XXVII (2006)

Alberigo, G., In memoriam Vittorio Peri, XXVII, 1-8.

The note in memory of V. Peri (Gorizia 1932 – Rome 2006) reviews the scientific contribution of a scholar who had strong connections with the ≪Centro di documentazione di Bologna≫ (≪Bologna Documentation Centre≫) since its early days. Scriptor graecus of the Vatican Apostolic Library, Peri presented papers of the highest quality on the relationship between the Western and Eastern Christian traditions, on the history of the Councils, on the history of ecclesiology and on the missionary activities of the Catholic Church in Russia. His ecumenical commitment was also evident from his participation in the joint Catholic-Orthodox commission of 1979 and in the various initiatives of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity.

Melloni A., Il martirio volontario e le sue interpretazioni: un’introduzione, XXVII, 9-16.

In this introduction I set out the working hypothesis of this volume, in the knowledge of venturing into an area made incandescent by the ≪fact≫ that the most famous suicide attacks are today carried out in the name of Islam. In reality, ever since Sampson, all sacred texts of the Abrahamic monotheisms have warned against an abuse of God by those who may wish to combine death with an attempt to please him, or to mix the blood of the victim and his killer, the most extreme of impurities.

Sonnet J.-P.- Wénin A., La morte di Sansone: Dio benedice l’attentato suicida? Sulla necessità di leggere meglio, XXVII, 17-30.

Can the suicide attack have originated with Samson, who killed a crowd of enemies, Philistine oppressors of Israel, along with himself? In one narrative reading of Samson’s death, the authors examine the motivation for the power of this hero. Is this force inherent in Samson’s hair? Is it the fulfilment of the prayer of the Judge? Nothing is explicit on this subject. There is a third way: could it be Samson’s raw force, reinforced by his desire of vengeance, that brought down the Philistine temple? What collapsed with Samson is the system of the Judge, which degenerates into a caricature of itself. The Bible doesn’t only offer models to imitate, it also presents the reader with a certain number of counterfeits of humanity, so that one can learn how to flush them out when they show up in reality.

van Henten J.W. – Avemarie F., Martirio e morte nobile nel giudaismo e nelle fonti dell’antico ebraismo ellenistico, XXVII, 31-65.

The article provides an overview of the main sources for the history of martyrdom in the Hebrew literature of the Hellenistic and Medieval epoch, briefly examining the main characteristics of the texts and offering translations for some of them. The cases examined are l, 2 and 4 Maccabees, Daniel, Philo, Josephus Flavius, the martyrdom of Yose ben Yo’ezer, of Pappus and Lulianus, of Miriam bat Tanhum and her seven children, of R. Aqiva and R. Hanina ben Teradion, of R. Shim’on and R. Yshma’el, and the binding of Isaac.

Falcetta A., From Jesus to Polycarp: Reflections on the Origins of Christian Martyrdom, XXVII, 67-98.

The motifs of the suffering righteous and of the violent death of the prophets were used by Jesus’ disciples to interpret the death of their master. Matthew employed these themes in order to criticise Christian preachers seeking prestigious titles (Matt 23:8-10). By appointing Jesus as the only teacher (Matt 23:8), he tells them that they should not expect a better fate than persecution and death. This line of thought was developed by Ignatius of Antioch, the first Christian writer who elaborated the idea of martyrdom by claiming that persecution and death are not a risk to be taken into account, but a privileged form of being disciples of the only teacher. He also claims martyrdom to be an anti-docetic proof. The author of the Martyrdom of Polycarp continues the reflection in Ignatius by maintaining that a ≪martyr≫ is an anti-docetic witness to the reality of Jesus’ death, but he also stresses that martyrdom is legitimate only if follows Jesus’ model.

Birley A.R., Voluntary Martyrs in the Early Church: Heroes or Heretics?, XXVII, 99- 127.

The persecutions did not proliferate because the Roman state actively hunted down Christians. Rather, envy and xenophobia created anti-Christian feeling and Christians were blamed for natural disasters since their refusal to make traditional offerings angered the goods. However, some Christians, notably the Montanists, actively sought a martyr’s death by provoking their pagan neighbours. Such conduct contributed to the increase in persecution; it was denounced by most bishops.

Kohlberg E., Shahīd: A Framework on Islamic Martyrdom, XXVII, 129-142.

This article deals briefly with the following issues relating to Islamic martyrdom: the origins of the concept of shahada; the conditions for becoming a battlefield martyr and the burial rites accorded to them; the category of ≪martyrs in the next world only≫; theological discussions of martyrdom.

