Renaissance and Reformation Cardinal Gasparo Contarini
by
Andrea Vanni
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 November 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0310

Introduction

Gasparo Contarini (1483–1542), the scion of one of the most noble houses of the Republic of Venice, was born on 16 October 1483. After his initial education, he moved to Padua where he deepened his philosophical studies at the university. In September 1520, as ambassador to the court of the Emperor Charles V, he took part in the Diet of Worms. He followed the Emperor to Spain and stayed there until 1525, coming into contact with the “most terrible” Inquisition. From Venice he was sent in May 1528 to Rome as ambassador to Clement VII, with the aim, albeit unsuccessful, of involving the Pope in the League of Cognac against Charles V. The end of the war between France and Spain revealed his gifts for diplomacy: By facilitating Francesco II Sforza’s return to Milan, he ensured that Venice’s Terraferma possessions would not border with those under Spanish control. Between 1530 and 1535, he made a career in his home state: He was Savio of the council, one of the three heads of the Council of Ten, one of the council’s inquisitors, one of the Doge’s six councillors and one of the three officials in charge of the University of Padua. His political line was characterized by prudence and moderation. In 1535 Pope Paul III made him cardinal. He was named head of the commission charged with preparing the council whose work would culminate in the promotion of the document known as Consilium de emendanda ecclesia and, successively but unsuccessfully, in the reform of the apostolic tribunals of the Datary and Penitentiary. In the same period he became close to Reginald Pole and the members of the Ecclesia viterbiensis. In 1538 Paul III sought his presence in Nice, at the signing of the peace treaty between Charles V and Francis I. He returned to Rome via his diocese of Cividale di Belluno, obtained in 1537. In 1540 he expressed himself in favor of the recognition of the Society of Jesus, being an admirer of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises. In 1541 he took part in the Diet of Regensburg: His idea that the rift between Catholics and Protestants could be remedied theologically through the article on double justification was to founder against the dogma of transubstantiation. For having agreed to the Lutherans’ demands, once back in Italy he had to defend himself from accusations of heresy. On 27 January 1542 he was named ambassador to Bologna. Appointed by the Pope to a new peace mission to Charles V, he was unable to go because of an illness. He died on 24 August 1542. Buried in the church of San Procolo in Bologna, his ashes now rest in Santa Maria dell’Orto in Venice.

Contemporary Biographies

Just after Contarini’s death, his brother Tommaso, his nephew Alvise and his friends and collaborators Matteo Dandolo and Lodovico Beccadelli planned the writing of a biography that would promote the reputation of his activities and his works. The major role of his brother, who in the years of the 1550s wanted to restore the figure of Gasparo and, implicitly, the luster of his family, is shown in Fragnito 1978. The most important contemporary biographies of Contarini are Della Casa 1564 and Beccadelli 1799. Brief references to other unpublished biographies are in Cicogna 1827.

  • Beccadelli, Lodovico. “Vita di Monsignor Reverendiss. et Illustriss. Messer Gasparo Contarino, Gentilhuomo Venetiano et Cardinale della S. Romana Chiesa.” In Monumenti di varia letteratura tratti dai manoscritti originali di monsignor Lodovico Beccadelli. Vol. 1, Book 2. Edited by Giovanni Battista Morandi, 9–59. Bologna, Italy: nell’Istituto Nazionale, 1799.

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    Written during the pontificate of Paul IV, when Beccadelli had been sent away from Rome, the biography capitalizes on the direct contact that the author had with Contarini in the role of his secretary from 1535 to 1542 but assumes excessively eulogistic tones when describing the Venetian patrician’s work in composing the Consilium de emendanda ecclesia and his activity at Regensburg.

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  • Cicogna, Emmanuele Antonio. Delle inscrizioni Veneziane. Vol. 2. Venice: Giuseppe Picotti, 1827.

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    See pages 226–241. In this text there are references to Contarini’s funerary honors, written by Romolo Amaseo in 1542, and to other incomplete biographies. It also provides a detailed bibliography, mostly of primary sources.

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  • Della Casa, Giovanni. Gasparis Contareni Vita. In Latina Monimenta. Quorum partium versibus, partim soluta oratione scripta sunt. Edited by Joannis Casae, 89–145. Florientiae: in officina Iuntarum Bernardi Filiorum, 1564.

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    Della Casa probably met Contarini in the 1530s, when they were still in the service of the Republic. The biography, begun in the 1550s and finished by Pietro Vettori, tends to highlight the dedication and loyalty of the cardinal to the Church of Rome. Republished in Contarini 1571 (cited under Gasparis Contareni Opera), which was reprinted in 1968 (Farnborough, UK: Gregg).

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  • Fragnito, Gigliola. Memoria individuale e costruzione biografica. Beccadelli, Della Casa, Vettori alle origini di un mito. Urbino: Argalia Editore, 1978.

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    Includes a brief profile of Gasparo Contarini written by Matteo Dandolo (pp. 173–181).

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Modern Biographies

Gleason 1993 refers to Contarini’s thought and works and his political and ecclesiastical activities. His role as a religion reformer is shown above all in Fragnito 1988. Dittrich 1885 deals with Contarini from a Roman Catholic viewpoint. Fragnito 1983 is an interesting short profile of the cardinal. Cavazzana Romanelli 1988 is a conference proceeding with interesting in-depth analysis.

  • Cavazzana Romanelli, Francesca, ed. Gasparo Contarini e il suo tempo. Atti convegno di studio. Venezia, 1–3 marzo 1985. Venice: Comune di Venezia, Assessorato Affari Istituzionali and Studium Cattolico Veneziano, 1988.

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    A collection of pieces by Giuseppe Alberigo, Gigliola Fragnito, Elisabeth G. Gleason, Alfredo Marranzini, Eugenio Massa, Paolo Prodi, Paolo Ricca, Aldo Stella, and Silvio Tramontin on the figure of Contarini, his philosophical and theological speculations, and his political and religious activity.

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  • Dittrich, Franz. Gasparo Contarini, 1483–1542. Eine Monographie. Braunsberg: Verlag von Huye’s Buchhandlung (Emil Bender), 1885.

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    This is an hagiographical biography published after the collection of Contarini’s correspondence, edited in 1881 by the same Dittrich.

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  • Fragnito, Gigliola. “Gasparo Contarini.” In Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. Vol. 28. Edited by Alberto M. Ghisalberti, 172–192. Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1983.

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    This entry contains an important section on sources and bibliography. Available online.

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  • Fragnito, Gigliola. Gasparo Contarini. Un magistrato veneziano al servizio della cristianità. Florence: Olschki, 1988.

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    A biography (pp. 1–78) of the Venetian patrician followed by four already-published pieces. It pays particular attention to the positions that Contarini took in the sphere of Roman politics.

