origines de l’archéologie (Paris, 1993), 121–219.


 See especially Miller, Peiresc’s Europe, 76–101.


Sawilla, Antiquarianismus, 237–259; Markus Völkel, Geschichtsschreibung. Eine Einführung in globaler Perspektive (Cologne, 2006), 204–205.


Henri Gouhier, ‘La crise de la théologie au temps de Descartes’, Revue de théologie et de philosophie, 3rd ser., 4 (1954), 19–54; Leonhard Hell, ‘Positive (Théologie)’, in Jean-Yves Lacoste, ed., Dictionnaire critique de théologie (Paris, 1998), 914–916.


Pez, Bibliotheca ascetica, 2: 81–94; 4: 111–256; 8: 503–555, 629–649.


Gerhard Floßmann, ‘Abt Caspar Hofmann von Melk (1587–1623)’, Stift Melk. Geschichte und Gegenwart 2 (1981), 9–37; Ignaz Franz Keiblinger, Geschichte des Benedictiner-Stiftes Melk in Niederösterreich, seiner Besitzungen und Umgebungen, 3 vols. (Vienna, 1851–1869), 1: 808–883; Wilfried Kowarik, ‘Melk’, in Ulrich Faust and Waltraud Krassnig, eds., Germania Benedictina, vol. 3/2: Die benediktinischen Mönchs- und Nonnenklöster in Österreich und Südtirol (St. Ottilien, 2001), 526–654, at 550–555.


Siegfried Wiedenhofer, ‘Zur Entwicklung des frühneuzeitlichen Traditionsverständnisses’, Zeitsprünge. Forschungen zur Frühen Neuzeit, 1 (1997), 22–38. On the parallel use of historical, legal, and theological arguments in disputing past events, see Thomas Stockinger, ‘Factualité historique, preuve juridique, autorité patristique: stratégies d’argumentation dans les controverses érudites en milieu ecclésiastique’, in Leclant, Vauchez and Hurel, eds., Dom Jean Mabillon, 709–733.


Lehner, Enlightened Monks, 175–225.


Glassner, ‘Académie’, 497–499. There are two copies of the text: Stiftsarchiv Melk, Karton 2 Orden und Kongregationen 2; Stiftsarchiv Kremsmünster, Series J-a, 28 June 1729. The mentioned correction was made in the latter.


Hammermayer, ‘Forschungszentren’, 164.


Jean-Louis Quantin, ‘Document, histoire, critique dans l’érudition ecclésiastique des temps modernes’, Recherches de science religieuse 92 (2004), 597–635; Jean-Louis Quantin, ‘La philologie patristique et ses ennemis: Barthélémy Germon, S. J., et la tentation pyrrhoniste chez les anti-jansénistes’, in Häfner, ed., Philologie und Erkenntnis, 305–332. More generally, see Anthony Grafton, Forgers and Critics. Creativity and Duplicity in Western Scholarship (Princeton, nj, 1990).


Lehner, Enlightened Monks, 175–225.


Edelstein, Enlightenment, 39–40; Levitin, ‘From Sacred History’, 1158.


Peper, ‘Gelehrtenwelt’; Stockinger, ‘Meichelbeck’, 142.


Levitin, ‘From Sacred History’, 1159.


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 14 14 6
Full Text Views 1 1 1
PDF Downloads 1 1 1
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0