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Two Churches

Two Churches: England and Italy in the Thirteenth Century

Robert Brentano
Copyright Date: 1988
Edition: 1
Pages: 432
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  • Book Info
    Two Churches
    Book Description:

    With an additional essay by the Author.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-90845-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xviii)
  5. Illustrations and Maps
    (pp. xix-2)
    (pp. 3-61)

    In November 1237, as heavy winds blew and black towerlike clouds formed and the planets were said to be gathering together under the sign of Capricorn, the cardinal legate Otto sat on a high seat raised in the west end of Saint Paul’s in London and presided over a council of the church in England. The prelates of England, tired and peeved by the winter roads and the legate’s insistence, gathered together around and beneath the cardinal’s throne.¹ It was, in the long run of the century, a remarkably, a surprisingly, successful council. The legate preached from the text “And...

    (pp. 62-173)

    The distance between, the separation of, the thirteenth-century Italian and English churches is quickly and graphically exposed in the difference between the shapes and patterns of their dioceses and provinces. The principles of cohesion in the province of Canterbury and the province of Benevento, or of Amalfi, were quite clearly different. The northern church was defined, territorial, administrative, composed of contiguous, variously colored areas on a map. The southern church was distracted, unformed, a church of cult centers and extended cities, a map of dots and rayed lines, of indeterminate and unimportant borders, a pointillist affair of shrines and colleges...

  8. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 174-237)

    Saint Philip Benizi, flaming with love, wanted not to be a bishop. Scenes of his rejecting the authority that might corrupt him are verbally and visually familiar. In story he flees from the popularity of Florence. In sculpture he rejects the honor that has failed to tempt him, in dramatic movement admirably suited to the Baroque, as on the facade of San Marcello on the Corso in Rome. Philip was a man devoted to holy places and sacred images, Mass at Carfaggio, the crucifix at Fiesole. As he lay mortally ill, he cried to his followers, “Bring me my book!...

    (pp. 238-290)

    By the beginning of the thirteenth century western monasticism had, for the most part, ended that recent flight into enthusiasm which is its glory. The age of Anselm, Bernard, and Ailred was clearly past. Its English and Italian lingerers at end-century—Hugh of Avalon, escaped to his great diocese, and Joachim of Flora, to his apocalyptic Sila—seem more to prophesy future nonmonastic than to remember past monastic greatness. The monasteries themselves seem to have been trying to find again their old place in society, to be again, as Orderic’s Conqueror had called them, fortresses of prayer. Ancient gifts paid...

    (pp. 291-345)

    Ecclesiastical documents—the distillation, the crystallization, of their dioceses, or monasteries, or churches—lie in hundreds and thousands of Italian armadios, in sacristies and bishops’ palaces, in secluded rural monasteries, in theconventi soppressifonds of state archives.¹ Archives are complicated and peculiarly verbal physical remains. They are promising archaeological digs, dumps of documents articulate at various levels and in various directions. The document in the archives is a live connection with the past; it pierces the past’s crust. It talks directly of the society that produced and preserved it. Italian documents say very different things from English ones. The...

    (pp. 346-352)

    The two contrasting churches that have been built in this book are not meant to be fixed and permanent structures. Like temporary festa altars, they are for a time and a place; and there is about them some of the deliberate hyperbole of impermanence. They are meant to expose the thirteenth-century church without pretending that they expose it more effectively than other comparisons and other approaches could, than would, for example, a comparison of Benedictine and Franciscan, of monk and friar. Religious order constantly cuts across these churches even as they stand. It does in the comparison of Salimbene with...

    (pp. 353-380)

    I wrote the third chapter (“Bishops and Saints”) ofTwo Churcheson the Via di Villa Ruffo in Rome during the summer of 1964. I wrote it at Eric Bercovici’s big desk in a bay window looking out over the north flank of Santa Maria del Popolo and (like a barbarian on the Pincio) looking into the city. The room in which I wrote, a bedroom, was extraordinarily pleasant. Its other windows looked into the park of the Villa Borghese at the level of the trees’ branches and beyond them of the internal roads of the park, so that the...

  14. INDEX
    (pp. 381-400)