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Kriminalitat in Rom: 1560-1585.

In response to my essays of last year and the year before, a German scholar wrote me that while he agreed in general with my conclusions about Renaissance studies in his country today, he did not think that scholars were still oriented toward Jacob Burckhardt. As I was meditating on this, Hans Guggisberg's Umgang mit Jacob Burckhardt arrived. One might have expected the Basler student of Werner Kaegi to persist in an orientation that had become passe elsewhere in the German-speaking world, but the authors of the twelve essays in this volume work not only at the universities of Basel and Oxford, but at academies ranging from Berlin and Hamburg to Freiburg im Breisgau - although, it must be added, all but one of these excursions first appeared between 1970 and 1991. Furthermore, Guggisberg and his publishers envision this as the first volume in a series entitled "Beitrage zu Jacob Burckhardt," designed to "stand at the service" of "international Burckhardt research" (7).

The contributors explore not the Renaissance itself but Burckhardt's place among relevant intellectuals of his day. In "Jacob Burckhardt: Wissenschaft - Geschichte - Literature" (11-35), Peter Ganz writes of Burckhardt's growing distance from Leopold von Ranke and his other students in Berlin as the young man sought to define and methodologically grasp cultural history. As he told his own students in 1858, cultural history was the history of the world in [all] its circumstances, as opposed to the works of those historians who tried simply to relate the course of events. Burckhardt sought what was most characteristic of a society's world view, using a gamut of sources that included inscriptions, coins and works of art. In "Jacob Burckhardt's Kultur der Renaissance in Italien: Handwerk und Methode" (37-78), Ganz goes on to explore the emergence of the monumental work on the Renaissance and its author's perception of the movement's embeddedness in the ancient and medieval past as well as the early modern present. In "Kulturgeschichte und die Lehre von den Potenzen: Bemerkungen zu zwei Konzepten Burckhardts und ihrer Weiterentwicklung im 20. Jahrhundert" (87-100), Ernst Schulin gives us a bit of the intellectual history of the first two-thirds of the twentieth century, comparing Burckhardt's concept of the potential within culture to the ideas of such men as Max Weber and Ernst Gombrich. Jorn Rusen ("Jacob Burckhardt: Politischer Standpunkt und historische Einsicht an der Schwelle zur Postmoderne," 101-16) asserts that Burckhardt would regard the processes of modernization as reducing a person's humanity and leading ultimately to catastrophe (106). The creative human spirit lies at the core of Burckhardtian ideals. The Swiss scholar rejected Nietzsche's friendly overtures. Martin Warnke's "Jacob Burckhardt und Karl Marx" (135-58) renews the question as to whether Burckhardt and Marx could have known one another in their student days in Berlin. Burckhardt and Friedrich Engels both heard the lectures of Friedrich Schelling. Burckhardt's and Marx's interests intersected at several points, and Warnke reconstructs their circles. Wolfgang Hardtwig, in "Jacob Burckhardt und Max Weber: Zur Genese und Pathologie der modernen Welt" (159-90), examines the apparently incompatible outlooks of these "antipodes." The former accords self-forming powers to the individual, while the latter subordinates personal inclinations to a higher, rational, ascetic discipline. Guggisberg himself, in "Burckhardt und Huizinga: Zwei Historiker in der Krise ihrer Zeit" (191-213), notes the parallels between these intellectuals. Huizinga regarded the ideas and works of Burckhardt "with great respect and deep understanding" (200). Other articles relate Burckhardt to aspects of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries unconnected to the Renaissance.

It is tragic that Hans Guggisberg, a man of broad expertise and attainment, died just after his retirement. Shortly before his death, he saw the hefty Festschrift in his honor, devoted to the subject of dissent and tolerance. One of Guggisberg's memorable qualities - one that set him apart from many Germanophone academics - was his genuine liking of and respect for accomplished women scholars. In their introduction, the editors note that Guggisberg served as the German editor of the Archive for Reformation History, and they name the two male American editors with whom he cooperated. It is symptomatic of embedded attitudes that they fail to mention Miriam Usher Chrisman, the female American editor with whom he worked harmoniously and affectionately from 1982 through 1986.

