This essay deals with Inquisitorial sources concerning Italian preachers from the first half of the Sixteenth Century. The effort is to understand the ways in which historians are able to register oral testimonies and verify their accountability. The historical context taken into account is that of the widespreading diffusion of Lutheran ideas in the Italian peninsula, and the attempt by some of the most well-known religious preachers to promote those doctrines, trying at the same time not to be unmasked by the Roman Inquisition. At the heart of my argument is the increasingly sophisticated rhetorical skill of heterodox preachers in the period, who achieved their ends by silence and omission, not by positive affirmations of Lutheran tenets. Moreover, a comparison between oral and written testimonies both provided by the same preachers allows to reflect on different strategies of communication implicit in the use of written texts.
Caravale, G. (2014). Le ambiguità della parola. Eresia e ortodossia tra oralità e scrittura nella predicazione italiana del Cinquecento. THE ITALIANIST, 34(3), 478-492.