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The second of the January volumes of the Bollandist critical hagiography known as the Acta Sanctorum was published in 1643 and it included the dossier on the fourteenth-century papal diplomat and Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, St. Peter Thomas O.Carm., compiled by Godfrey Henschen S.J. The dossier was in two parts, the first a critical review by Henschen of previous scholarship on the activity of St. Peter as papal legate and the second an edited transcript of the Life of St. Peter by his associate and friend, Philippe de Mézières, the Chancellor of the Kingdom of Cyprus, as found in the Cronicon Universale of Tierri Pauwels. Identifying the various later accounts of the Life of St. Peter Thomas and, in particular, those accounts by Carmelite authors that sought to represent him in a manner that was not consistent with the account by De Mézières, Henschen argues, for example, that the claim that St. Peter was martyred is inconsistent with the eye-witness acount of the last illness an death of the Saint by De Mézières. The Pauwels text on which Henschen bases his edition of the Life has, in more recent times, been recognised as flawed in some significant ways, and Henschen later revised the critical review that forms the first part of the present manuscript, but the 1643 dossier constitutes, nevertheless, the first truly critical study of the hagiography of St Peter and it continues to be the text that is most frequently mentioned and cited. This is the first English translation and edition of a document that is important, not only from the point of view of historiography, but also from the perspective of the history of the fourteenth-century. As far as possible, the various historical sources and individuals mentioned either in the Life of St. Peter or in the critical review by Henschen have been identified and indexed and notes have been provided to enable the modern reader to appreciate the significance of some obscure points in the text.
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ill.-rstampa anastatica (aprile 2014). The book thus opens with a broad sweep covering the historical and religious environment of the eleventh to thirteenth centuries in 170 pages. It is not unlike that undertaken by, for example, Franco Dal Pino in his history of the Servites and indeed Mosca acknowledges his debt to him, though not to his work on the Servites (p.123, note 92). This chapter concentrates on juridical themes and on the founders and early rules closest to those of the Carmelites (p.140). This sort of synthesis is perhaps the most difficult form of history- writing, but the result is not very satisfactory. Much of it simply summarises the readily available work of others and Mosca constructs a deceptively simple and beguiling view of the medieval church. For example, the role of the papacy is modelled using normative texts without acknowledging the difficulties of implementation (on p.115 he records simply that the “verdict of the papal tribunal could substitute a government, or transfer its power,” as though this would not have been controversial). This section is also marked by an extraordinary absence of women, included only as an afterthought on pages 169-170.
Via Sforza Pallavicini, 10
00193 Roma - Italia
COD. FISC.: 80044650580
PART. IVA: 02117031001
IBAN: IT67 Z076 0103 2000 0001 4069 009
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