The Historical Institute of the Order of Preachers has recently published the volume Agiografie Domenicane (Dominican Hagiographies), a collection of essays by the Italian historian of medieval and early modern spirituality Alessandra Bartolomei Romagnoli. 

Hagiography was a form of sacred writing that the Dominicans practiced with particular diligence and commitment. One of its purposes was to convey to the faithful doctrinal and moral content that would otherwise be incomprehensible in the terms of the high theology of the masters.

The twelve essays published in this volume have a twofold aim. Firstly, they outline a new proposal for interpreting the corpus of the sources on Dominic of Caleruega. Secondly, they show how the image of the Father became a norm of life, an example of holiness that was very present in the memory and devotion of his brothers.

Alessandra Bartolomei Romagnoli: Agiografie Domenicane, a cura di Gianni Festa OP (Dissertationes Historicae 41). Angelicum University Press, Roma 2022, pp. 32 ill.

The invitation to holiness that the modern literary genre of mystical hagiographies addressed to the laity (the overwhelming majority of whom were women) had profoundly different characteristics, configuring a model of Christian perfection that was substantially unprecedented compared to previous eras. The narrative focused less on the facts of individual lives than on the signs of a sought-after union with God: ecstasies, visions, revelations. What counted, even more than miracles, was the knowledge and heavenly enlightenment of the magistrae practicae. It was a spiritual language, that of the Dominican nouvelle hagiographie, also rich in prophetic and political connotations; a language in the style of an Order that, from the very beginning, was deeply committed to translating the experience of faith into a historical force for change in the Church and in society.

ISBN 978-88-99616-61-8.

Price: € 130,-.

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