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  • Gleason, Elisabeth G. Gasparo Contarini. Venice, Rome, and Reform. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

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    A complete biography of the Venetian patrician and rich and contextualized analysis of his works.

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Main Sources

This section, which contains the edited sources on Contarini, useful for investigating his thought and his life, is divided into two subsections: Correspondence and Other Sources.

Correspondence

There’s only one collection of Contarini’s letters, Hendbridge 2008, which is not a collated edition. This subsection is divided in other two subsections referred to the scholar edition of the letters: Political Affairs, Religious Issues, and Regensburg.

  • Hendbridge, Paul, comp. Cardinal Gasparo Contarini. A Collection of His Published Correspondence. Rome: n.p, 2008.

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    A collection of Contarini’s correspondence. This publication is not a scholarly edition nor collated with the original sources, but it might be useful for an initial approach to the topic.

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Political Affairs

In his life, Contarini took part in many political activities at the service of the Republic of Venice, especially as ambassador and member of the government, as shown in Sanuto 1879–1903 and Urbani 1886, and at the service of the Holy See, as shown in Casadei 1960. Most of these tasks are described in his correspondence.

Religious Issues

Letters received and sent by Contarini on general religious issues are in Dittrich 1881, Beccadelli 1799, Friedensburg 1899, Solmi 1904, and Flaminio 1978. Mittarelli and Costadoni 1773, Jedin 1953, and Minnich and Gleason 1989 refer to the correspondence between Contarini and the Camaldolese hermits Vincenzo Querini and Paolo Giustiniani on religious and spiritual themes.

  • Beccadelli, Lodovico. “Lettere del cardinale Gasparo Contarini, e di altri al medesimo sino ad ora inedite, con varie notizie sopra il Colloquio di Vormazia, la Dieta di Ratisbona, e la Legazione di Bologna.” In Monumenti di varia letteratura tratti dai manoscritti originali di monsignor Lodovico Beccadelli. Vol. 1, Book 2. Edited by Giovanni Battista Morandi, 61–216. Bologna, Italy: nell’Istituto Nazionale, 1799.

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    The letters of Contarini, dated between 1537 and 1542, are on pages 61–110, 122–125, 127–138, 146–150, 162–190, and 199–216.

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  • Dittrich, Franz. Regesten und Briefe des Cardinals Gasparo Contarini (1483–1542). Braunsberg: Verlag von Huye’s Buchhandlung (Emil Bender), 1881.

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    Correspondence on different topics between Contarini and various recipients. The letters, dated between 1521 and 1542 are on pages 252–270, 277–279, 288–290, 294–304, 309–325, 326–353, and 363–370.

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  • Flaminio, Marcantonio. Lettere. Edited by Alessandro Pastore. Rome: Edizioni dell’Ateneo & Bizzarri, 1978.

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    Correspondence between Flaminio and Contarini from between 1536 and 1542. The letters to Contarini are on pages 22–25, 26–30, 31–33, 38–39, 40–41, 42–43, 44–45, 46–47, 48–49, 56–57, 63–68, 69–73, 74, 91–92, 95, 98–100, and 123.

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  • Friedensburg, Walter. “Der Briefwechsel Gasparo Contarini mit Ercole Gonzaga.” Quellen und Forschungen aus Italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken 2 (1899): 161–222.

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    Correspondence on different topics between Contarini and Ercole Gonzaga from between 1535 and 1542. The letters are on pages 164–222.

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  • Jedin, Hubert. “Contarini und Camaldoli.” Archivio italiano per la storia della pietà II (1953): 59–118.

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    Letters and documents on the relations between Contarini and the representatives of the Camaldolese order.

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  • Minnich, Nelson H., and Elisabeth G. Gleason. “Vocational Choices: An Unknown Letter of Pietro Querini to Gasparo Contarini and Niccolò Tiepolo (April, 1512).” Catholic Historical Review 75 (1989): 1–20.

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    Publication of a letter in which Pietro Querini explained to Contarini and Tiepolo the reasons for his vocation.

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  • Mittarelli, Gianbenedetto, and Anselmo Costadoni, eds. Annales Camaldulenses ordinis Sancti Benedicti. Vol. 9. Venetiis aere Monasterii Sancti Michaelis de Muriano: prostant apud Johannes Baptistam Pasquali, 1773.

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    The letters on the vocation of Giustiniani and Querini are on cols. 520–524, 539–563, and 589–594.

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  • Solmi, Edmondo. “Lettere inedite del cardinale Gasparo Contarini nel carteggio del cardinale Ercole Gonzaga.” Nuovo Archivio veneto new series, 7 (1904): 245–274.

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    Integration of Friedensburg’s work with the publication of the correspondence from 1535–1542 between Contarini and Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga. The letters are on pages 248–274.

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Regensburg

Contarini had a primary role in the attempt to find an agreement between Catholics and Protestants during the Colloquy of Regensburg in 1541. Pastor 1880, Schultze 1878–1879, and Solmi 1907 refer on Contarini’s correspondence concerning this meeting. Querini 1744–1757 contains letters and documents regarding Contarini’s activities at Regensburg.

  • Pastor, Ludivig von. “Die Correspondenz des Cardinals Contarini während seiner deutschen Legation (1541).” Historisches Jahrbuch der Görres-Gesellschaft 1 (1880): 321–392, 473–501.

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    Contarini’s letters from 1541 on the mission to Regensburg. The letters are on pages 360–392 and 473–501.

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  • Querini, Angelo Maria. Epistolarum Reginaldi Poli S.R.E. cardinalis et aliorum ad ipsum collectio. Vols. 1–3. Brescia, Italy: Joannes-Maria Rizzardi, 1744–1757.

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    The letters, written between 1536 and 1542 and connected to relations between Contarini and the group of the “spirituali,” are in Vol. 1, pages 428–437, 455–460, 463–466, 470–476, and 479–485; Vol. 2, pages 19–33, 58–59, 64–71, 73–77, 79–84, and 88–90; Vol. 3, pages ccxvii–cclxxxvi, pages 13–32, and 40–61. Vol. 3, pages i–xcvi, also contains a defense of Contarini’s conduct at Regensburg, Diatriba qua illustrantur et vindicantur gesta cardinalis Gasparis Contareni in conventu Ratisbonensi.

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  • Schultze, Victor. “Dreizehn Depeschen Contarini’s aus Regensburg an den Cardinal Farnese (1541).” Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 3 (1878–1879): 150–184.

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    Letters from Contarini to Farnese on the mission to Regensburg dating from 1541.

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  • Solmi, Edmondo. “Gasparo Contarini alla Dieta di Ratisbona secondo i documenti inediti dell’Archivio Gonzaga di Mantova.” Nuovo Archivio veneto new series, 13 (1907), fasc. 66: 69–93.

