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The Frontiers of Mission

Perspectives on Early Modern Missionary Catholicism

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Edited by Alison Forrestal and Seán Alexander Smith

In exploring the shifting realities of missionary experience during the course of imperialist ventures and the Catholic Reformation, The Frontiers of Mission: Perspectives on Early Modern Missionary Catholicism provides a fresh assessment of the challenges that the Catholic church encountered at the frontiers of mission in the early modern era. Bringing together leading international scholars, the volume tests the assumption that uniformity and co-ordination governed early modern missionary enterprise, and examines the effects of distance and de-centering on a variety of missionaries and religious orders. Its essays focus squarely on the experiences of the missionaries themselves to offer a nuanced consideration of the meaning of ‘missionary Catholicism’, and its evolving relationship with newly discovered cultures and political and ecclesiastical authorities.

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Richard J. Serina

Scholarship has recognized fifteenth-century speculative thinker Nicholas of Cusa for his early contributions to conciliar theory, but not his later ecclesiastical career as cardinal, residential bishop, preacher, and reformer. Richard Serina shows that, as bishop in the Tyrolese diocese of Brixen from 1452 to 1458, and later as resident cardinal in Rome, Nicolas of Cusa left a testament to his view of reform in the sermons he preached to monks, clergy, and laity. These 171 sermons, in addition to his Reformatio generalis of 1459, reflect an intellectual coming to terms with the challenge of reform in the late medieval church, and in response creatively incorporating metaphysics, mystical theology, ecclesiology, and personal renewal into his preaching of reform.