THE DOMINICANS
A Short History

William A. Hinnebusch, O.P., D.Ph. (Oxon.)

This work is an overview rather than a detailed account of events which make up more than seven and a half centuries of Dominican history. Its originality lies in the marshalling of the content of Dominican history. Presenting the course of development briefly, it gores but a nod to many issues which would demand extensive treatment in a larger work. It concentrates on showing the Order's growth from the small beginnings of the thirteenth century to a world-wide presence in the twentieth. A bibliography at the end of this study, lists important works; and monographs dealing in more detail with Dominican history.

Father Hinnebusch received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford where he studied prior to his assignment as professor of history at Providence College. He subsequently spent three years doing research at the Historical Institute of the Dominican Order in Rome where he published The English Friars Preachers. For many years he has been teaching Church History at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.

A contributor to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, the Catholic Youth Encylopedia and the New Catholic Encyclopedia, Fr. Hinnebusch is also the author of Dominican Spirituality, 1965, and Renewal in the Spirit of St. Dominic, 1968.

  FOREWORD
I. THE FOUNDATION OF THE ORDER
II. THE GROWTH OF THE ORDER, 1221-1303
III. THE MISSIONS TO 1500
IV. THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY
V. FIFTEENTH CENTURY --THE LIFE AND MINISTRY OF THE ORDER
VI. RENEWAL AND REFORM IN THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY
VII. THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY
VIII. THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY, AN AGE OF ABSOLUTISM
IX. THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY UNTIL 1789
X. THE ORDER FROM 1789 TO 1872
XI. THE LAST 100 YEARS, 1872 TO 1974
  EPILOGUE
  BIBLIOGRAPHY

 



Foreword

The stream of Dominican history is like all rivers. At times it has flowed strong and full; at times its waters have slowed to a trickle. Never has it ceased to flow. Through more than seven and a half centuries the basic ideas and fundamental inspiration of St. Dominic have vitalized the Order. In all epochs they have produced outstanding men, in some centuries an army of such men, in others only a handful. Few or many, they witnessed to the authenticity of Dominic's insights by their life and works. What the Dominican Order has given to the Church in past centuries, and what it can offer her in the future is vital and necessary, because its mission, entrusted by her -- the mission to proclaim the Gospel -- touches her own origins and inner being. Preaching the word of God and proclaiming the name of the Lord Jesus throughout the world will always be needed by the people of God.

It is the Order's high duty to preach, to be concerned with preaching, to wish it to be done in the best way possible, to be distressed when it is not being done, sad when it is not being done well, disappointed when another message is announced in place of God's word. The Dominican task is to study, explore, and discover better, more effective, and newer ways of disseminating the Gospel message. It will ever be the Order's duty to prepare the way for the coming or deepening of faith in those who hear the message. Everything the Dominican does, he must link to spreading the Word of God. Even when doing work that seems only distantly related to preaching, he must motivate it toward the proclamation of the word. He must therefore remain in close touch with the Scriptures, study them, pray them, guide his own life by them, and spread the good news they contain.

The reader of Dominican history who loves the Order will lament when he reads of times when the Order's river has not flown in full course. He will rejoice when its banks are filled to overflowing, when Dominican men and women in all its branches are implementing the Order's mission to the fullest of their ability.

This work is an overview rather than a detailed account of events. Its originality lies in the marshalling of the contents of Dominican history. Presenting the course of development briefly, it gives but a nod to many issues which would demand extensive treatment in a larger work. It concentrates on showing the Order's growth from the small beginnings of the thirteenth century to a world-wide presence in the twentieth.

The interest of my brethren, and the support of the provincials and councils of the three American provinces of the Order gave me the courage to undertake this work. The hospitality of my Dominican Sisters at Sparkill, New York, and at Springfield, Illinois, whose guest I was when I dictated it, the assistance of Elsie Fillio, my faithful typist, and the help of Fr. Matthew Donahue, have made an enjoyable task doubly pleasant. To all of them my thanks.

Alba House New York
Society of St. Paul,
2197 Victory Blvd.,
Staten Island, New York 113314

Also by Father Hinnebusch:

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Hinnebusch, William A.
    The Dominicans.
    1.     Dominicans-History
BX3506.2 H48     271'.2     74-26562
ISBN     0-8189-0301-5

© Copyright 1975 by the Society of St. Paul


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