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    The letters deal with the meetings in Regensburg and are published on pages 88–93.

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Other Sources

This section is composed of documents regarding, directly or indirectly, Contarini. An apology in defense of his actions in Regensburg is in Eck 1543. Letters are in Giovio 1956–1958, Gaeta 1958, Gaeta 1960, and Dittrich 1883. Records and diaries are, respectively, in Martellozzo Forin 1969 and Rainieri 1887. The official documents on the diocese of Belluno are in Dittrich 1887. The inquisitorial processes against Giovanni Morone and Vittore Soranzo, with some documents regarding Contarini, are in Firpo and Marcatto 1981–1995 and Firpo and Pagano 2004.

  • Dittrich, Franz. “Die Nuntiaturberichte Giovanni Morone’s vom Reichstag zu Regensburg 1541.” Historisches Jahrbuch der Görres-Gesellschaft 4 (1883).

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    The correspondence of Morone and the papal delegates during the Diet of Regensburg of 1541. See pages 395–472, 618–673.

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  • Dittrich, Franz. “Nachträge zur Biographie Gasparo Contarini.” Historisches Jahrbuch der Görres-Gesellschaft 8 (1887): 271–283.

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    Documents datable to between 1536 and 1542 concerning Contarini’s appointment to the diocese of Belluno and its administration. The documents are on pages 275–83.

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  • Eck, Johannes. Apologia pro Reverendiss. et Illustriss. Principibus Catholicis ac aliis ordinibus Imperii adversus mucores et calumnias Buceri, super actis Comitiorum Ratisponæ. Apologia pro Reverendiss. Se. Ap. Legato et Cardinale, Gasparo Contareno. Parisiis: apud Ioannem Foucherium, 1543.

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    Eck was one of the Catholic negotiators at Regensburg. He wrote this apology as a reply to Martin Bucer’s “Acta colloquii in comitiis Imperii Ratisponæ habiti” and to defend Contarini’s activities at the colloquy.

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  • Firpo, Massimo, and Dario Marcatto. Il processo inquisitoriale del Cardinal Giovanni Morone. Edizione critica. 6 vols. Rome: Istituto storico italiano per l’età moderna e contemporanea, 1981–1995.

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    Proceedings of the trial of the case brought by Paul IV against Cardinal Morone.

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  • Firpo, Massimo, and Sergio Pagano, eds. I processi inquisitoriali di Vittore Soranzo (1550–1558). Edizione critica. 2 vols. Vatican City: Archivio Segreto Vaticano, 2004.

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    Among the proceedings of the trial against the Bishop of Bergamo Vittore Soranzo, accused of being close to the Valdesian circle, is a profile of Cardinal Contarini (pages 478–485), very likely to have been written in 1541, together with the article of justification taken from the Liber Ratisbonensis (see Gropper and Bucer 1837, cited under Collective Religious Works).

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  • Gaeta, Franco, ed. Nunziature di Venezia. Vol. 1. Rome: Istituto storico italiano per l’età moderna e contemporanea, 1958.

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    Letters from between 1533 and 1535 from the nuncio to Venice Girolamo Aleandro addressed to various people including Salviati, Giberti, and Carnesecchi. The documents regarding Contarini are on pages 70, 74, 158, 191, 206, 207, 210, 284, and 314.

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  • Gaeta, Franco, ed. Nunziature di Venezia. Vol. 2. Rome: Istituto storico italiano per l’età moderna e contemporanea, 1960.

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    Correspondence from 1536 to 1541 of the nuncios to Venice Girolamo Verallo and Giorgio Andreassi. The documents regarding Contarini are on pages 95, 96, 98, 106, 117, 146–149, 181, 182, 303, 320, 345, and 352.

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  • Giovio, Paolo. Lettere. Edited by Giuseppe G. Ferrero. 2 vols. Rome: Istituto poligrafico dello Stato, Libreria dello Stato, 1956–1958.

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    Letters to various addressees about Contarini, regarding his nomination as cardinal and his positions on grace and free will. The letters are in Vol. 1, pages 126, 166, 225, 236, 264, 291, and in Vol. 2, pages 154, 205.

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  • Martellozzo Forin, Elda, ed. Acta graduum academicorum Gymnasii Paravini ab anno 1500. Vol. 3, Book 1. Padua, Italy: Antenore, 1969.

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    Contarini’s presence at the University di Padua. The documents regarding him are on pages 49, 84, 103, and 154.

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  • Rainieri, Iacopo. Diario Bolognese. Edited by Olindo Guerrini and Corrado Ricci, 72–74. Bologna, Italy: deputazione di storia patria per le province di Romagna, 1887.

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    Entries on the nomination of Contarini as papal legate to Bologna and on his death.

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Works and Thought

It is possible to separate Contarini’s thought into philosophical, political, and religious categories, although all of them are influenced by different fields of scientific and humanist knowledge of the time which he sought to bring together, mediating between erudition and wisdom. The constant search for solving problems and controversies by insisting on common traditions and backgrounds is also a primary element of Contarini’s personality and is recognizable in his activities in the service of the Republic and the Church. His repeated attempts at mediation between opposing positions, a largely conciliatory attitude that certainly contains irenic elements, emerge not only in his works of a more specifically speculative nature but especially in his treatises and religious works. A profound moral tension dominate all of his literary production and are made clear by the wish to act as arbiter in the disputes and controversies that divided not only the Catholic reformers from the Protestant ones but also between the different currents within the Church of Rome that wanted to find a solution to the religious crisis underway. This section is divided into four subsections: Gasparis Contareni Opera, Philosophy, Politics, and Religion.

Gasparis Contareni Opera

Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera (Contarini 1571) is the first edition of Gasparo Contarini’s works. It is a selection made up of different works with philosophical, political, and religious content and edited by his nephew Alvise in the second half of the 16th century. Despite the many precautions taken by the publisher, the cardinal of the Holy Office Scipione Rebiba banned its circulation from 1572, a year after its publication, as shown in Fragnito 1985.

  • Contarini, Gasparo. Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571.

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    Reprinted in 1968 (Farnborough, UK: Gregg). In the Nivellium edition the choice was made not to follow the chronological order of the works but to group them instead into three parts, which correspond, respectively, to the books of philosophical, political, and religious content. Following the censorship of the Dominican Marco Medici, the edition of the works of Contarini was republished in 1578 by the press of Aldo Manuzio in Gasparis Contareni Cardinalis, Opera (Venetiis: Apud Aldum, 1578), and in 1589 by the press of Damiano Zenaro, in Gasparis Contareni Cardinalis, Opera omnia. Hactenus excussa, ad omnes philosophi[a]e partes, & ad sacram theologiam pertinentia (Venetiis: Apud Damianum Zenarium, 1589).

