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  • Il modernismo in Italia e in Germania nel contesto europeo. Atti della L settimana di studio, Trento, 23-26 ottobre 2007
  • Paul Misner
Il modernismo in Italia e in Germania nel contesto europeo. Atti della L settimana di studio, Trento, 23-26 ottobre 2007. Edited by Michele Nicoletti and Otto Weiss. [Annali dell'Istituto storico italo-germanico in Trento, Quaderni, 79.] (Bologna: Società editrice il Mulino. 2010. Pp. 498. €33,00 paperback. ISBN 978-8-815-13720-3.)

A distinct approach of this volume of papers is to explore possible crosslinks of modernism with other fields of scholarship. Some pertinent connections with developments of the period 1890-1930 are brought to light, often for the first time, in the contributions dealing with ecumenism (by Annibale Zambarbieri); feminism (by Vittorio Carrara and Roberta Fossati); canon law (by Carlo Fantappiè); secular historiography (by Franziska Metzger); "folkish" movements (by Uwe Puschner); Italian neo-idealist philosophy and politics (by Mauro Visentin and Rocco Cerrato); literature (by Paolo Marangon on Antonio Fogazzaro); university life in Germany (by Christopher Dowe); and pedagogy, through such figures as Maria Montessori (Fulvio De Giorgi). Fantappiè draws attention, for example, to the significant overlap in both period and personnel between the Vatican's campaign against modernism and the drafting of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Weiss's unusually helpful introduction serves to direct the reader to other contributions of most interest to individual research interests.

The conference where these papers were originally presented was a "study week" that convened German and Italian scholars; the German papers have been translated into Italian for this publication. It took place one hundred years after some modernist figures consulted with each other in Molveno, near Trent, shortly after the antimodernist syllabus, Lamentabili, came out (July 3) and before Pascendi (September 8, 1907), as Michele Nicoletti discusses.

Beside the new questions explored, the central issues of modernist research receive renewed attention, especially those affecting German or Italian actors. Giovanni Vian tries to get a handle on censorship and self-censorship among the consequences of antimodernism that characterized the years after Pascendi. Claus Arnold examines German theologians after 1918 and concludes that their pro- or antimodernist leanings were not much of a [End Page 838] predictor in regard to their stance toward Nazism. The inspiration of scripture was another delicate subject, as was the historicity of dogma (discussed by Peter Neuner) and issues of church authority in matters of belief (examined by Davide Zordan), provoking antimodernist disciplinary measures.

Vatican players such as Louis Billot, S.J., figure prominently in Weiss's thematic paper; Modernists Ernesto Buonaiuti and Romolo Murri in those by Nicoletti and Cerrato. Two cases deal with progressive figures who nevertheless escaped public disavowal by the Vatican: Although Franz von Hummelauer, S.J.,was forced out of scriptural studies, Erich Wasmann, S.J., as a Catholic biologist who softened the apologetic stance against evolution, was merely asked to stick to noncontroversial subjects (as Klaus Schatz explores). Ambroise Gardeil, O.P., seems even more surprising (as Wolfgang Mueller discusses): How did he manage to escape censure as founder of the Dominican scholasticate of Le Saulchoir?

All papers are sedulously footnoted, bringing the reader up-to-date with all but the most recent editions and publications.

Paul Misner
Marquette University


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