Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


History (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Guido Ruggiero

Second Committee Member

Mary Lindemann

Third Committee Member

Hugh Thomas

Fourth Committee Member

Steve Stein

Fifth Committee Member

Laura Giannetti


The continuing resilience, significance, and variety of religious culture in the age of the Enlightenment in the Republic of Venice are the overarching themes of this dissertation, which consists of a series of case-studies. Though the stories examined here are diverse and cover several aspects of devotions, practices, and beliefs, they all grew out of negotiations that took place at all levels. Each chapter showcases negotiations of the sacred among secular authorities, the clergy and their flocks, bishops and inquisitors, higher office holders in the Roman Church and in local branches of the Inquisition, and various members of ecclesiastic institutions. Together, these represent a more complicated religious Enlightenment than usually envisioned. Negotiations of the sacred unfold against the background of unapologetic quests for the miraculous and divine manifestations. Hence, the pursuit of modernity, which is still seen as the hallmark of the Age of Reason, actually never was very far removed from the sphere of religion and consciousness of the spiritual world. The examination of so many varied aspects of devotion, practices, beliefs, and the numerous uncertain attempts to constrain them within more rigorous boundaries (or to remove them from popular control) during the eighteenth century ultimately confirms that we – “moderns” – are the children of the Enlightenment in more complex ways than we might imagine.


Religious Enlightenment; Popular Devotion; Republic of Venice; Sacred Heart; Exorcism; Eighteenth Century Inquisition; Miracles; Negotiations of the Sacred; Cult of the Saints