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  • Fragnito, Gigliola. “Aspetti della censura ecclesiastica nell’Europa della Controriforma: l’edizione parigina delle opere di Gasparo Contarini.” Rivista di storia e letteratura religiosa 21 (1985): 3–48.

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    An article on the choice of the texts that compose the 1571 edition (Contarini 1571) and their emendation.

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Philosophy

Thanks to an open and broad-based education, which he received in the Venetian schools of San Marco and Rialto, the intellectual approach of Contarini is marked by a concrete integration of the different philosophical currents that he had the opportunity to explore. Moreover, although the training he completed in his later Paduan studies was declaredly Aristotelian, his personality appears steeped in other different traditions. His initial philosophical education is crucial to understanding the choices that Contarini made at a mature age when, having abandoned a more theoretical approach, he found himself participating in the political life of his time and, especially, in the great debates that more closely concerned theological and doctrinal matters of some urgency. This subsection is divided into two other subsections: Contarini’s Works and Scholarly Studies.

Contarini’s Works

Most of the philosophical works of Contarini shown below are included in Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera and refer to an analysis of the elements (Contarini 1571a), questions of metaphysics (Contarini 1571e), questions of logic (Contarini 1571d), astronomic issue (Contarini 1571b), the reform of the Roman calendar (Contarini 1571f), and the question of the immortality of the soul (Contarini 1571c). Reflections of Contarini on the nature of the human intellect are in Contarini 1544 and Contarini 1558.

  • Contarini, Gasparo. “The First of the Trattatelli a Trifone Gabriel.” In Delle lettere volgari di diversi nobilissimi huomini et eccellentissimi ingegni scritte in diverse materie. Edited by Paolo Manutio, 76v–79v. Venezia: in casa de’ figliuoli di Aldo, 1544.

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    In the first of the three letters in the form of treatises, written on 24 December 1530 and sent to Trifone Gabriel, Contarini reflected on the relation and differences between mind and intellect.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “The Second and the Third of the Trattatelli a Trifone Gabriel.” In Quattro lettere di monsignor Gasparo Contarini cardinale. Edited by Gasparo Contarini, 9–40. Florence: L. Torrentino, 1558.

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    This publication contains the letter on free will dedicated to Vittoria Colonna and a letter attributed mistakenly to Contarini. In the second and third of the three letters in the form of treatises, written on 10 January 1530 and 13 December 1532, Contarini reflects on the relations between the first will and intellect and between speculative science and moral virtues.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “De elementis (et eorum mixtionibus). Libri V.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 1–90. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571a.

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    Dedicated to Matteo Dandolo and written between 1530 and 1535, this work opens the section of the collection given over to philosophical works. There is a marked syncretism of Aristotle’s theory of mixed bodies and Lucretius’s corpuscularism. Contarini aimed to reveal how Aristotle had left ample margin for interpretation on the ultimate composition of material and how lacunae could be filled by resorting to Epicureanism.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “De Homocentricis.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 238–252. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571b.

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    Written around 1535, it is a comment on the work Homocentrica sive de stellis by Girolamo Fracastoro, which Contarini had had the chance to view before its publication. The criticisms of the text, centered above all on the theological outcomes of the theory of homocentric spheres, prompted a vigorous response from Fracastoro and the latter’s decision to remove from his cosmology any potential doctrinal misunderstandings.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “De immortalitate animae. Libri II.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 177–232. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571c.

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    The first of the two books appeared anonymously, published in Pietro Pomponazzi, Apologia (Bononiae: per magistrum Iustinianum Leonardi Ruberiensem, 1518) and, as an independent work (Venetiis: apud haeredes Octaviani Scoti, 1525). It was the only work to be published during the author’s lifetime. An interesting debate between student (Contarini) and teacher (Pomponazzi) on the question of the immortality of the soul and its consequences, including those of doctrine.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “Non dari quartam figuram syllogismorum secundum opinionem Galeni.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 233–237. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571d.

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    Written around 1534 and dedicated to Oddo degli Oddi, a medical doctor trained like Contarini in Padua and a convinced upholder of the doctrine of Galen, the work focuses on questions of logic according to the teachings of the Aristotelian school of Padua.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “Primae philosophiae compendium. Libri VII.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 91–176. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571e.

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    Dedicated to Paolo Giustiniani and completed on 30 August 1527, this is perhaps Contarini’s most important philosophical endeavor. Structured as an attempted mediation between Neoplatonism and Aristotelian philosophy, the metaphysical discourse is marked by the relationship between God’s infinitude and the finite nature of creatures.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “De ratione anni.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 253–258. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571f.

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    It is composed of two letters, written, respectively, on 1 May 1539 and 5 February 1540 and addressed to Juan Ginés de Sepulveda, which deal with the question of the reform of the Roman calendar that the Spanish theologian was devising in work that would culminate in 1546 in his De correctione anni mensiumque romanorum.

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Scholarly Studies

Scholarly analyses of Contarini’s philosophical works and thought with a focus on his participation in philosophical schools of Venice are in Ross 1976 and Lepori 1980; the influence on his thought of Aristotle and his commentator Avicenna are in Giacon 1960 and Bassiano Rossi 2011; and the relationship between Contarini and Pomponazzi and their debate over the immortality of the soul are in Randall 1961, De Napoli 1963, and Peruzzi 2010.

  • Bassiano Rossi, Pietro. “‘Sempre alla pietà et buoni costumi ha exortato le genti’: Aristotle in the milieu of Cardinal Contarini.” In Christian Readings of Aristotle from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Edited by Luca Bianchi, 317–395. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1484/M.SA-EB.6.09070802050003050402030709Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An essay on Contarini’s reception of Aristotle, embedded in the political and cultural context of the transition from the 15th to the 16th century. The article also investigates the intellectual relationship between Contarini and Beccadelli. With an appendix of documents on pages 353–395.

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  • De Napoli, Giovanni. L’immortalità dell’anima nel Rinascimento. Turin, Italy: Società editrice internazionale, 1963.

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    The history of the debate, above all in its Italian and Paduan formulations, on the immortality of the soul, from Pietro d’Abano to Tommaso Campanella. Chronologically organized, this book presents an important guideline of this subject.

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  • Giacon, Carlo. “L’aristotelismo avicennistico di Gasparo Contarini.” In Atti del XII Congresso internazionale di filosofia. Vol. 9, Aristotelismo padovano e filosofia aristotelica. 109–119. Florence: Sansoni, 1960.

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    For long time the only work on Contarini’s philosophical opinions, it is an essay on the influence of Avicenna on his thought. It also describes his change of mind regarding the theory of the immortality of the soul, from the positions of Alexander of Aphrodisias to the positions of Avicenna.

