HUMANISM AND REFORM IN THE LIFE AND WORK OF GREGORIO CORTESE, 1483-1548 (ITALY)

FRANCESCO CIRIACO CESAREO, Fordham University

Abstract

Was Renaissance humanism the source of disruption within the Catholic Church of the sixteenth-century? This has been a question examined and answered by historians in various ways. Some historians have described humanism as paving the way for Protestantism. More recently, historians have understood humanism as the foundation of the Catholic Reformation, a positive movement which sought renewal within the Church. As proof for this interpretation scholars have highlighted the efforts of leading ecclesiastical figures to inaugurate a reformatio in capite et membris.^ In this study, the author attempts to give further evidence of the fusion between humanism and Church reform through an examination of the efforts of the Benedictine abbot and Cardinal Gregorio Cortese (1483-1548). Focusing upon Cortese's program for monastic renewal and his place in the broader movement for Church reform, the author illustrates how humanism served as Cortese's point of departure. Although proceeding in a chronological framework, the intention of the author is not to present a simple biography but rather to study Gregorio Cortese as representative of Catholic reform. To do this the author attempts to understand Cortese's thought and how it developed and expressed itself. Thus, the author follows an intellectual approach, specifically concerning himself with an examination of Cortese's humanism and reform ideology, probing the link between the two.^ The principal source employed by the author in this study is the correspondence of Gregorio Cortese found in the two volume Opera. In addition to Cortese's letters the author also made use of two treatises written by Cortese, as well as source material from various Italian archives.^ Through a careful examination of these sources the author evidences the link between humanism and reform in the life and work of Gregorio Cortese. Thus, the author concludes not only that humanism was at the service of religion, but also that there did exist within the sixteenth-century Church a positive movement to reform the existing institution and to foster renewal of her spiritual life and mission. ^

Subject Area

Biographies|Modern history

Recommended Citation

CESAREO, FRANCESCO CIRIACO, "HUMANISM AND REFORM IN THE LIFE AND WORK OF GREGORIO CORTESE, 1483-1548 (ITALY)" (1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8615722.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8615722

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