The Roman Inquisition and the Venetian Press, 1540-1605

The Roman Inquisition and the Venetian Press, 1540-1605

Paul F. Grendler
Copyright Date: 1977
Pages: 400
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x1221
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    The Roman Inquisition and the Venetian Press, 1540-1605
    Book Description:

    One of the great European publishing centers, Venice produced half or more of all books printed in Italy during the sixteenth-century. Drawing on the records of the Venetian Inquisition, which survive almost complete, Paul F. Grendler considers the effectiveness of censorship imposed on the Venetian press by the Index of Prohibited Books and enforced by the Inquisition.

    Using Venetian governmental records, papal documents in the Vatican Archive and Library, and the books themselves, Professor Grendler traces the controversies as the patriciate debated whether to enforce the Index or to support the disobedient members of the book trade. He investigates the practical consequences of the Index to printer and reader, noble and prelate.

    Heretics, clergymen, smugglers, nobles, and printers recognized the importance of the press and pursued their own goals for it. The Venetian leaders carefully weighed the conflicting interests, altering their stance to accommodate constantly shifting religious, political, and economic situations. The author shows how disputes over censorship and other press matters contributed to the tension between the papacy and the Republic. He draws on Venetian governmental records, papal documents in the Vatican Library, and the books themselves.

    Originally published in 1977.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6923-7
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS AND TABLES
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Paul F. Grendler
  5. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. xvii-2)

    Antonio Rotondò commented in 1963 that little is known of the internal history of the Index of Prohibited Books.¹ The monumental works of Franz Heinrich Reusch and Joseph Hilgers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries provide a great deal of information on its external history, including reliable editions of the early Indices, information on how they were compiled, identifications of banned books, and reprints of individual prohibitory decrees. But they offer little information on enforcement, especially at the level of the bookstores. Although Firpo and, recently, Rotondò, Prodi, and Tedeschi, have done some work in that area, Rotondò’s...

  7. I THE VENETIAN BOOKMEN
    (pp. 3-24)

    Those seeking to regulate the Venetian press faced a formidable task. The first Venetian printed book did not appear until about 1469, but the press grew so rapidly that it became the largest in Europe by the end of the incunabular period.¹ The city’s commercial preeminence and its distribution network (the best in the world) attracted the merchants of the new craft. In the early cinquecento Aldo Manuzio and other Venetian printers greatly aided the diffusion of humanistic learning by editing and publishing numerous editions of classical texts and modern humanist authors. After 1525 the enthusiasm for the vernacular, encouraged...

  8. II THE INQUISITION
    (pp. 25-62)

    Venetian religion was a complex phenomenon. Redeeming a sinful Republic, worshiping God through church and creed, and obeying the spiritual authority of the pope were sometimes viewed as contradictory, rather than complementary, activities. The operation and staffing of the local church, and Venetian expectations of ecclesiastical officers added further complexity. The discrepancy between the proclaimed Venetian view of state supremacy in religious matters and the pragmatic reality generated controversy. When the Venetians revived the Holy Office at mid-century, all these factors helped to determine the tribunal’s role.

    The Venetians believed that the Republic had been founded with God’s aid, and...

  9. III THE GROWTH OF CENSORSHIP
    (pp. 63-127)

    Censorship is an old question. Italians in the cinquecento considered it against a background of discussion that went back to both classical and Christian antiquity. That censorship is necessary to prevent man from straying from the paths of truth and goodness and that a tribunal is needed to punish the unbeliever are ideas found in ancient Greece. Plato worried that poets might lead men away from the true and good, with resultant harm to individuals and society. The state judged what was good and exercised prepublication censorship to insure that only poetry that praised the good appeared. Plato also held...

  10. IV THE COUNTER REFORMATION IMPLEMENTED
    (pp. 128-161)

    In the 1560s the Italians reached the conclusion that their religious consciences were fundamentally Catholic and that heretics and heretical books should be suppressed. The attempt to implement effective censorship had been slowly gathering momentum since the 1540s. The bookmen had fought skillfully and had achieved notable victories, but they had not been able to hold back the tide of orthodox fervor. After decades of uncertainty, the Italian religious revival emerged strong, unified, and sure of its means and goals. The intense search to discover whether man was saved through faith alone, or by faith that manifested itself through works...