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  • Lepori, Fernando. “La scuola di Rialto dalla fondazione alla metà del Cinquecento.” In Storia della cultura veneta. Vol. 3, Book 2. Edited by Girolamo Arnaldi and Manlio Pastore Stocchi, 537–605. Vicenza, Italy: Neri Pozza, 1980.

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    An analysis of the role and importance for Venetian culture and society of the school of Rialto, where Contarini received his initial philosophical education.

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  • Peruzzi, Enrico. “Gli allievi di Pomponazzi: Girolamo Fracastoro e Gasparo Contarini.” In Pietro Pomponazzi, tradizione e dissenso. Atti del Congresso internazionale di studi su Pietro Pomponazzi, Mantova, 23–24 ottobre 2008. Edited by Marco Sgarbi, 349–364. Florence: Olschki, 2010.

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    An essay analyzing and comparing the theoretical and cosmological positions of Contarini and Fracastoro, against the background of their criticisms of the theory of the immortality of the soul set out by their Paduan teacher Pietro Pomponazzi.

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  • Randall, John H. The School of Padua and the Emergence of Modern Science. Padua, Italy: Antenore, 1961.

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    This collection of articles concerns how the school of Padua, which included the debate on the immortality of the soul between Contarini and Pomponazzi, contributed to the formulation of modern scientific method starting from the Aristotelian definition of the syllogism.

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  • Ross, James Bruce. “Venetian Schools and Teachers Fourteenth to Early Sixteenth Century: A Survey and a Study of Giovanni Battista Egnazio.” Renaissance Quarterly 29 (1976): 521–566.

    DOI: 10.2307/2860032Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study of the evolution and importance of the Venetian schools in the years from the 14th to the 16th centuries, with particular attention given to philosophical and religious trends.

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Politics

Although Contarini did not exactly show an early interest in a political career, obtaining his first assignments in the service of the Venetian Republic at the age of about thirty-five, even from a young age his experience had always been permeated by a strong attention to civic duty and to the life of the polis, in line with his philosophical and religious education. Not wishing to turn his back on the lives of his contemporaries, his search for a third way between a contemplative and an active life found expression in serving the political needs of the Republic. He held numerous positions, among which was the far-from-straightforward experience of being an ambassador at the court of Charles V (1519–1525) and in Rome to Clement VII (1528–1529). This subsection is divided into two other subsections: Contarini’s Works and Scholarly Studies.

Contarini’s Works

The debates in which Contarini took part in the 1510s at the Orti Oricellari in Florence stimulated him in celebrating the mixed form of Venice’s government (simultaneously democratic, oligarchic, and monarchic). Written between 1524 and 1534 and first published in the Parisian collection (Contarini 1571), De magistratibus et Republica Venetorum is the only work of political interest contained in within. Not included in the editions of 1571, the other writings refer to the description of the activities of Contarini at the court of Charles V (Contarini 1840; Contarini 1881).

  • Contarini, Gasparo. “De magistratibus et Republica Venetorum. Libri V.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 259–326. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571.

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    This work had great success with several editions printed (first ed. latina Parisiis: ex officina Michaelis Vascosani, 1543) and several translations. For the first Italian edition, see La Republica e i magistrati di Vinegia (translated by E. Anditimi [L. Domenichi], Venice: Girolamo Scotto, 1544); for the first French edition, see Des magistratz et république de Venise (translated by J. Charrier, Paris: Galiot du Pré, 1544); and for the first English edition, see The Commonwealth and Government of Venice (translated by L. Lewkenor, London: John Windet for Edmund Mattes, 1599).

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “Relazione di Gasparo Contarini ritornato ambasciatore da Carlo V.” In Le relazioni degli ambasciatori veneti al Senato. Series 1. Vol. 2. Edited by Eugenio Alberi, 9–73. Florence: Tipografia all’insegna di Clio, 1840.

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    The document, read to the Venetian Senate in 1525, presents a description of the territories possessed by Charles V together with an analysis of the personalities of the emperor and his collaborators.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “Memoriale a Carlo V.” In Regesten und Briefe des Cardinals Gasparo Contarini (1483–1542). Edited by Franz Dittrich, 325–326. Braunsberg: Verlag von Huye’s Buchhandlung (Emil Bender), 1881.

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    With this brief account written in May 1541, Contarini communicated to Charles V his idea of how the Lutherans really interpreted the sacraments of the confession and the Eucharist.

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Scholarly Studies

This section shows the scholarly articles on Contarini’s political activities (Finlay 2000; Santarelli 2008) and his most important political work, De magistratibus et Republica Venetorum. With a particular attention to the origin of the book (Gilbert 1967), its context (King 1987), its contents (Gleason 1988), and its fortunes (Fiorio 2010; McPherson 1988; Sperling 1999).

Religion

Contarini’s diplomatic capabilities, his philosophical training, and his knowledge of the scriptures, of Paoline theology, and of the Church fathers all led Paul III to appoint him as cardinal in 1535 and to entrust him first with the reform of the Curia and its various departments, then with the preparation of the an ecumenical council, and finally with the last attempt at a resolution of the conflict with the Lutherans. This subsection is divided into six other sections: Contarini’s Religious Works: The Church of Rome, Contarini’s Religious Works: Between Catholics and Lutherans and Collective Religious Works, Scholarly Studies: Contarini’s Religious Experience, Scholarly Studies: Regensburg and Scholarly Studies: Valdesians and “Spirituali”.

Contarini’s Religious Works on The Church of Rome

This section refers to the writing of Contarini on the jurisdiction and government of the Church of Rome. He analyzes in depth the value of the sacraments (Contarini 1571e) and of the liturgy (Contarini 1571b), the duties of the bishops, underlining the importance of residency (Contarini 1571c), the importance of the councils in the history of the Catholicism (Contarini 1571a; Contarini 1904), particular aspects of the reform of the Church (Gilbert 1968), including the foundation of the new religious order of the Jesuits and the composition of their rule (Contarini 1881), and the authority of the Pope and its limit (Contarini 1571d; Contarini 1782; Contarini 1930a; Contarini 1930b).

  • Contarini, Gasparo. “Conciliorum magis illustrium summa.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 546–565. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571a.

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    Dedicated to Paul III and written in 1537, this is the compendium through which Contarini, tracing a list of the main councils that preceded that of Trent, appealed for the necessity to bring order back to the Church.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “Explanatio in psalmum. Ad te levavi oculos meos.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 623–627. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571b.

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    Dedicated to Sister Serafina, a nun in the convent of Santa Clara di Murano.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “De officio episcopi. Libri duo.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 401–432. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571c.

