“The book’s strengths arise from the author’s command of the sources for the mendicant orders in Florence from ca. 1290 to ca. 1310. Preaching in Medieval Florence provides a useful case study of the social dimensions of medieval preaching.”
In the thirteenth century, expansions in international commerce brought a new class of merchants and bankers to Florence who displaced the old, semifeudal aristocracy from power. Heavy migration from the countryside created a prosperous class of craftsmen, shopkeepers, and professionals who sought to share the power of the new, nonaristocratic elite. In Preaching in Medieval Florence, Daniel Lesnick reveals that the mendicant orders of St. Dominic and St. Francis assumed responsibility for ministering to the new urban laity and did so by embracing ideologies that corresponded to their audiences’ secular needs.
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