This book contains 37 articles by an international authorship in English, French, German and Italian. Of those in German, I have selected five that may be of special interest to readers of the Renaissance Quarterly. In "Gemeinnutz in Basel: Legitimatorische Funktion and ethische Norm" (31-40), Peter Blickle shows how the notion of "the common good" evolved from its strong late medieval link to the preservation of peace to a post-1520 emphasis upon necessary acts that are in compliance with God's command. Susanna Burghartz, in "Das starke Geschlecht und das schwache Fleisch: Erasmus und Zwingli zur Priesterehe" (89-106), compares the humanist's and the reformer's attitudes toward clerical marriage and celibacy. Erasmus highly valued priestly celibacy as a way in which clerics could be free to serve God without familial distraction, but he believed that priests who could not maintain their chastity ought to be allowed to marry. In "'Ex dictamine rationis sapere': Zum Problem der Toleranz im Heiligen Romischen Reich nach dem Augsburger Religionsfrieden" (223-39), Winfried Schulz observes that after 1555 a few exceptional voices defended the idea of tolerance. He discusses in particular Lazarus von Schwendi, Zacharias Geizkofler, and Philipp-Heinrich Hoen. Luise Schorn-Schutte ("Obrigkeitskritik im Luthertum? Anlasse und Rechtfertigungsmuster im ausgehenden 16. und im 17. Jahrhundert," 253-70) finds that Luther and Lutheranism cannot be seen as producing unquestioning obedience of rulers. North German clergy were often openly critical of government. Hans-Jurgen Goertz ("Die 'gemeinen' Taufer: Einfache Bruder und selbstbewusste Schwestern," 289-303) adds to the debate about Anabaptist women's roles. He finds that several women assumed leadership and holds out the example of the prophetess Ursula Jost. He concludes that the Reformation opened opportunities for women to abandon their traditional positions as obedient housewives and to cooperate with men in the formation of their faith, even though many women remained as before. I remain dubious; such exceptions prove rather than disprove the rule.

Two books provide Latin editions and German prose translations of the poetic works of humanists while also reconstructing from sparse sources the lives of their respective authors. Bartholomew of Cologne and Ioannes Nemius were educated in Cologne. The former was a contemporary of Erasmus and taught at Deventer in the school of the Brethren of the Common Life. He was not an inconsiderable figure in his circle even though we have little information about him. Johannes Butzbach and Hermann von dem Busche praised him, and Erasmus acknowledged his gifts, which may have included a knowledge of Greek. He published several Latin poetic works following classical models, and this volume provides two of them.

Ioannes Nemius was two generations younger, taking the bachelor of arts degree in 1538. He too was from the Low Countries and very likely taught at the school of the Brethren of the Common Life in Luttich. He was rector of the grammar schools of Amsterdam and Hertogenbosch. Nemius consciously followed the much-admired pattern of Erasmus.

Apart from the interest that their works will have for specialists, the Renaissance generalist will note that Bartholomew and Ioaness, who were both teachers, wrote out of devotion to the ancients and to pedagogy, desiring to attract their students by simultaneously adding to available teaching materials written in excellent classical Latin. One of Bartholomew's poems is "An Epigram in which Philosophy, with Wonderful Words of Praise, Is Elevated above God, Silver, and Precious Stones" (16-17). Nemius, however, elects a different tack, taking up the very popular tale of the picaresque Till Eulenspiegel and by translating it into Latin under the title Triumphus Humanae Stultitiae, making its use respectable in the sphere of learning. He evidently intends it to amuse, instruct and admonish his charges at the same time. In addition to the Eulenspiegel text, Winkler provides (241-325) a valuable history and critical analysis of the work.

Another admirable Festschrift, Artibus, came to my attention, a work in honor of Dieter Wuttke, who retired from his professorship in medieval and early modern philology at the University of Bamberg. Many of the 15 essays reflect the philological and literary concerns that, as I observed earlier, are a major wellspring of Renaissance scholarship in Germany. Thomas Haben ("Vom Zeugniswert der Uberlieferungstrager: Bemerkungen zum fruhen Nurnberger Fastnachtspiel," 103-33) looks into the authorship and transmission of Nuremberg carnival plays as literary works, a topic dear to Wuttke's heart.(1) Marilia dos Santos Lopes and Peter Hanenberg ("Das antike Erbe und die Welt der Entdeckungen," 151-65) show how German humanists combined reports coming into Europe from the New World with old-fashioned, highly mythologized literature inherited from the classical and medieval traditions. Sebastian Munster's Cosmographia includes more current information with the fabulous tales of Diodorus Siculus and Pliny, for example. Stephan Fussel ("'Dem Drucker aber sage er Dank . . .' Zur wechselseitigen Bereicherung von Buchdruckerkunst und Humanismus," 167-78) repeats what we already know about the close cooperation of humanist authors and printers, using, however, the less well known case of Joachim Vadian. Manfred Scharoun ("Willibald Pirckheimer and Christoph Scheurl: Beobachtungen zur Ambivalenz einer humanistischen Freundschaft im Spannungsfeld der beginnenden Reformation," 179-96) traces the vagaries of a friendship that Scheurl's lower social station hampered from the start. The rising Reformation simply added to their differences. Armin Sieber ("Rhetorik - Topik - Dialektik: Zur Ubernahme rhetorischer Kategorien im ersten deutschen Logiklehrbuch von Ortholph Fuchsperger [1533]," 229-48), gives Fuchsperger credit for translating into the vernacular the rules governing Latin speech, a change generally resisted by the scholarly establishment but demanded by practical necessity. Fuchsperger relied heavily on Philipp Melanchthon's Rhetoric.