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    Written in 1517, it is a treatise on the duties of a bishop (first of all the duty of residency) but at the same time promoting the jurisdictional difference between the tasks of the Church and those of civil institutions. A publication of Contarini’s treatise in parallel text (Latin with an English translation) is found in The Office of a Bishop (edited by John Patrick Donnelly, Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2002).

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “De potestate pontificis, quod divinitus sit tradita.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 581–587. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571d.

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    Written in April 1534, this text deals with the question of papal authority, which Contarini considered a right acquired from Peter and his successors, who were held to carry out the role of leader of Christianity. An analysis of the document can be found in Franco Gaeta, “Sul De potestate pontificis di Gasparo Contarini,” Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia 13 (1959), pp. 391–396.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “De sacramentis christianae legis et catholicae Ecclesiae. Libri IV.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 327–400. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571e.

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    Written between 1539 and 1540 and the first of the works of religious content to be included in Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera, the work is presented as an instructive compendium on the meaning and value of the sacraments promoted by the Church of Rome.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “De potestate pontificis in compositionibus epistola.” In Monumentorum ad historiam concilii tridentini potissimum illustrandam spectantium amplissima collectio. Vol. 2. Edited by Jesse Le Plat, 608–615. Louanii: ex typographia academica, 1782.

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    In 1538 Contarini reflected on the nature of the Pope’s power and on his prospects of using it within the limits of reason, guarding himself against bad counsel and arbitrariness.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “Capitoli della congregazione del Gesù.” In Regesten und Briefe des Cardinals Gasparo Contarini (1483–1542). Edited by Franz Dittrich, 304–305. Braunsberg: Verlag von Huye’s Buchhandlung (Emil Bender), 1881.

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    Documents written in 1540 that testify to the role that Contarini assumed in support of the founding of Loyola’s Society of Jesus.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “De concilii celebratione sentential.” In Concilium Tridentinum. Diariorum, Actorum, Epistularum, Tractatuum nova collectio. Vol. 4. Edited by Societas Goerresiana, 208–209. Friburgi Brisgoviae: Herder, 1904.

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    With the meetings at Regensburg having failed and the convocation of the council necessary, Contarini in 1541 suggested to the Pope the solution of holding it in Mantua, a city not directly under the emperor and an ideal place to host the meeting’s participants.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “De usu potestatis clavium.” In Concilium Tridentinum. Diariorum, Actorum, Epistularum, Tractatuum nova collectio. Vol. 12. Edited by Societas Goerresiana, 151–153. Friburgi Brisgoviae: Herder, 1930a.

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    Written between 1537 and 1538, in this essay Contarini laid out to the Pope the discussion of an article of the Consilium de emendanda ecclesia on the vexed question of the relation between the exercise of the spiritual functions of the Pontiff and retribution in solidum.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “Oratio ad depuratos de reformanda ecclesia habita.” In Concilium Tridentinum. Diariorum, Actorum, Epistularum, Tractatuum nova collectio. Vol. 12. Edited by Societas Goerresiana, 153–155. Friburgi Brisgoviae: Herder, 1930b.

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    In this essay, written in 1537 and addressed to the Pope, Contarini encouraged the commission for the reform of the Church to intervene in relation to the sale of ecclesiastical privileges.

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  • Gilbert, Felix. “Contarini on Savonarola: An unknown document of 1516.” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 59 (1968): 145–150.

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    Gilbert includes Gasparo Contarini, “Consiglio facto sopra le cose del reverendo padre Fra Hieronimo Savonarola.” Contarini reflects on the experience of Savonarola and on his prophetic appeal to dwell on the need for a reform of the Church.

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Contarini’s Religious Work on Catholics and Lutherans

Contarini had an important role in trying to make a deal between Catholics and Lutherans, after the split of Luther in 1517 (Contarini 1571b). His several attempts, especially on the question of justification (Contarini 1571f; Contarini 1571c; Contarini 1744–1757; Contarini 1881b; Contarini 1881c), which definitely failed at Regensburg, shown his ecumenical ideal and his need of pacification (Contarini 1799), such as in the case of the heterodoxes of Modena (Contarini 1571a) or in his defense of Franceco Zorzi (Contarini 1881a). This section also contains one reference to Contarini’s positions on the questions of predestination and free will (Contarini 1571d; Contarini 1571e).

  • Contarini, Gasparo. “Catechesis sive Christiana instructio.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 533–545. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571a.

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    Written in 1542 in Bologna, this is the model to which the heterodox thinkers of the Academy of Modena who aspired to come back to the bosom of the Catholic Church had to conform.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “Confutatio articulorum seu questionum Lutheri.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 564–580. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571b.

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    Formulated in 1530, this is the first work that Contarini wrote on the relationship between Catholics and Protestants. While recognizing the errors of Luther, the text dwells on the possibility of a reconciliation, anticipating the attitude that Contarini was to have some years later, in particular at Regensburg.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “De iustificazione.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 588–596. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571c.

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    Dating from May 1541, an apology in epistolary form that Contarini wrote to defend himself from accusations in connection with the Regensburg experience. In support of his conduct, Contarini reiterates the full orthodoxy of Article 5 of the Regensburg book on justification. Republished in Massimo Firpo and Dario Marcatto, Il processo inquisitoriale del cardinal Giovanni Morone. Nuova edizione critica, Vol. 1, Il processo d’accusa (Rome: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2011), pp. 999–1013.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “De libero arbitrio.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 597–603. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571d.

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    This is a brief treatise written for Vittoria Colonna on 13 November 1536. Contarini examines the question of free will both through Aristotelian speculation and through the doctrinal controversies between Catholics and Protestants.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “De praedestinatione.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 604–622. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571e.

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    This is a brief treatise Contarini wrote for Lattanzio Tolomei at the close of 1537. Invited to take part in the debate on grace and predestination, rather than go into theological and doctrinal issues, Contarini explores the possible points of contact between the different theories.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “Scholia in epistolas divi Pauli.” In Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. By Gasparo Contarini, 433–533. Parisiis: apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571f.

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    Written in 1542 in Bologna and probably not intended for publication, this text is the result of Contarini’s reflections, in the wake of the failure of the meetings in Regensburg, on the Pauline theme and the question of justification.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “Instructio pro praedicatoribus.” In Epistolarum Reginaldi Poli S.R.E. cardinalis et aliorum ad ipsum collectio. Vol. 3. Edited by Angelo Maria Querini, 75–82. Brixiae: Joannes-Maria Rizzardi 1744–1757.

