Johannes Pauli (1450-1520) on the Church and the Clergy

Author: Pearsall, Arlene
This work focuses on what Franciscan priest and administrator Johannes Pauli's stories, commentaries, and sermons have to say about the church and clergy. His versatility is illustrated by his use of a variety of short fiction forms such as exempla, parables, short tales, legends, and crime stories, and his originality by the large number of wholly original tales, by his lucid commentaries, and by improvements in tales he borrowed. In all his writings he stressed the spread of clerical abuses such as nepotism, pluralism, absenteeism, avarice, the sale of indulgences, and sexual misdeeds. This work is a vivid historical account of the most powerful institution of the late Middle Ages.


"It is . . . significant that Pauli occasionally takes care to explain that some stories are true reports about real people he knew (Pearsall gives examples on pages 224-225). This may suggest that the other narratives were also read as plausible everyday experiences, or at least as tales worth telling, perhaps true, perhaps false, but worth their wisdom: in this way, the collection may plainly represent common attitudes about religion and ecclesiastical society about the time of the outbreak of the Reformation. . . . The strength of this study is . . . its review of Pauli's stories, which are of course a rich source. The Schwänke that were used in the study, all the ones with clerical information, are listed in a convenient index." - Sixteenth Century Journal