Brundage J.A., Voluntary Martyrs and Canon Law. The Case of the First Crusade, XXVII, 143-160.

The notion that soldiers who died in battle while defending the Church’s interests against non-Christians could legitimately be considered martyrs began to creep into the mainstream of theological and canonistic speculation during the eleventhcentury Church reform movement. Contemporary descriptions of fallen crusaders as martyrs that became common during the twelfth century doubtless reflected popular beliefs about the matter. Canonists, however, found such beliefs uncongenial and steadfastly refused to give them legal sanction. Their reluctance presumably helps to account for the extreme scarcity of approved cults of crusading martyrs in the calendar of the saints.

Evangelisti P., Martirio volontario ed ideologia della Crociata. Formazione e irradiazione dei modelli francescani a partire dalle matrici altomedievali, XXVII, 161-248.

The different forms of Franciscan martyrdom – matured through the distillation of Minorite practice, comments on the Order and biographies of Francis, and made real historically in the late Middle Ages – are analysed after having examined the codification of martyrdom in Graziano’s Decretum and in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. They are then considered in the light of two fundamental moments in the history of self-sacrifice in the Early Middle Ages: the case of Boniface, martyred in Friesland (8th c.), and that of the martyrs of Cordoba (IX c.). Between the testimony of the Franciscan martyrs and those of the Early Middle Ages, in particular the Cordoba martyrs, there are elements of differentiation and points of contact which the author illustrates in detail. The value and the use of the instrument of martyrdom in the Franciscan context registers an ulterior connection with the discourse relating to martyrs from previous centuries thanks to the resolute appropriation of that virtus of martyrdom codified by Graziano in the Decretum, when he exalts Andrew’s sacrificial choice. The power of the patientia, which lays the foundations for the capacity of spiritually fight the enemy, is a founding element in the confrontation and in the disputatio engaged in by a very long line of Franciscan witnesses of the faith. This particular declination of patientia is worth much more than the physical capacity of resistance which was associated with the martyrs of ancient times. It is projected beyond the martyr and beyond death: it is intellectual strength that is married to resoluteness, and with humility and the science of modestia, it is useful for discerning the nature of and time for action. It is a virtus founded on the awareness that the affirmation of faith requires an adequate cultural background and knowledge of the enemy, ever he may be.

El-Bizri N., Being-Towards-Death. On Martyrdom and Islam, XXVII, 249-279.

This chapter examines the philosophical perspectives that are adopted in attempting to address the question of martyrdom with reference to monotheism in general and Islam in particular. Multiple analytical and critical approaches are implemented in the investigation of phenomena associated with this uneasy matter, while at the same time the conceptual difficulties and challenges that must be confronted when considering the existential privation entailed by death, and more specifically by martyrdom, with its complex ethical and political implications, are highlighted. This line of inquiry proceeds by way of examining the etymological dimensions underlying the notion of martyrdom, followed by reflections on selected textual fragments from the religious canonical sources, along with the articulation of ontological outlooks on mortality and its temporal horizon. It goes on to account, in theory and practice, for the ideological, societal, and geopolitical contexts of the use of violence, and the mediation of the concrete realities of aggression.

Parola A., «È l’anima che muove la macchina-uomo»: soldati, patrioti, eroi nella psicologia militare di p. Agostino Gemelli,XXVII, 281-300.

Considered to be a discipline applied in the second half of the twentieth century, military psychology drew much of the motivation for its development and application from the first world war. In Italy, in particular, it was the military chaplains, reintroduced by General Cadorna, commander of the national army, that carried out the task of supporting and providing psychological help for fighting units. We have padre Agostino Gemelli, a medical lieutenant in the territorial militia, to thank for a scientific study of soldiers which was aimed at understanding their nature and maximising their will to fight and to voluntarily sacrifice themselves. His essays on military psychology, published in 1917, are read today with appalled interest because of its unscrupulous use of religion as an adhesive between a soldier’s soul and his love of his homeland, almost as if it were an instrumentum belli. In fact according to Gemelli, it is thanks to faith that soldiers find the basis for their actions, beyond their enthusiasm for the right and sacred cause, their heroic courage, and their patriotic sentiment.

Melloni A., Il «martirio volontario» nel Novecento, XXVII, 301-318.