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    Written in October 1541, this is a brief treatise on preaching in which, different from in the Modus Concionandi, Contarini suggests more strict regulation of the behavior of preachers and of the content of their sermons.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “Parenesi ai vescovi della Germania invitandoli alla più esatta riforma.” In Monumenti di varia letteratura tratti dai manoscritti originali di monsignor Lodovico Beccadelli. Vol. 1, Book 2. Edited by Giovanni Battista Morandi, 197–199. Bologna, Italy: nell’Istituto Nazionale, 1799.

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    This document was written by Contarini in 1541 and made public during the meetings at Regensburg. It invited the German diocesan clergy to obey the teaching of Rome, complying with the duty of residency and organizing pastoral visits.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “Ad apologiam fratri Francisci Georgii.” In Regesten und Briefe des Cardinals Gasparo Contarini (1483–1542). Edited by Franz Dittrich, 271–277. Braunsberg: Verlag von Huye’s Buchhandlung (Emil Bender), 1881a.

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    In the spring of 1537 Contarini intended to defend Francesco Zorzi from the accusations formulated by the master of the Sacred Palace Tommaso Badia and advised Zorzi to amend his In sacram Scripturam problemata, rich in cabalistic and esoteric elements. On such issues see Cesare Vasoli, Profezia e ragione: Studi sulla cultura del Cinquecento e del Seicento (Naples: Morano, 1974), in particular, pp. 225–228.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “Modus concionandi.” In Regesten und Briefe des Cardinals Gasparo Contarini (1483–1542). Edited by F. Franz Dittrich, 305–309. Braunsberg: Verlag von Huye’s Buchhandlung (Emil Bender), 1881b.

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    In 1538 Contarini intended to regulate the activities of the preachers of his diocese of Belluno, granting them however ample room to maneuver around the question of justification.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo. “De poenitentia.” In Regesten und Briefe des Cardinals Gasparo Contarini (1483–1542). Edited by Franz Dittrich, 353–361. Braunsberg: Verlag von Huye’s Buchhandlung (Emil Bender), 1881c.

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    Addressed to Reginald Pole and his circle, this is a brief treatise from July 1542, in which Contarini sought a response regarding his ideas on justification and the relation between grace and good works.

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Collective Religious Works

In his ecclesiastical career, Gasparo Contarini took part in the drafting of the following documents of reform, regarding the corruption of the Roman Curia (Contarini, et al. 1930, pp. 131–145) and the potential solution to work it out (Contarini, et al. 1930, pp. 208–215). The theological solutions proposed in Regensburg, during the meeting between Catholics and Lutherans, are in Gropper and Bucer 1837.

  • Contarini, Gasparo, Gian Pietro Carafa, Girolamo Aleandro, and Tommaso Badia. “Consilium quattuor delectorum.” In Concilium Tridentinum. Diariorum, Actorum, Epistularum, Tractatuum nova collectio. Vol. 12. Edited by Societas Goerresiana, 208–215. Friburgi Brisgoviae: Herder, 1930.

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    Written in 1537 and addressed to Paul III, this is a list of the ecclesiastical issues requiring the most urgent attention to halt the crisis of the Church of Rome.

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  • Contarini, Gasparo, Gian Pietro Carafa, Iacopo Sadoleto, et al. “Consilium de emendanda ecclesia.” In Concilium Tridentinum. Diariorum, Actorum, Epistularum, Tractatuum nova collectio. Vol. 12. Edited by Societas Goerresiana, 131–145. Friburgi Brisgoviae: Herder, 1930.

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    A proposal for Church reform dating from 1537 and put forward by eight ecclesiastics gathered in a special commission coordinated by Contarini.

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  • Gropper, Johannes, and Martin Bucer. “Liber Ratisbonensis.” In Corpus Reformatorum. Vol. 4. Edited by Karl Gottlieb Bretschneider and Heinrich Ernst Bindseil, cols. 190–238. Halle: apud C.A. Schwetschke et filium, 1837.

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    Republished in Georg Pfeilschifter, Acta Reformationis Catholicae Ecclesiam Germaniae concernentia seculi XVI (Vol. 6, Regensburg: F. Pustet, 1974), pp. 22–88. It is the book of the meetings of Regensburg.

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Scholarly Studies on Contarini’s Religious Experience

Scholarly articles and books on Contarini’s religious experience investigate his unfulfilled vocation (Jedin 1951; Ross 1970), his continue research of a way in between contemplative and active life (Furey 2003; Furey 2006; Gilbert 1969), his activities as bishop of Belluno (de Boni 1992), and his positions on the reform of the Church (Bowd 2002; Fragnito 1969; Jedin 1958; Suquía 1956).

  • Bowd, Stephen D. Reform before the Reformation: Vincenzo Querini and the Religious Renaissance in Italy. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2002.

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    Centered on the figure of Vincenzo Querini, the monograph explores his relationship with Contarini and his role in the Italian religious crisis of the 16th century.

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  • de Boni, Vanda. “Il cardinale Contarini vescovo di Belluno.” Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia 51 (1992): 463–492.

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    An article on Contarini’s experience as Bishop of Belluno.

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  • Fragnito, Gigliola. “Cultura umanistica. Il De officio viri boni ac probi episcopi di Gasparo Contarini.” Studi Veneziani 11 (1969): 75–189.

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    A study on Contarini’s treatise on the duties of a bishop with the publication of the dedicatory letter to Pietro Lippomano, absent in Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera of 1571, 1578, and 1589. The piece is important moreover for its reconstruction of the genesis of the work and for its contextualization in the milieu in which Gasparo Contarini’s thinking was shaped.

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  • Furey, Constance M. “Communication of Friendship: Gasparo Contarini’s Letters to Hermits at Camaldoli.” Church History 72.1 (2003): 71–101.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0009640700096979Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An article on the correspondence of Contarini with Giustiniani and Querini, with an analysis of the concepts of conversatio and friendship in the early 16th century.

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  • Furey, Constance M. Erasmus, Contarini, and the Religious Republic of Letters. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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    This monograph describes the process of building up a republic of letters in the early 16th century. It focuses on the theme of friendship between the humanist intellectuals of northern and southern Europe involved in projects of Church reform.

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  • Gilbert, Felix. “Religion and Politics in the Thought of Gasparo Contarini.” In Action and Conviction in Early Modern Europe. Essays in Memory of E.H. Harbison. Edited by T. K. Rabb and J. E. Seigel, 90–116. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1969.

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    An essay retracing Contarini’s experience of politics, inseparable in his case from philosophy and theology, as is clear from his continual search for a middle way between a contemplative and an active life.

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  • Jedin, Hubert. “Ein ‘Turmerlebnis’ des jungen Contarini.” Historische Jahrbuch der Görresgesellschaft 70 (1951): 115–130.

