Academic Interests and Catholic Confessionalisation

The Louvain Privileges of Nomination to Ecclesiastical Benefices


Delving into the tangled involvement of academic institutions with the benefice system in the Early Modern Period, this book focuses on an anomaly: medieval privileges that provided academics at Louvain, the self-declared storm-troopers of Catholic and dynastic restoration in the Netherlands, with access to the Post-Tridentine clerical job market. Despite their anachronistic flavour in a regional job market characterised by its openness for graduates, these privileges were considered vital for the survival of the university and of Catholicism. This conundrum, addressed via the analysis of the privileges and the conflicts they provoked in Louvain colleges, local church administrations, Brussels secretariats and Roman palaces during the archducal period (1588/1598-1621/1625), leads to refreshing explorations of a fabric of Academia in the making and of the multiple worlds of early modern Catholicism.
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Biographical Note

Bruno Boute, Ph.D. (2003) in History, Catholic University of Louvain, is a researcher at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster and at the Catholic University of Louvain. He publishes on religious history, university history and the history of the papacy in the early modern period.

Review Quotes

"...Boute has clearly sought to compose a wide-ranging, multifaceted account that allows readers to delve into the world of a major sixteenth-century university. Clearly, this book is a gold mine for Louvain scholarship."
Geert H. Janssen, Corpus Christi College, Sixteenth Century Journal, XLIII/2 (2012)
"...Das Buch erreicht sein Ziel, durch eine konsequente Mikrohistorie von unten feste Vorstellungen von Akademikern und Jesuiten, von der päpstlichen Bürokratie und der tridentinischen Reform, vom Staat und der Macht und dergleichen zu verflüssigen und den einheitlichen Prozess der Konfessionalisierung in ein buntes Feld ungleicher Akteure zu verwandeln..."
Wolfgang Reinhard, Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken 91 (2011), pp. 542-543.
"...What at first glance seems a tedious game of academic politics turns out to be a fascinating tale of how power and influence functioned in the early modern period: through multiple layers of personal networks, mediated through different institutions, influenced by political, theological, and social considerations..."
Ronnie Po-chia Hsia, Pennsylvania State University, Studium, Vol. 4, no. 1 (2011)
"..This study is most useful for those scholars who will appreciate Boute’s attention to detail, especially as it relates to the histories of universities, of early modern Catholicism, and of the myriad connections between them..."
Adina M. Yoffie, New York University, Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 2 (Summer 2011), pp. 641-642.

Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Part One The Weight of the World
1. The Appeal of Logic
2. The Dross of the Earth. Benefices and Academics in the Early Modern Period
3. The Jewels among Academic Privileges

Part Two Assembling Academia
4. Flashbacks: Performance of Academia 1588-98
5. The City of Grace. Academics at the Corte Di Roma 1598-1612
6. The Brabant University. Academics and Reform 1607-17
7. Rondo Veneziano. Academics and the Papal Prince (1612-22)


List of Names


Institutes, academic libraries, religious libraries, students, specialists. Relevant subjects: university history, history and theory, religious and intellectual history, history of the papacy, history of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period.


Collection Information