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Humanist Taste and Franciscan Values

Cornelio Musso and Catholic Preaching in Sixteenth-Century Italy


Corrie Ellen Norman

Cornelio Musso (1511-1574) has been hailed by his own and subsequent generations as a «Michelangelo of words,» «a modern Demosthenes,» and the «Chrysostom of the Italians» who brought humanist style and rhetoric to bear on Italian preaching. When Musso discussed preaching, however, he emphasized the values of his Franciscan Order. This study describes the influence of the Franciscan preaching tradition and the relationships between the tastes of Musso's humanist culture and the values of his Franciscan heritage in his sermons. It makes the case for emphasizing continuity with the traditions of the medieval preaching orders as well as humanistic innovations for understanding early modern Catholic preaching.