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The Politics of Ritual Kinship
Confraternities and Social Order in Early Modern Italy


Part of Cambridge Studies in Italian History and Culture

Nicholas Terpstra, Christopher F. Black, Jennifer Fisk Rondeau, Giovanna Casagrande, Daniel Bornstein, Anna Esposito, Lorenzo Polizzotto, Lance Lazar, Elliott Horowitz, Richard S. Mackenney, Danilo Zardin, Mark A. Lewis, Claudio Bernardi, Angelo Torre, Konrad Eisenbichler
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  • Date Published: July 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521038003

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About the Authors
  • Confraternities were the most common form of organized religious life in medieval and early modern Europe. They were at once the lay face of the church, the spiritual heart of civic government, and the social kin who claimed the allegiance of peers and the obedience of subordinates. In this 1999 collection, fifteen scholars examine the development of confraternities in Italy, where they emerged first and had the greatest impact. Individual essays explore a common set of themes across Italy from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries: the ubiquity of confraternities, social construction, and devotional ethos; their ritual culture and civic religion; their antagonistic and collaborative relations with both civic and ecclesiastical authorities; and their role in social welfare and social control of marginal groups. The authors demonstrate how the ritual kinship expressed in confraternities emerged in the Middle Ages and became a powerful force in 'civilizing' early modern Italian society.

    • A wide-ranging collection, from medieval times to the eighteenth century, on a key institution in Italian society
    • Covers the length and breadth of Italy, with insights into the country's social, religious and anthropological make-up
    • Brings together a team of outstanding historians from Italy, Britain and North America
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… breathtaking in the range of subjects and timescale considered … a welcome addition to the growing body of scholarship on Italian confraternities'. William B. Wurthmann, Journal of Ecclesiastical History

    '… the contributors enrich our understanding of the complex nature of lay charitable and pious activities and identities on the brink of the modern age.' Jennifer D. Selwyn, Archivum Historicum

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521038003
    • length: 332 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 151 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.497kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of contributors
    Introduction: the politics of ritual kinship Nicholas Terpstra
    1. The development of confraternity studies over the past thirty years Christopher F. Black
    2. Homosociality and civic (dis)order in late medieval Italian confraternities Jennifer Fisk Rondeau
    3. Confraternities and lay female religiosity in late medieval and Reniassance Umbria Giovanna Casagrande
    4. The bounds of community: commune, parish, confraternity and charity at the dawn of a new era in Cortona Daniel Bornstein
    5. Men and women in Roman confraternities in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries: roles, functions, expectations Anna Esposito
    6. The Medici and the youth Confraternity of the Purification of the Virgin, 1434–1506 Lorenzo Polizzotto
    7. In loco parentis: confraternities and abandoned children in Florence and Bologna Nicholas Terpstra
    8. The first Jesuit confraternities and marginalised groups in sixteenth-century Rome Lance Lazar
    9. Jewish confraternal piety in sixteenth-century Ferrara: continuity and change Elliott Horowitz
    10. The scuole piccole of Venice: formations and transformations Richard S. Mackenney
    11. Relaunching confraternities in the Tridentine era: shaping conscience and Christianising society in Milan and Lombardy Danilo Zardin
    12. The development of Jesuit confraternity activity in the Kingdom of Naples in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Mark A. Lewis
    13. Corpus Domini: ritual metamorphoses and social changes in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Genoa Claudio Bernardi
    14. Faith's boundaries: ritual and territory in rural Piedmont in the early modern period Angelo Torre
    15. The suppression of confraternities in Enlightenment Florence Konrad Eisenbichler

  • Editor

    Nicholas Terpstra, University of Toronto


    Nicholas Terpstra, Christopher F. Black, Jennifer Fisk Rondeau, Giovanna Casagrande, Daniel Bornstein, Anna Esposito, Lorenzo Polizzotto, Lance Lazar, Elliott Horowitz, Richard S. Mackenney, Danilo Zardin, Mark A. Lewis, Claudio Bernardi, Angelo Torre, Konrad Eisenbichler

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