1st Edition

Early Modern Confraternities in Europe and the Americas
International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

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ISBN 9780754651741
Published May 28, 2006 by Routledge
302 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Scholars have long recognized the significant role that confraternities, or lay brotherhoods, played in the religious life of medieval and early modern Catholicism. As well as helping shape the devotions of a large section of the laity, confraternities became a focus for charitable giving and social welfare, cultural life, and political-religious struggles. Taking a broad chronological and geographical approach, this collection of essays tackles these important issues, addressing the varied and fluid nature of confraternities and their relationship to wider society. The volume is organized so as to exemplify the diversity of confraternities across time and space, demonstrating their importance and interest to scholars from a range of disciplines. In doing so, it brings out how confraternal associations might adapt to changing conditions and needs, and play roles against a background of tension (whether between Catholics and Protestants, Gaels and English, or local social factions). Geographically, examples are cited from well-studied areas like Italy, and lesser-known ones like Ireland, the Netherlands and South America. Contributors cover a whole variety of topics such as Marian devotions, treatment of the poor and condemned prisoners, religious painting, architecture, poetry and drama. By examining the broad range of confraternities, suggesting some comparisons with other types of fraternal organizations across time and space, this volume should encourage more interdisciplinary and international studies of these highly significant associations and institutions.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: the confraternity context, Christopher Black; The confraternities and cultural duality in Ireland, 1450-1550, Colm Lennon; Lay persons in power: the crumbling of the clerical monopoly on urban devotion in Flanders, as a result of the rise of lay confraternities in the Late Middle Ages, Paul Trio; In principio erat verbum. Drama, devotion, Reformation and urban association in the Low Countries, Anne-Laure Van Bruaene; Power to the paupers? Confraternal assistance and the poor in 13th- to 15th-century Bergamo, Roisin Cossar; The Confraternite dei Poveri: confraternal home relief and institutionalization of the poor in 16th- and 17th-century Venice, Andrea Vianello; From image of devotion to devotional image: the changing role of art in the Chapel of the Arciconfraternità della Madonna della Consolazione, detta della Cintura, Anna Beth Rousakis; Comforting the condemned and the role of the Laude in Early Modern Italy, Pamela Gravestock; Piety, poetry and politics: Rouen's Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception and the French Wars of Religion, Dylan Reid; Confraternities under suspicion in the Early Modern Period: a Venetian case-study, Christopher Black; Our Lady of Copacabana and her legacy in colonial Potosí, Emma Sordo; Confraternities as patrons of architecture in colonial Quito, Ecuador, Susan Verdi Webster; Docere delectando: confraternal drama studies and the Academy, Nerida Newbigin; Incorporating images: some themes and tasks for confraternity studies and Early Modern visual culture, Barbara Wisch; De-institutionalizing confraternity studies: fraternalism and social capital in cross-cultural contexts, Nicholas Terpstra; Index.

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Christopher Black is Professor of Italian History at the University of Glasgow, UK. Pamela Gravestock is Associate Director of the Office of Teaching Advancement at the University of Toronto, Canada.


’Clearly targeted at scholars rather than students, this book offers some tantalizing connections and highlights important research areas.’ Church History ’...this collection provides an enlightening new contribution on the spiritual and social roles played by medieval and early modern lay confraternities, and will be both useful and enjoyable for students or scholars in this field.’ English Historical Review ’Specialists interested in confraternity studies will find many intriguing and provocative arguments within this text as the reader moves through an interdisciplinary and global pilgrimage. The scope of this book is ambitious. These fifteen essays, while short, are comprehensive ... an important contribution in shaping the future for confraternities studies.’ Sixteenth Century Journal