The article reviews the course of voluntary martyrdom in the twentieth century, a time when religious and political terminologies were continuously exchanged: the idea of giving up your life to attract public dishonour onto your persecutor was used by the suffragettes in England and then, above all, in the United States. After the Great War, in which the extortion to voluntary martyrdom was represented through propaganda, the phenomenon of suicide soldiers appears more evidently in the formations of Japanese kamikaze than in other corps of other armies. That mix of imperialist ideology and of the ancient sense of the Emperor’s honour will remain a paradigm more adapted to the exotic, one which cannot be applied to later phenomena such as the self-immolation of monks in Vietnam, or to the pacifists that killed themselves in the same way in the youth uprising in the United States, or to occupied Czechoslovakia. The issue became more significant when, gradually, willingness to die puts the lives of others in danger, or is used to destructive effect as it was in Israel and Lebanon, at the very moment in which the “innocent” hungerstrike of the Irish guerrillas in Ulster stirred up much moral discussion. Practised in Sri Lanka, suicide attacks against military or civil targets would become mainstream, becoming an apparently sure way of making an impact.

Campanini M., The Party of God (Hizbullāh): Islamic Opposition and Martyrdom in Contemporary Imamite Shiism, XXVII, 319-334.

In contemporary times Shiism has discovered a new political vocation at odds with the traditional Shiite political outlook. It is not, therefore, surprising that a Shiite party, the Hezbollah or Party of God, was created in reaction to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. The Hezbollah also chose to fight its enemies through voluntary martyrdom in the name of the imam Hussein and for the sake of liberation and justice, though the targets were always and only military. Although the idea of martyrdom is rooted in Shiism, Hezbollah’s resort to it was instrumental. In fact, after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, martyrdom operations were suspended and Hezbollah has been fully engaged in Lebanese political and parliamentary life.

Melloni A., Nota bibliografica sul martirio volontario, XXVII, 335-364.

The article meticulously reviews the scientific and quasi-scientific literature on the theme and illustrates the effort made to dismiss and exorcise a fact of great importance

Ruggieri G., I sinodi fra storia e teologia, XXVII, 365-392.

The essay intends to analyse the principal changes which historic research on synods and councils give to the concept of the Church throughout history. As the Church is a communion, synods were not just simple tools for governing the Church, but they were an ordinary way for shaping consensus in it. Even if the historical process of the institutionalization of the synods in the second century is still not clear, it is undeniable that there were moments of manifestation of the whole Church at its different levels (local, regional, universal). But the history of the synods shows above all how the shaping of the consensus of the Church, the agreement between “others” made by the Holy Spirit, is the delicate nerve of the mystery of communio.

Tasca F., Il Super unum ex quattuor di Pietro Cantore ed i primi valdesi. Proposta di rilettura, XXVII, 393-416.

The article examines the biblical citations which the Super unum ex quattuor, written in the last decades of the Twelfth Century by the renowned Parisian magister, Pietro Cantore, uses in relation to the first Waldenses. This scriptural inquiry into the still unpublished evangelical commentary produces two outcomes. Above all, it definitively tones down the strong anti-hierarchical hues which Philippe Buc, in his 1993 work, had emphasized in the exegetic source. Moreover, it relocates into a completely intra-ecclesiastic context the most authentic meaning of the insertion of Luke 19, 40, the dense biblical passage which Pietro Cantore strategically attributes to the preaching of the Lugdunenses.

Decaluwe M., A new and disputable text-edition of the decree Haec sancta of the council of Constance (1415), XXVII, 417-446.

Giuseppe Alberigo has shown that only an interpretation of the decree Haec sancta that “stays close to the text” can be convincing. It is therefore necessary to have a reliable edition of the decree. Neither the Haec sancta-edition in Mansi nor the edition in the COD can be considered trustworthy. In this article we try to come to an edition that might be considered more reliable not just because a number of manuscripts were used that were not used for previous editions, but also because it is the result of a known reasoning and is therefore more easily disputed.

Quaghebeur T., In luce et in theatro totius orbis: The unsuccessful condemnation of De Dominis by the Theological Faculty of Louvain 1616-1624), XXVII, 447-470.

When, in the early 17th century, the apostate archbishop of Split, Marcus Antonio de Dominis, published his De republica ecclesiastica, the Faculty of Theology at Louvain was put under pressure by the Holy See to take a stand in the controversy on the primacy of the Church of Rome. The Faculty was initially rather hesitant. Rome started to lose its patience with the inertia of the Louvain theologians. De Dominis’ retraction of his own acts and writings saved the Faculty of Louvain. With a sigh of relief, the Faculty was able to suspend the censure so much requested by Rome.

Losito G., «De la valeur historique du dogme» (1905). L’epilogo del confronto di Maurice Blondel con lo storicismo critico di Loisy, XXVII, 471-511.

