Beyond the Written Word: Preaching and Theology in the Florence of Archbishop Antoninus 1427-1459by Peter Francis Howard (review)
- The Catholic Historical Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 83, Number 2, April 1997
- pp. 323-324
- View Citation
- Additional Information
BOOK REVIEWS323 sues on Constance are reviewed: Causa fidei—Jean Petit, John Hus, the Teutonic Knights and Poland; Causa reformationis—was Constance a success in achieving unity but a faUure on the reform issue; Vatican CouncU II and the changing perspectives on Constance; Haec Sancta reveals a plethora of views and interpretationsThroughout the book the major researchers, their contributions and ideas appear: HaUer,Valois,Buisson, Ulimann, CoviUe, Boockmann, Bartos , Heimpel, Fink, Loserth.Vooght, Küng,Tierney GUI, and Jedin to name but a few. FinaUy Frenken discusses the ongoing work of BrandmüUer and the other current scholars and the questions they are asking today. This is a valuable overview and a compendious compUation of bibUography on Constance. It is where one can start or refresh one's memory. It is not an easy read but well worth the effort.The bibUography alone will ensure its reputation and the desire to keep it handy. Thomas E. Morrissey State University ofNew York College at Fredonia, New York Beyond the Written Word: Preaching and Theology in the Florence ofArchbishop Antoninus 1427-1459- By Peter Francis Howard. [Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento: Quaderni di Rinascimento,Vol. XXVIIL] (Florence: Leo S. Olschki. 1995. Pp. xii, 300. Lire 60,000 paperback.) Among Florentine contemporaries and historians of the Renaissance, Antonino Pierozzi stands apart as a major cleric who is widely admired.This new study by Peter Francis Howard suppUes soUd evidence for that admiration. Antoninus emerges as a pastor genuinely concerned about the needs of his flock and as a man of dialogue wUling to engage the broader culture of his day.The shaping force in his ministry was a commitment to excel in preaching. His theology stemmed from his activity in the pubUc squares of the city, not from engagement in the academic debates of the university. Florence afforded a skUled preacher frequent occasions to proffer his message , and the Florentines considered Antoninus a skilled practitioner of the art. In the second part of his monograph, Howard examines the "preaching mentality " ofAntoninus, using a coUection of model sermons that he dates to 1427, or possibly 1432. Among classical rhetorical principles, three especiaUy seem to govern Antoninus's approach. FUst, he saw sermons fundamentaUy as a deUberative type of speech: they should persuade his Usteners to virtue and dissuade them from vice. Second, to enhance the effect of the sermon on the emotions, Antoninus incorporated epideictic sections of praise and blame. FinaUy, and most pervasively, Antoninus always preached with a strong sense of decorum: he adapted the form and content to his audience and their circumstances, and he shifted his theology from abstract concerns to the concrete issues facing members of Florentine society. 324book reviews The importance of preaching is evident in Antoninus's subsequent Summa theologica.Written between 1440 and 1454, the work is a practical manual of pastoral theology whose concerns were dictated by the needs of Antoninus's flock. Despite disclaimers about his rudimentary education, Antoninus produced a Summa that is synthetic and original.The Summa looked to instruct feUow preachers and supply sound guidance on issues of relevance to their ministry.When citing previous authorities, Antoninus showed a consistent desire to dialogue with them. His major source wasThomasAquinas, though I find the references to Gregory the Great most telling. Gregory could weU have given Antoninus his model for a ministry of preaching. Given his preaching mentality and pastoral priorities for theology,Antoninus felt justified in claiming that "the doctrine of the church, when preached, is entirely civic and in accordance with moral phUosophy" f. 197). As a popular preacher,Antoninus chose to engage Ui a dialogue with the values promoted by humanists in their civic orations.Though formed in a scholastic culture,Antoninus was not a rigorist. He found common ground between the civic concerns of the humanists and the pastoral mission of the mendicants.They were united in theU dedication to pubUc speaking and to promoting the common good. This is a very competent piece of research, and my questions are few.The discussion of the appropriateness of studying pagan authors (pp. 121-123) seems part of a long tradition of interpretation of Deuteronomy 21:10-13, the story...