This article explores the relationship between theology and documentary criticism in Cesare Baronio’s Annales Ecclesiastici in their own historical and intellectual context. The first two sections of this article are devoted to analyzing two episodes in Baronio’s work, which most clearly show the role of erudition and historical criticism in articulating crucial and controversial political and theological positions in post-Reformation Rome. The third and final section assesses the significance of Baronio’s historical methodology in the context of post-Reformation Catholicism and its importance for our understanding of the relationship between post-Humanist historiography and post-Reformation apologetics and, more generally, for our understanding of the nature of ecclesiastical history.
On Bozio see Salvo Mastellone“Tommaso Bozio l’intransigente amico del Baronio, teorico dell’ordine ecclesiastico,” in Baronio storico e la Controriformaed. R. De Maio L. Gulia A. Mazzacane (Sora 1982) 219-230.
See Carlo Ginzburg“Description and citation,” in Threads and Traces: True False Fictiveed. Carlo Ginzburg trans. Anne C. Tedeschi and John Tedeschi (Berkeley 2011) 7-24. Ginzburg’s considerations on Baronio can be found at 20 and ff.
A. Momigliano“Pagan and Christian historiography in the fourth century A.D.,” in Terzo contributo alla storia degli studi classici e del mondo anticoed. A. Momigliano (Rome 1966) vol. I 87-109. originally published as “The Conflict between Paganism and Christianity in the Fourth Century” (Oxford 1963) 79-99.