The aim of this collection of essays is to bring together new comparative research studies on the place and role of the Bible in early modern Europe. It focuses on lay readings of the Bible, interrogating established historical, social, and confessional paradigms. It highlights the ongoing process of negotiation between the faithful congregation and ecclesiastical institutions, in both Protestant and Catholic countries. It shows how, even in the latter, where biblical translations were eventually forbidden, the laity drew upon the Bible as a source of ethical, cultural, and spiritual inspiration, contributing to the evolution of central aspects of modernity. Interpreting the Bible could indeed be a means of feeding critical perspectives and independent thought and behavior.
Contributors: Erminia Ardissino, Xavier Bisaro, Élise Boillet, Gordon Campbell, Jean-Pierre Cavaillé, Sabrina Corbellini, François Dupuigrenet Desroussilles, Max Engammare, Wim François, Ignacio J. García Pinilla, Stefano Gattei, Margriet Hoogvliet, Tadhg Ó hAnnracháin, and Concetta Pennuto.
Erminia Ardissino, Ph.D. (1993), Università di Torino, is professor of Italian Literature at that university. She has published several monographs and many articles and critical editions on Dante, Renaissance, and the Baroque age, including an essay on Galileo’s letters (2010).
Élise Boillet is a CNRS researcher at the Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance (CESR) of the University of Tours. Her field of research is Italian Renaissance biblical and religious culture and literature. She has published a monograph on Pietro Aretino’s biblical works and provided their critical edition.
Acknowledgments Notes on the Editors Notes on the Contributors
Lay Readings of the Bible in Early Modern Europe: Introduction Erminia Ardissino and Élise Boillet
PART 1: The Bible in the European History: a Constant Exposition and an Essential Reference
Fides ex auditu: Hearing and Reading the Bible Gordon Campbell
Under the Sign of Jonah: the Bible in Early Modern Europe François Dupuigrenet Desroussilles
Some Irreligious Uses of the Bible in the Early Modern Period Jean-Pierre Cavaillé
PART 2: To Read or Not to Read the Bible: Instructions and Prohibitions about Lay Readings of the Bible in Early Modern Europe
The Debate Surrounding Lay Bible Reading in Spain in the Sixteenth Century Ignacio J. García Pinilla
Lay Debates about the Sacrality of the Bible in Sixteenth-Century Geneva Max Engammare
The Bible and the Early Modern Catholic Tradition: from Rome to the Margins of Europe Tadhg Ó hAnnracháin
PART 3: Lay Readings of the Bible in Early Modern Europe: a Plurality of Books, Uses, and Interpretations
Reading the Gospels in the Life and Passion of Christ in French (ca. 1400–ca. 1550) Margriet Hoogvliet
For Early Modern Printed Biblical Literature in Italian: Lay Authorship and Readership Élise Boillet
Bible Production and Bible Readers in the Age of Confessionalisation: the Case of the Low Countries Wim François
The Other Psalm Singing: Biblical Training in the Catholic Petites Écoles during the Late Renaissance Xavier Bisaro
PART 4: Lay Readings of the Bible in Early Modern Europe: the Formation of Social and Professional Identities
Francisco Vallés’ De Sacra Philosophia: a Medical Reading of the Bible Concetta Pennuto
The Finger and the Tongue of God: Johannes Kepler, Reformation Theology, and the New Astronomy Stefano Gattei
Women Interpreting Genesis in Early Modern Italy: Arguments Supporting Gender Equality Erminia Ardissino
PART 5: Afterword
Afterword: the Bible and the Laity in Long-Term Perspective Sabrina Corbellini
All interested in early modern European culture and history, the history of ideas, Renaissance Europe, interpretation of the Bible, printing and readership. Anyone concerned in the role of lay people in religious history. Keywords: Bible, Early Modern Europe, Readership, Interpretation, Lay people, Church History, History of Ideas, Reformation, Counter Reformation.