Péter Pázmány’s Process of Enquiry. His Family, Catholicisation, Missions (With the Papers of the Pázmány–Tholdy Archives)

tom. 6
Péter Tusor

Péter Pázmány’s Process of Enquiry. His Family, Catholicisation, Missions. (With the Papers of the Pázmány–Tholdy Archives) (CVH II/6), revealed, translated and with accompanying study and documents edited by PÉTER TUSOR, Budapest–Rome 2017. 462 p. + 3 suppl. (2 pictures, 1 map) Digital supplements: http://institutumfraknoi.hu/repositorium/frascati

The volume is decisively of biographical, prosopographical and genealogical nature. The source that serves as its basis combines traditional historical genres, occasionally with microphilological thoroughness. By being connected with the illustrious historical discourse of the Pázmány-research it presents how and in what measure the processus informativus, this unique and important sequential type of source of the Vatican, can be exploited and give an excess to the existing researches and Hungarian sources. Nonetheless, the perspectives that the Italian private archives can offer in order to make Hungarian history better known (and understood) are presented.

The possibility of the further scientific exploitation is primarily connected to the Pázmány-research, as well. The specified and modified data of certain careers and the family circumstances can be reflected in his literary work. It remains the task of the history of literature to re-read the works of Pázmány – following the method of Miklós Őry – and to find bases along newer biographical results, or even to raise objections. The same is held to our observations concerning his literary work.

The analysis of the archive of the Pázmány–Tholdy family, revealed through research, their documents’ richness in data and the nature of the historian’s narrative, which relies upon those data and radically diverges from the text of the verbal-analysis proves that the process and the family archive practically “talk at cross purposes”. The one does not cover the lack of the other. Moreover, they complement each other. The famous phrase of László Fejérpataky: “The history of Hungary cannot be written without the knowledge of the archives of Italy and mainly the Vatican”, is current, however, not primarily due to the loss of data in Hungary, since that is irrecoverable. The phrase is relevant, because the archives of Italy (could) preserve such data for us that can be unreachable in Hungary even under ideal source conditions.

The volume is of interest of both the professional and wider circle of readers due to the revealment of primary sources and the conducted basic research. The testimony of the witnesses (for example of such well-known persons that Bálint Lépes and Lőrinc Ferenczffy) of September 1616 about Pázmány and his career to the archbishopric chair can be read in the volume also in Hungarian translation. Their words reveal the family of Pázmány, his catholicisation, his studies in Kolozsvár and his missionary and polemical activity. In the presentation of Pázmány’s role appears the world of transition from Reformation to Counter Reformation from a so far unknown aspect. The documents of the newly revealed Pázmány-Tholdy family archives lead us to the ambiance of Várad of the 1570s and 1580s. The everyday life of the nobles of this country of Calvinist majority, that had been since some decades already Protestant, comes alive due to the documents of the Protestant Pázmánys and the Catholic Tholdys. That milieu, in which Pázmány lived as a child and returned occasionally as a student of Kolozsvár before at the age of 18 he left forever his fatherland. The ancestors of the Pázmánys, the lawsuits between members of the family, the masterfulness and gaining of estates of the ambitious father, Miklós, and the financial conditions of the family are also outlined. In connection with the investigation of a murder case the decaying estate and the inhabitants of Panasz, who were mostly the serfs of the Pázmánys, evoke the world of the village. The most interesting Hungarian language sources can be found in the Appendix in their full length. In addition to the genealogical, biographical and family history data they prove us also that the religious movements of the mid-16th century left the late-medieval, humanist-legal culture of Várad fundamentally untouched and they did not bring any basic change in the family strategies motivated by the possibilities of social rise.