An array of unpublished documents allows the reconstruction of a lively debate triggered off by an article by Louis Venard, which was published anonymously in the “Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique” (1904) and which offered Maurice Blondel the opportunity to get even with Loisy’s critical “historicism”. Supported by his friend, François Mourret, Blondel was able to publish in the following issue of the review (1905) a contribution in which he recognized the legitimate need for the historical-critical approach to the Bible and the results it had achieved. However, on the basis of a conception of the historical super-natural, Blondel asserted that the living tradition (resulting from a synergy between the development of the beliefs of the faithful, their philosophical formulation, and the definitive judgement of the doctrinal authorities) could legitimately affirm the historicity of Catholic dogmas as well as those which were not historically-verifiable. Blondel’s thesis would have been approved of by two important figures in French Catholicism, B. Allo O.P. And X-M. Le Bachelet S.J.; but it was to provoke the condemnation of the review’s editors, who saw in it an implied surrender to irrational voluntarism with regard to the theology of the act of faith, and so it had to be reformulated. If on the basis of successive developments in the historical epistemology and Catholic theology of the 20th century, Blondel’s theses appeared to be too demanding with regard to the contribution that the history of Christianity can expect from the ecclesiastical tradition, they seemed to be fully confirmed from the point of view of a theology of the act of faith which is no longer rigidly rationalistic and authoritarian. The success of this intellectual audacity and of Blondel’s sense of ecclesiastical belonging constitute an important legacy of the troubled modernist crisis.

Lanne E., Il ruolo del monastero di Chevetogne al Concilio Vaticano II, XXVII, 513-546.

The role of the monastery of Chevetogne began long before the council in the friendship between Dom Lambert Beauduin and the nuncio Roncalli, then in the “ecumenical days” conceived by Clement Lialine and Olivier Rousseau with Charles Moeller. During the preparation for the council Thomas Becquet was engaged in the Eastern Commission and Pierre Dumont in the Secretariat of Bea. During the council Rousseau created the French language press office and worked closely with the Melkite episcopate. Emmanuel Lanne was in the drafting group for the Decree on ecumenism for 2 and 14-18.

Lehmann L., Una nuova impresa sulla letteratura francescana, XXVII, 547-598.

The author presents the first two volumes of ≪Franciscan Literature≫, a new edition of original texts planed in four volumes. The first one contains the writings of St. Francis and St. Clare in a new manner of disposition, with the Latin text on the left and a new Italian translation on the right side. The long introduction to this volume, written by C. Leonardi, stresses the religious, even the mystical motivation of the options of Francis and Clare, criticizing those who have seen in Francis option for the poor a social or political choice, and in Clare only a shadow of Francis or, on the opposite side, a forerunner of feminists. Apart from some exaggerations in his critic, the expert in mystical writings succeeds in presenting the two saints of Assisi in a convincing manner. Of special value is the detailed comment of D. Solvi to every writing of Francis and Clare with many references to other studies. The second volume offers the two first official hagiographies in the order: the Life of Francis written by Thomas of Celano (1229/30) and the Rhymed Office composed by Julian of Speyer (1235). Beside of these elaborated compositions there are some simple pieces of the tradition of the Companions and the ≪first history of the order≫ attributed to John of Perugia. Leonardi exalts the hagiographical and historical value of Celano’s work against those who qualified it as a copy of preceding legends. Also in this second volume we find an exhaustive historical and spiritual comment of D. Solvi. The critical review of these two beautiful books indicates the strong and the weak sides of the prestigious enterprise and points to other bibliography omitted by the two Italian researchers.

Porat D., Tears, Protocols and Actions in a Wartime Triangle: Pius XII, Roncalli and Barlas, XXVII, 599-632.

During the Holocaust, when the Apostolic Delegate Monsignor Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (later Pope John XXIII) was stationed in Istanbul, he generously cooperated with Chaim Barlas, head of the rescue delegation of the Hebrew community in what would become the state of Israel, in order to save as many Jews as possible. Barlas’ archive, kept in private hands in Israel, shows that Roncalli held an intense correspondence with the Vatican and its various offices, constantly warning the Holy See and urging it to act. It shows that in his conversations with Barlas, Roncalli expressed – albeit delicately – his criticism of Pope Pius XII’s response to the Holocaust, and that in all probability Roncalli was the first to send to Rome the “Auschwitz Protocols”, which he had received from Barlas.

Bonamente G., Costantino santo, XXVII, 735-769.

