Jews and Judaism in the Rhetoric of Popular Preachers: The Florentine Sermons of Giovanni Dominici (1356-1419) and Bernardino da Siena (1380-1444)

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Abstract

The article deals with the perceptions of Judaism of Savonarola's most important predecessors, the Dominican preacher Giovanni Dominici and the Franciscan preacher Bernardino da Siena, who were active in fifteenth century Florence. These preachers offer two distinct models of mendicant preaching regarding the Jews: Dominici based his views on theological arguments, while Bernardino focused on contemporary Jewish moneylenders and their destructive dangers. The preachers' opposition to the Jews was grounded in their political ideal of Florentine republic as a purified sacred body where there was no place for polluting outsiders as the Jews. Both preachers succeeded in influencing the fate of the Jews. Dominici might have had a hand in the banishment of Jews from Venice and there is circumstantial and linguistic evidence that he was responsible for the change in Florentine policy against the Jews in the legislation of 1406. Bernardino caused the banishment of Jews from many Italian towns and was responsible for measures taken against them, such as segregation. Both preachers were successful in keeping the Jews out of the city of Florence, although they failed in their attempt to have the Jews expelled from the Florentine territories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-200
Number of pages26
JournalJewish History
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History

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