February 14, 2014

Video: Emily O'Brien discusses good, evil, and the Renaissance Papacy


SFU Historian Emily O'Brien offered her reflections on the renaissance papacy to a sold out audience at the Harbour Centre. The talk was part of the SFU Department of History's lecture series, Heroes and Villains: Rethinking Good and Evil in History.


In popular culture, the Renaissance papacy (c. 1417-1534) seems an intriguing mixture of highs and lows. On the one hand, it dazzles us with artistic achievements – the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s, to name but two. On the other, it shocks us with personalities infamous enough to thrive on cable television (“The Borgias,” anyone?). While this blend of extremes may draw us to the Renaissance papacy, how much can it actually teach us? A great deal, in fact. This lecture tours the good, the bad and the ugly of this period in papal history and, in so doing, illuminates how this era represented a turning point for the Western Church.

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