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Empire and Apocalypse: Savonarola and Apocalypticism in Renaissance Florence

In Florence, Italy, between 1497 and 1498, the Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola burned a number of works of art and literature, along with musical instruments, scientific tools, cosmetics, and more, which he considered to be objects of vanity. The pious and ascetic Savonarola believed that these objects threatened the morality of Florencians by promoting intellectual and aesthetic amusement in lieu of religious devotion. This thoughtful essay by religious studies scholar David M. Reis, authored as part of his blog that accompanied his Empire and Apocalypse course taught in 2015 at the University of Oregon, explores why Savonarola's ideas gained popularity in the historical, political, and religious context of late-fifteenth century Florence. This essay also includes a short annotated bibliography for those interested in learning more about Savonarola and the bonfire of the vanities.
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Date of Scout Publication 2017-09-29
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