This session examines the problematic place of the orders in debate and discourse relating to the divide between heresy and orthodoxy.
The history of medieval inquisition is closely connected to the Dominican Order. At least in scholarly and popular tradition. It is true that several Dominicans played a significant role as inquisitors, but in parts of Northern Europe, such as Great Britain and Scandinavia, a report on ‘Dominican Inquisition’ turns out extremely thin. My paper will present an introduction to Dominican participation in the inquisition in general and its treatment in later Dominican history writing, followed by examples of Dominican inquisitors from different regions of Northern Europe, ending with an attempt to figure out why a widespread, post-medieval expectation of Dominican Inquisition in, say, Scandinavia finds so little support in the actual evidence.
The paper deals with the figures of heretics and saints in the hagiography, in the preaching and in the polemic writings of the Franciscan and Dominican authors (chiefly Italians) in the course of 13th-15th centuries. It examines the ways of displaying the figures of both the saint and heretic: How the miracle and vision become the distinctive feature of the saints as opposed to the heretics; what are the criteria of falsa sanctitas held against heretics; what are the major attributes of saints preaching against heretics (Bernard of Clairvaux, St Dominic) and those of the inquisitor-saint (Peter of Verona); what are the most important arguments by which the mendicants stigmatized the alternative types of ‘popular’ sainthood (Guglielma of Bohemia, Armanno Pungilupo). It is also to be surveyed how the antagonism of the orthodoxy and the heterodoxy is emphasized in the dialogues against the fraticelli (James of the Marche, Manfredo of Vercelli) and the hagiography, e.g., through the exalting of personality of Bernardino of Siena.
In 1318, Pope John XXII ordered the remains of the Spiritual Franciscan Peter Olivi burned and thrown into the Rhône. A hundred years later, copies of Olivi’s works were in the hands of Observant Franciscan inquisitors Bernardino of Siena and Giovanni of Capestrano, both assiduous collectors of heretical texts. The use they made of those texts was perhaps less than orthodox: Bernardino himself copied Olivi’s spiritual treatises into the collection of texts he used to prepare his sermons, and Giovanni’s copies (which he himself clearly marked as ‘heretical’) were among the precious manuscripts with him at his death in Hungary in 1456. This paper will explore Bernardino and Giovanni’s use of Olivi’s texts and the blurring of the fine line between heresy and orthodoxy.