Constantine, buried at the centre of the memorial steles of the Apostles in Constantinople, is an example of continuity between the relatio in numerum divorum of the emperors and the sanctification of a Christian emperor. However, the substantial difference between the institutions of deification and sanctification emerged over the course of a few decades and was denounced by both John Chrysostom and the Chronicon of St. Jerome. Nevertheless. during the same period, St. Ambrose found a different and stronger doctrinal foundation to confirm Constantine’s sainthood in making him the guarantor of the Nicene Creed.

Aimone Braida P.V., Le peculiarità dell’elezione del papa nella dottrina di taluni canonisti del XIII secolo, in particolare di Guilelmus Durantis, XXVII, 771-820.

The procedures for the election of Roman Pontiff have undergone changes through-out the second millennium. Already in the 13th century canonists discussed some questions about the right and appropriate procedure for this important action in the life of the Catholic Church. And from the time of 13th century certain rules were established (the college of cardinals as the body to elect the Pope, in conclave, and with a two third majority) which will remain valid until the end of the second millennium and still continue in the third millennium. This paper introduces, analyses and presents observations formulated about the papal election in the second half of 13th century by a canonist and liturgist of this time, Guilelmus Durantis, bishop of Mende.

Marchesi F., Il regolamento ecclesiastico di Pietro il Grande: dalla sinfonia alla chiesa di Stato, XXVII, 821-860.

In the last two hundred years of the Tsarist Empire, the Russian Orthodox Church assumed the modern face of an establishment Church. The central moment of this change can be identified during the rule of Peter the Great, and more precisely, in the drawing up of his Ecclesiastical Regulations. Peter’s reforms, which laid the foundations for construction of the new Russian state, were the end for the ancient Romano-Christian ideal. The transformation of Russia was matched step for step by the ecclesiastical reforms, marking the end of the complex symphonic dialectic and bringing about the subjection of the Church to the secular authorities. This article, which focuses on the Ecclesiastical Regulations, limits itself to a juridical approach in order to better understand the actual significance of this decisive phase characterized by the reforming Tsar.

Pieraccini P., Il ristabilimento del patriarcato latino di Gerusalemme (1842-1851), XXVII, 861-896.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem was restored following the general tendency of the Holy See to exert firmer control over the mission territories, the institutional crisis regarding the Custody of the Holy Land, and Pius X’s new policy towards the Christian orient and the French protectorate. The canonical legislation promulgated to define the respective jurisdictions of the Patriarchate and the Custody proved to be inadequate and imprecise, which weakened opposition to the restoration on the part of the Franciscans, who were determined to maintain the privileges they had acquired during the centuries of their administration of the mission and Holy Places of Palestine. In 1851 the Holy See improved the juridical norms for the rule of the diocese of Jerusalem, though without managing to placate the controversies.

Trimbur D., Les Croisades dans la perception catholique française du Levant, 1880-1940: entre mémoire et actualité, XXVII, 897-922.

The paper intends to show how the topic of the Crusades, in a broad sense, was used from the 1880’s until the 1940’s in French discourse regarding the Levant and policy towards it. It concentrates on the Catholic perception, this being the most relevant from a French point of view. It deals with the broader Middle East (Palestine and Syria-Lebanon, as well as Egypt), analysing the discourse of the main personalities involved in the field: politicians, diplomats, clerics, writers, and members of the French Levant-pressure groups concerned with the region. The article shows how in France or on its territory, such people made use of this theme both as an appeal to and a reminder of French traditions in the region and as a potential or actual political program. The ≪pacific crusades≫, a revival of the French pilgrimages in the 1880’s and  always present in French considerations relative to the region, are almost as much a part of the French agenda as the ≪real crusades≫ just before and at the beginning of the French mandate on Syria and Lebanon, in line with the renewal of the spirit of the crusades at the heart of the French presence in the Middle East.

Regoliosi M., Cristianesimo e potere. A margine di un recente studio su «La donazione di Costantino», XXVII, 923-940.

Following a new volume by G.M Vian on the ≪Donation of Constantine≫, the contribution aims to highlight the demonstrative seriousness and the religious and theological motivations of Lorenzo Valla’s De falso credita et ementita Constantini donatione, the most famous text in the historiographical debate regarding the authenticity of the so-called ≪donation≫. Its importance seems to have been minimised in Vian’s essay, whereas, on the contrary, Valla’s work represents one of the fundamental steps both in the unmasking of the falsity of this pseudo-document and in the denunciation of temporalism of the Church of Christ in history.