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    An essay on the conversion to the grace of God of the young Contarini, which occurred on Easter Saturday 1511, when he understood the theological significance of Christ’s sacrifice and turned down the invitation from Querini and Giustiniani to become a monk. An essay that followed the publication by the same Jedin of the monograph focuses on Contarini’s theological activity: Hubert Jedin, Kardinal Contarini als Kontroverstheologe (Münster, Germany: Aschendorff, 1949).

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  • Jedin, Hubert. “Gasparo Contarini e il contributo veneziano alla riforma cattolica.” In La civiltà veneziana del Rinascimento. Edited by Centro di cultrura e civiltà della Fondazione Giorgio Cini, 105–124. Florence: Sansoni, 1958.

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    Brief portrait of Contarini as inspirer and promoter of the reform of the Church.

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  • Ross, James Bruce. “Gasparo Contarini and His Friends.” Studies in the Renaissance 17 (1970): 192–232.

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    How Gasparo Contarini, after having turned down Giustiniani and Querini’s monastic proposal, managed to build up his political and ecclesiastical career, expressing in his activities the philosophical teachings he had received in Venice and Padua. On the same themes, inflected differently, see also Eugenio Massa, “Paolo Giustiniani e Gasparo Contarini: la vocazione al bivio del neoplatonismo e della teologia biblica,” Benedectina 35 (1988), pp. 429–474.

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  • Suquía, Ángel. “Las reglas para sentir con la iglesia en la vida y en la obras del Cardenal Gaspar Contarini (1483–1542).” Archivum historicum Societatis Iesu 25 (1956): 380–395.

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    An article that illustrates the position of Contarini in relation to the Church and traces a parallel between the figure of the Venetian cardinal and that of Ignatius of Loyola.

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Scholarly Studies on Regensburg

In the attempt to counter the redefinition of the traditional political and religious balance of Christian society, while underlining the universality of humanistic religious language Contarini dedicated considerable energy over a sustained period to the search for a possible form of dialogue between the various denominational factions (Mackensen 1958), which he found in the proposal of the duplex iustitia, that is, the iustitia imputata and the iustitia inhaerens (De Leva 1872; Matheson 1972). Yet, despite the many attempts to derail the colloquy at Regensburg, it was to founder on Contarini’s theological certainties, which he took from Aquinas and from scholasticism, that is on the doctrine of transubstantiation (Steinmetz 2001). Brieger 1878–1879 refers to the accusation against Contarini of being too close to the Lutherans during the meeting. Pauselli 1992 analyzes Contarini’s positions on the theology of St. Paul.

Scholarly Studies on Valdesians and “Spirituali”

Because of his political offices and especially because of his position on the question of justification, Contarini tried as early as the 1530s to establish a dialogue with the Lutherans to avoid the denominational split of the Church and, at the same time, to reform the Church thanks to the key role of the bishops (Fragnito 1993). His closeness to Reginald Pole (Firpo 1984; Firpo 2013; Tellechea Idígoras 1967), the animator of the Ecclesia Viterbiensis under whose insignia the followers of the Spanish reformer Juan de Valdés continued to meet, has led historians to claim that he was close to the movement of the “spirituali” (Avanzini 1997; Firpo 2005). This reading is also evidenced in puncto mortis by his convincing of Bernardino Ochino not to go to Rome when summoned by the Inquisition, perhaps for fear that he might reveal contacts, friendships, and acquaintances (Fragnito 1972). Contarini’s ideas on predestination are analyzed in Stella 1961.

  • Avanzini, Nicola. “Tra il cardinale Contarini e Juan de Valdés: la parabola religiosa di Ercole Gonzaga (1535–1542).” Bollettino della Società di Studi Valdesi 114 (1997): 3–35.

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    A brief profile of Cardinal Gonzaga that highlights his rapport with Contarini, marked by the common aspiration for Church reform.

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  • Firpo, Massimo. “Gli ‘spirituali,’ l’Accademia di Modena e il formulario di fede del 1542: Controllo del dissenso religioso e nicodemismo.” Rivista di storia e letteratura religiosa 20 (1984): 40–111.

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    Analysis and reconstruction of the origins of Contarini’s Catechesis sive Christiana instructio (Contarini 1571a, cited under Contarini’s Religious Works: Between Catholics and Lutherans), the model to which the heterodox of Modena had to conform.

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  • Firpo, Massimo. Inquisizione romana e Controriforma. Studi sul cardinal Giovanni Morone e il suo processo d’eresia. Rev. exp. ed. Brescia, Italy: Morcelliana, 2005.

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    Originally published 1992 (Bologna: il Mulino). A collection of essays on the internal conflicts of the Roman Curia in the mid-16th century.

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  • Firpo, Massimo. Valdesiani e spirituali. Studi sul Cinquecento religioso italiano. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2013.

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    A collection of essays on religious life in the 16th century that concentrates on Italian reform, the doctrinal teachings of Juan de Valdés and their legacy, inherited by the movement of the “spirituali.”

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  • Fragnito, Gigliola. “Gli ‘spirituali’ e la fuga di Bernardino Ochino.” Rivista storica italiana 84 (1972): 777–813.

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    The description of the meeting between Contarini and Ochino and the consequences of Ochino’s escape form the backdrop to a careful analysis of the group of the “spirituali” who, since the mid-1530s, had been gathering around the cardinal and his idea of Church reform.

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  • Fragnito, Gigliola. “Il nepotismo farnesiano tra ragioni di Stato e ragioni di Chiesa.” In Continuità e discontinuità nella storia politica, economica e religiosa: Studi in onore di Aldo Stella. Edited by Paolo Pecorari and Giovanni Silvano, 117–125. Vicenza, Italy: Neri Pozza, 1993.

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    An essay that theorizes about Contarini’s plans for reform, which earned him the leadership of those aiming at the recovery and relaunch under the jurisdiction of the bishops of the Church’s spiritual authority to the complete detriment of the Pope’s temporal power.

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  • Stella, Aldo. “La lettera del cardinale Contarini sulla predestinazione.” Rivista di storia della Chiesa in Italia 15 (1961): 411–441.

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    This article analyzes the full text of Contarini’s treatise on De praedestinatione (Contarini 1571e, cited under Contarini’s Religious Works: Between Catholics and Lutherans), not reshaped by the constant censorial concern of the editors of the Parisian edition of Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera (Contarini 1571, cited under Gasparis Contareni Opera).

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  • Tellechea Idígoras, José Ignacio. “Una denuncia de los Cardenales Contarini, Pole y Morone per el Cardenal Francisco de Mendoza (1560).” Revista española de Teología 27 (1967): 33–51.

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    This article focuses on a memorandum written by the Spanish cardinal Francisco de Mendoza against the doctrine of the justification. In the document he principally attacks Reginald Pole but at the same time he denounces Contarini’s closeness to the Lutherans at Regensburg during the Colloquy.

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