Book Presentation - L’Ordine dei Predicatori: i Domenicani, storia, figure, istituzioni (1216-2016)

A book in Italian: The Order of Preachers: Dominicans, History, Figures, Institutions (1216-2016)
L’Ordine dei Predicatori: i Domenicani, storia, figure, istituzioni (1216-2016)

In the eight centuries of their history, the Dominicans have been the protagonists of a multitude of events, sometimes conflicting. They have been often at the center of theological, philosophical and political debates. Often one thinks of their role in the inquisition, rather than the struggles of the missionaries and intellectuals of the Order for the rights of “Native Indians” in the years of the Spanish and Portuguese conquest of the New World.

One can say that the ‘Order of Preachers’ – to use a more precise and meaningful term – represents one of the greatest actors in the development of the culture of the medieval and modern age, not only in Europe. On can find these influences in the experiences of the preaching of Dominic of Caleruega and in his encounter with the heterodoxy of the ‘Cathars’, the original and suspicious speculations of Thomas Aquinas and its systemization over the centuries and the short and inspiring life of Catherine of Siena.  Also, between the return of the Apostolic See to Rome and the great western schism, up to the more recent figures like Giuseppe Girotti who died at Dachau and Pierre Claverie, the bishop who was killed in Algeria, the lives, the study and the conflicts of the Friars Preachers took place in various settings, sometimes during the challenging events of their Order and in the various ecclesiastical and historical contexts in which they have encountered the mission.

This is an evolution that shows a lot of discontinuity and at the same time a line of development that is well recognizable – the preaching, the study, women religious life. This volume attempts to trace a path within the complex history of the Order, following the historical development, the great figures, the institutions and the advancements within theology, mysticism, literature and preaching.


Gianni Festa, OP - the Postulator General of the Order of Preachers, teaches Church History at the Faculty of Theology of Emilia Romagna, Bologna. His studies and his research focuses around two chapters of the Italian literary history: that of religion, within which exists essays of hagiography and feminine mystical writing between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and that of the twentieth century Italian poetry with contributions on Montale, Luzi and Betocchi. Some of his works include: Osanna Andreasi da Mantova 1449-1505, la santa dei Gonzaga. Lettere e Colloqui spirituali, (Bologna 2007); Il lume della luna. Santità, spiritualità e scritture domenicane femminili in Italia nell'età moderna, (Roma 2016, in the press); Il discepolo e lo scriba: i “fondamenti invisibili” della poesia di Mario Luzi (Bologna 2013)

Marco Rainini, OP – researcher in the History of Christianity at l’Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. His research addresses primarily the 12th and 13th centuries and focuses on symbolic texts and diagrammatic, prophetic literature, apocalyptic and theological conceptions of history. He is also engaged in research into the origin of the Order of Preachers. His publications include: Disegni dei tempi. Il «Liber Figurarum» e la teologia figurativa di Gioacchino da Fiore (Roma 2006) and Corrado di Hirsau e il «Dialogus de cruce». Per la ricostruzione del profilo di un autore monastico del XII secolo (Firenze 2014), Il profeta del papa. Vita e memoria di Raniero da Ponza, eremita di curia (Milano 2016).

Plans are on the way to have the book translated into other languages of the Order. 


(25 January 2017)