  11. V THE COUNTER REFORMATION ENFORCED
    (pp. 162-181)

    The Republic had halted the printing of prohibited books but had made no provision for the censorship of banned volumes printed abroad. The papacy and Inquisition had a double goal: preventing the importation of foreign contraband and destroying the titles already in the bookstores.

    The Holy Office alone could not deal effectively with foreign books. Its demand in 1558 that the bookmen present inventories of all imported titles had not worked because no control ensured that the bookmen submitted true lists. Moreover, by 1567 northern Protestant publishers had adopted the expedient of prefacing heretical volumes with false title pages and...

  12. VI THE CLANDESTINE BOOK TRADE
    (pp. 182-200)

    The famous preacher Francesco Panigarola (1548–94) expressed the prevailing acceptance of the Counter Reformation by the majority of Italians: the Inquisition and Index guaranteed Italian peace and security in the midst of a world torn by strife.¹ While England, Flanders, and Germany suffered discord and war as a consequence of abandoning the faith, Italy preserved true liberty under the paternal care of the holy inquisitors. Panigarola asked Italians why they would want to read prohibited books, if not to infect themselves with heresy. They would not eat food that the doctor advised against; why, then, would they wish to...

  13. VII VENICE AND ROME PART COMPANY
    (pp. 201-224)

    The Venetians checked the power of the Holy Office in the 1590s. After the important trials of the 1560s, the patriciate and the papacy had agreed on the role of the Holy Office and allotted it an essential place in Venetian life. But in the 1590s, as a result of various economic, political, and ideological stimuli, the patriciate changed its attitude toward the Inquisition, a shift as fundamental as the gradual move to support the tribunal in the 1550s. The leaders of the Republic curtailed the scope of the Holy Office and exerted greater control over its operations to bring...

  14. VIII THE REPUBLIC PROTECTS THE PRESS
    (pp. 225-253)

    Economic differences and jurisdictional militancy spurred the Republic to scrutinize papal attempts to regulate commercial aspects of the press. Beginning in the 1580s, and increasingly in the 1590s, the Republic protected the financial health of the industry by restricting papal copyright claims. As in the 1560s, canonical works became the focal point of disputes.

    In early 1588 the nuncio asked the Senate for a privilegio so that a book previously published in Rome might not be reprinted in Venice without the author’s permission. The Senate denied the request on the grounds that the number of Venetian presses had declined from...

  15. IX THE WANING OF THE INDEX
    (pp. 254-285)

    Inevitably, the Republic’s altered views on ecclesiastical prerogatives and its policy of asserting lay control over the press touched the Index and its enforcement. Although the gap in the records of Inquisition trials for most of the period from 1592 to 1616 renders a judgment tentative, the available information points to increased violation. In contrast to its quiet acceptance of the Tridentine Index thirty years previously, the Republic sharply challenged the terms of the Clementine revision in 1596. Increased conflict marked all phases of censorship in the decade or so before the interdict.

    Possibly more heretical prohibited books entered Venice...

  16. X THE IMPACT OF INDEX AND INQUISITION ON ITALIAN INTELLECTUAL LIFE
    (pp. 286-294)

    Scholars since Burckhardt have agreed that the Counter Reformation destroyed the Renaissance in Italy. At the conclusion of a brief, ecstatic description of the philosophy of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Burckhardt wrote: “Looking at Pico, we can guess at the lofty flight which Italian philosophy would have taken had not the Counter Reformation annihilated the higher spiritual life of the people.”¹ This view has prevailed through De Sanctis, Croce, and others. Discussing the impact of the Index in the second half of the cinquecento, Garin wrote: “Everything vital and new that had been produced during a century and a half...

  17. APPENDIX I DOCUMENTS
    (pp. 295-303)
  18. APPENDIX II INVENTORIES OF PROHIBITED TITLES c. 1555–1604
    (pp. 304-324)
  19. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 325-348)
  20. INDEX
    (pp. 349-374)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 375-375)