The centrality of Melanchthon in sixteenth-century rhetoric is once again visible in Olaf Berwald's Philipp Melanchthons Sicht der Rhetorik. Berwald is a student of Joachim Knape, whose edition of the praeceptor Germaniae's textbook I remarked on last year. Berwald's dissertation is an analysis of Melanchthon's evaluation of the nature and uses of rhetoric, exploring all the humanist-reformer's known expressions on the subject. In Melanchthon's opinion, all studies needed to serve the common good. The educated speaker, imitating the very best of classical and contemporary example, was the "good man," who had it in his capacity to mold the citizenry. Rhetorical incompetence could produce political conflict. From his very first work on rhetoric, De Rhetorica of 1519, Melanchthon drew on the teachings of Aristotle concerning the emotions. Successful rhetoric arouses the emotions of the listeners. For his teachings on exercitatio, Melanchthon was reliant on Quintilian.

In the back of his work, Berwald provides a lengthy bibliography (100-42) of those works of Melanchthon, published during his lifetime, that yield his views on rhetoric. The book ends with a bibliography of secondary and related primary works (143-61).

The important position of the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbuttel becomes evident once again in Girolamo Cardano, another title in the Wolfenbutteler Abhandlungen zur Renaissance-forschung series. These 15 essays come from an international array of scholars writing in four languages, having originated in one of the library's famous "working discussions" - which is to say one of its small conferences on specialized subjects. That most of the collective byproducts subsequently appeared as books cannot help but amaze the North American observer, to whom the funds for such little saleable enterprises have long since been all but lacking. The astronomical prices of these volumes reflect their limited circulation. Cardano (1501-1576), the Italian polymath physician who was barred from practicing because of his illegitimate birth, is the subject of three German contributions included here. In "Krisenbewusststein und Fortschrittsglaubigket in Cardanos De vita propria" (1-10), August Buck, whose position in German Renaissance studies I took up two years ago, writes of individualism and Cardano's motives in recording his own life in an autobiography first published in 1643. Cardano perceived himself to live in an era of crisis and to have been born under an unfavorable constellation, which showed itself in the loss of his son and his trial before the Inquisition. Eckhard Kessler, the editor, in "Alles ist Eines wie der Mensch und das Pferd: Zu Cardanos Naturbegriff" (91-114), studies whether, as Cardano claimed, he actually refuted Aristotle's natural philosophy. One of the physician's fundamental principles, reflected in the title, was that the entities that are presented to our senses are organic wholes, "like the human being and the horse," the single parts of which work together in constituting a unified body (96). Nature itself is a whole, whose causes cannot be entirely penetrated by the human intellect. Kessler sees Cardano's ideas concerning humans' access to natural phenomena to lead "by way of Bacon to the modern concept of a technically oriented natural science" (112). In "Interpretationen zum Liber de ludo aleae" (207-17), Tilman Krischer discusses the mathematical Cardano, and in particular his theory of probability.

Lorenz Boninger's doctoral dissertation, probably again from the field of philology, combines material from the medieval and early modern periods. In quite exhaustive fashion, Boninger treats the age-old question of when knights became members of a legally defined station, what the features of that definition were, and what the relationship of such men was to the emerging and the mature Italian city. While Boninger taps interdisciplinary sources to arrive at his conclusion, he focuses upon the evolution of the word miles and how it is used in extant documents from the tenth to the eighteenth century. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, knighthood became highly politicized. In the struggles between imperial and papal factions, both emperors and popes strategically elevated men to knightly honor - sometimes with lavish dubbing ceremonies - without, however, this preferment's necessarily producing office, wealth or acclaim. Cities caught between the aspirations of these two poles and rightly perceiving in such elevations a claim to sovereignty, often refused to recognize knightly titles unless they chose to confirm them. Humanists lent their classically-influenced literary skills to the composition of validating documents (Urkunden). By the fifteenth century, men like Poggio Bracciolini were drafting elaborate, praise-laden testimonies to knightings in which the evolving concepts of knighthood became visible. Increasingly, the word eques crept in as an alternative to and then a substitute for miles. Boninger devotes a fascinating chapter to the late medieval learned discussion of knighthood, including Leonardo Bruni's De militia (204-209) and Cataldino Boncompagni da Visso's Confutacio voti in assumendo habitum militarem (209-23). There are briefer treatments of the views of Lorenzo Valla, Maffeo Vegio, Flavio Biondo and Francesco Filelfo. The author moves on to summarize northern humanist opinion. The comprehensive bibliography at the back (304-55) befits a German dissertation.

