Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Between Text and Orality, Between Legend and Doctrine: The Model Sermon in Dominican Preaching and the System of Communication Established in the Thirteenth Century

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2019), 96, (10), 1043–1058.

Abstract

Stories of the saints are set between the divine and the human, between transcendence and reality and between eternity and the momentary. They are crucial for medieval culture, for the transmission of the traditions of the cult, and they are the essence of religion. The thirteenth-century Latin texts written for Dominican preachers were composed according to the Scholastic method and incorporated elements of the saints’ stories. Some collections of model sermons, by different authors but directed at different auditors, explicitly or implicitly enable us to grasp the varied modulations possible in one subject. Two different compilations exist of De sanctis, the sermons by Iacopo de Voragine (1228–1298), one for the brothers of the order, and the other for preachers generally. They enable us to grasp the dynamics of the Dominican system of communication established in the thirteenth century, especially when important saints – Francis, Dominic, Peter martyr – are examined, and also the doctrinal content that was important for religion in the society of the time.

Las vidas de santos se debaten entre lo divino y lo humano, entre la trascendencia y la realidad, entre la eternidad y el momento. Son parte fundamental de la cultura del medievo, por transmitir las tradiciones devocionales y por ser la esencia misma de la religión. En el siglo XIII, los textos latinos escritos para los predicadores dominicos seguían el método escolástico e incorporaban elementos hagiográficos. Ciertas colecciones de sermones modelo, de diferentes autores y dirigidas a diversas audiencias, nos permiten distinguir, de manera explícita o implícita, los distintos matices posibles dentro de un mismo tema. Existen dos compilaciones de De sanctis, los sermones de Jacobo de Vorágine (1228–1298); una está pensada para sus hermanos dominicos y la otra para predicadores en general. Ambas nos permiten descifrar las dinámicas del sistema comunicativo dominico en el siglo XIII, sobre todo cuando aparecen figuras importantes del santoral (como San Francisco, Santo Domingo o San Pedro Mártir). De esta manera, se pueden vislumbrar los contenidos doctrinales que eran más relevantes en los ámbitos religiosos de aquella sociedad.

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Maggioni, Giovanni Paolo