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Ordo Praedicatorum History of the Dominican Order More on Dominican history

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The history of the Dominican Order is a rich subject. Its origins in the early thirteenth century, its rapid development, the intellectual activity and influence in many countries have caused a lot of writings. Here only a selection is offered, concentrating on the medieval period. Some scientific journals will guide your interests:

An attempt at a brief summary of early Dominican history : Domingo de Guzman (around 1170-1221), a Spanish priest travelling with his bishop Diego of Osma, encountered by chance Cistercian monks who tried to bring the Cathars of Southern France back to the Catholic Church. He saw the deficiencies of their attempts and decided to do a better job, by walking and dressing humbly, listening to and talking with people, being aware of contemporary developments, and first of all preaching the Gospel. He gathered a band of priests around him. After the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215, at which preaching and confession had been stressed as important elements of priestly activities, Dominic got papal approval in 1216 from Honorius III for founding a new order to meet these needs, the "Ordo Praedicatorum", using the Rule of St. Augustine. In 1207 Dominic had already founded a nunnery at Prouille, near Toulouse. He sent the members of his small group to all universities to study theology.
Dominic left no writings of his own. He founded a successful mendicant order, marked by intellectual effort, an active interest in urban society, democratic organisation, thorough preaching and missionary activities. The feast of Saint Dominic is nowadays celebrated at August 8. His tomb is at San Domenico in Bologna. Famous medieval Dominicans are Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, Jacobus de Voragine, pope Innocent V, Heinrich Seuse, Meister Eckhart and Fra Angelico.
From later times one can also mention conspicuous figures, for instance Bartholomew de Las Casas, Francisco de Vitoria, the first Latin-American saint, Rosa de Lima, and Martin of Porres; the nineteenth-century refounders Victor Jandel and Henri Dominique Lacordaire. The theologians Yves-Marie Congar, Marie-Dominique Chenu and Edward Schillebeeckx; Pierre Claverie, the bishop of Oran in Algeria, assassinated in 1995, and Timothy Radcliffe with his sparkling articles and lectures belong to the modern period of the Order of Preachers.

Bibliographies

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Editions of sources   see below for Saint Dominic

The ungoing series of editions of sources for Dominican history appears under the title Monumenta ordinis fratrum praedicatorum historica (MOFPH).

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Medieval history

Useful articles on the Dominicans during the Middle Ages can be found in the Lexikon des Mittelalters, vol. 3. (Munich-Zurich 1985), on their general history, their growth over all Europe and on their founder, too. First, the general histories of the Order:

Titles have been entered under four headings: a) preaching, b) Dominican goverment, c) lay fraternities, and d) other subjects. The Dominicans and the inquisition are discussed in connection with medieval legal procedure. See for Thomas Aquinas (circa 1224-1274) the site of the Thomas Institute, Catholic University Utrecht. One finds more titles in the useful chapter on the mendicant orders by Elisabeth Lopez in the volume L'histoire des moines, chanoines et religieux au moyen âge, André Vauchez and Cécile Caby (eds.) (Turnhout 2003) 133-146.

Preaching - see on preaching also the Franciscan authors site by Bart Roest

On Dominican government:

An useful overview in Italian is: Raymond Creytens, ‘Costituzioni domenicane’, Dizionario degli istituti di perfezione  3 (Rome 1976) 183-198; on Internet there is a chronological overview in Italian of the medieval constitutions by Emilio Panella.

Lay fraternities

Useful introductions on Internet are the article on lay fraternities from the Catholic Encyclopedia and the essay by Richard Weber.

On lay people who entered or joined monasteries as "conversi" or "donati" a recent study provides a wealth of information: Charles de Miramon, Les "donnés" au Moyen Age. Une forme de vie religieuse laïque, v. 1180 - v. 1500 (Paris 1999). Other subjects

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Saint Dominic (around 1170-1221)

Sources

Literature Iconography   see for a very large picture collection the website of the Dominicans in Colombia

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Spirituality

Here the modern visions of Dominican spirituality come to the foreground. Saint Dominic and medieval history offer many insights into the development of Dominican spirituality. The preaching of the Word, study and the care of souls are at its centre. Some of the motto's and devices of the Dominican Order are themselves telling: "Veritas", "Laudare-benedicere-praedicare", "Euntes evangelizate mundum" and "contemplari et contemplata aliis tradere" (St. Thomas Aquinas). The works of Dominican authors, too, show the specific and varied Dominican spirituality.

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Dutch Dominicans

A useful introduction by S.G. Axters on the early Dutch Dominicans and their spiritual writings has been translated in English from the Dictionnaire de Spiritualité.

  • Bouwstoffen voor de geschiedenis van de Dominicanen in Nederland, A. Bogaers (ed.) (17
  • Wolfs, S.P., Middeleeuwse dominicanenkloosters in Nederland. Bijdrage tot een monasticon (Assen, 1984) - on the medieval Dominicans in the Netherlands.
  • Wolfs, S.P., Middeleeuwse dominicanessenkloosters in Nederland (Assen, 1988) - the medieval nuns in the Netherlands.
  • Axters, S.G., Bibliotheca Dominicana Neerlandica 1224-1500 (Leuven 1970; Bibliothèque de la Revue d’Histoire Ecclésiastique, 49) – addition: ‘Bibliotheca dominicana neerlandica manuscripta II’, Ons geestelijk erf 50 (1976) 3, 309-336.
  • Wolfs, S.P. (ed.), Litteræ de benificiis O.P. (1243-1524) (Groningen, 1963; Fontes minores medii aevi, 14) - on prayer fraternities of the Dutch medieval Dominicans.
  • Wolfs, S.P., Studies over noordnederlandse Dominicanen in de Middeleeuwen (Assen, 1973).
  • Brakkee, Kees, and Ino Biezeno (ed.), Dominicanen in Nederland : zoeken naar echtheid (Amstelveen, 1986; Religieuze gemeenschappen in Nederland, 10) - lively interviews with present-day Dutch Dominicans.
  • Struyker Boudier, C.E.M., Wijsgerig leven in Nederland, België en Nederland, 1880-1980, II : De Dominicanen (Nijmegen-Baarn, 1986) - philosophy and the Dutch Dominicans.
See also the journal Dominicaans Perspectief (since 1994), see for more Dutch journals and publications the Dutch Dominican site.

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Links

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