Peter Blastenbrei's "second dissertation" (Habilitationsschrift) on criminality in Rome during the pontificates of Pius IV, Pius V, and Gregory XIII is as thorough as his other work but somehow less pleasing to read. It subjects to statistical analysis (primarily counting and graphing, however) all surviving data from the judicial records of the various Roman courts. We learn an almost endless amount about the categories of crime, including burglary, mugging, highway robbery, assault, murder, and sex crimes of each type. This is useful information, bound to be cited by historical criminologists for years to come. What we do not completely learn is how crime was defined in Counter-Reformation Rome and what these definitions suggest about society as a whole. Blastenbrei attributes sexual attacks on women substantially to the great lack of females in Rome - two-thirds of the residents were male - and hardly at all to prevailing attitudes toward women. He does state, usually in passing, that crime rates rose dramatically under Pius V, who was filled with post-Tridentine disciplinary fervor and was determined to reform his subjects. Guido Ruggiero's approach to crime in The Boundaries of Eros is much more satisfying because it roots violent acts in their cultural milieu.(2)

Augsburg in der Fruhen Neuzeit is a collection of 16 articles, the result of another small conference of invited experts on early modern Augsburg. Many of them deal with the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to which I shall not apply the label "Renaissance." Among the others, Hans-Jorg Kunast presents two contributions that appear to be preliminary parts of a larger undertaking on Augsburg printing and the book-publishing trade. In the first, "Entwicklungslinien des Augsburger Buchdrucks von 1468 bis zum Augsburger Religionsfrieden von 1555" (227-39), he draws inspiration from Miriam Chrisman's Lay Culture, Learned Culture: Books and Social Change in Strasbourg 1480 to 1599.(3) In short compass, he presents statistics as to the numbers and sorts of books published in Augsburg during the same period. For the printers, the years from 1519 to 1530 were a "golden age" (230), before the city council imposed strict censorship. Over 87 percent of all books printed then appeared in the German language. Kunast's second essay, "Augsburg als Knotenpunkt des deutschen und europaischen Buchhandels (1480-1550)" (240-51), is, as the title states, about Augsburg printers' position in the broader field of European book production. The author is able to document the places of origin of many titles imported into Augsburg before 1556 (249-50). The city's printers had strong ties to such publishing centers as Basel, Paris, Venice, and Lyon, quite apart from its German neighbors.

It is too bad that Bernd Roeck's "Kulturelle Beziehungen zwischen Augsburg und Venedig in der Fruhen Neuzeit" (421-34) concentrates on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Nuremberg was very much under Venetian influence by the late fifteenth century, and it is probable that Augsburg was as well. Civilizing influences, in my view, radiated far more northward from Italy, according to Norbert Elias, than from royal courts.

Sergiusz Michalski, in "Atalanta und Augsburg: Zur Ovidrezeption in Augsburg und zu Johann Heinrich Schonfelds Bildern und Zeichnungen fur die Augsburger Rathausausstattung" (403-13), sees in the decoration of the Augsburg city hall a growing affinity for Ovid's Metamorphoses. The story of Atalanta represented to the city fathers their incorruptibility, among other things. In appropriating the ancient writer, they moralized him. Hans Georg Kopp's "'Das reiche Augsburg'? Studien zum Haushalt der freien Reichsstadt Augsburg im 16. Jahrhundert: Die Buchhaltung" (384-403) discusses the adoption of double-entry bookkeeping. It is short on text but provides 16 photographs of books of account.

In my previous reviews, I have commented on the prevailing conservatism of Renaissance studies in Germany. The books and articles above largely confirm this impression. If asked about this quality, most German specialists would probably question in turn whether innovation would help to produce even more superior scholarship. That is one of the issues that many of us grapple with today. Engaging in collegial conversation across disciplinary boundaries does at least provide intellectual excitement. Who is to say what new perspectives we might acquire in the process?


1 Dieter Wuttke, ed., Fastnachtspiele des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1973, 1979).

2 Subtitled Sex Crime and Sexuality in Renaissance Venice (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).

3 Miriam Chrisman, Lay Culture, Learned Culture: Books and Social Change in Strasbourg 1480 to 1599 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1982).
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Author:Karant-Nunn, Susan C.
Publication:Renaissance Quarterly
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Dec 22, 1996
Previous Article:Philipp Melanchthons Sicht der Rhetorik.
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