Read an extract from Savonarola by Donald Weinstein on Yale's blog" /> Read an extract from Savonarola by Donald Weinstein on Yale's blog" />

Savonarola The Rise and Fall of a Renaissance Prophet Donald Weinstein

Publication date:
22 Nov 2011
Yale University Press
400 pages: 235 x 156 x 27mm
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Girolamo Savonarola, the fifteenth-century millenarian friar, embraced the revolution of the Florentine republic and prophesied that it would become the centre of a New Age of Christian renewal and world domination.

This new biography, the culmination of many decades of study, presents an original interpretation of Savonarola's prophetic career and a highly nuanced assessment of his vision and motivations. Weinstein sorts out the multiple strands that connect Savonarola to his time and place, following him from his youthful rejection of a world he regarded as corrupt, to his engagement with that world to save it from itself, to his shattering confession - an admission that he had invented his prophesies and faked his visions. Was his confession sincere? A forgery circulated by his inquisitors? Or an attempt to escape bone-breaking torture? Weinstein offers a highly innovative analysis of the testimony to provide the first truly satisfying account of Savonarola and his fate as a failed prophet.


Read an extract from Savonarola by Donald Weinstein on Yale's blog

Donald Weinstein is professor emeritus, University of Arizona. He is the author of several books on Italian history and is a world authority on Savonarola and the Italian Renaissance. He lives in Sonoita, AZ.

"This new biography represents the definitive English-language account of its subject. It offers the kind of exhaustive yet balanced assessment of the controversial friar’s life that can only be produced by an expert writing at the culmination of his academic career."—Jerry Brotton, Literary Review

"Weinstein presents a reasoned and fair view of his subject as friar, preacher, prophet and politician."—Grahame Lock, The Tablet

"Weinstein’s scrupulously researched finely balanced life is both a complex portrait of a fascinating figure and of a uniquely and creative time."–Michael Kerrigan, Scotsman