A 16th-century Bestseller and the Role of its Translations

November 22, 2018

The latest publication in our research paper series deals with a real bestseller of the 16th century, the Manual for Confessors by Martín de Azpilcueta (1492-1586). Azpilcueta, also known as Doctor Navarrus, was one of the most important canon lawyers and moral theologians of his time. The Manual may be regarded as his major work. Not only in Europe, but also in the New World, it played a fundamental role in the construction of normative knowledge and enjoyed great popularity. First published in 1552 in Portuguese, Azpilcueta himself transformed and translated it many times during his travels from Portugal to Rome. Focusing on the very complex editorial history of the book, the present paper sheds new light on the importance of translation, particularly of self-translation in the production of 16th-century normative knowledge, showing how the fact of thinking and rewriting a text in another language had an impact not only on its form but also its content.

Manuela Bragagnolo’s (MPIeR) paper, written in French, is related to her research project on the phenomenon of epitomisation and is now available in Open Access on SSRN.

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