In a confessional age in which Catholics and Protestants accused each other (and for a long time) of misinterpreting the Holy Scriptures and deceiving the faithful, some churchmen made religious controversy their life’s mission. One of the most famous among them was Ambrogio Catarino Politi, a Dominican polemist from Siena who lived in the first half of the sixteenth century. His entire existence revolved around the concept of error: errors of which he accused Luther and his Italian followers in some of the most effective pamphlets of the time; errors of which he himself was repeatedly accused by his Dominican adversaries before and during the Council of Trent; but also errors of which Politi accused himself in some revealing and at time merciless autobiographical reconstructions. Through the figure of the Sienese controversialist, this essay highlights all the semantic nuances assumed by the idea of error in sixteenth-century confessional controversy: from presumption to credulity, from delusion to deception.
Caravale, G. (2023). Error of the Heretic, Error of the Controversialist. Heresy and Deception in Sixteenth-Century Religious Polemics. In M.F. Marco Sgarbi (a cura di), Errors, False Opinions and Defective Knowledge in Early Modern Europe (pp. 17-26). Firenze : Firenze University Press [10.36253/979-12-215-0266-4].