The encounter between Gabriele De Rosa and Don Giuseppe De Luca – considered by De Rosa to have been ‘memorable’ – took place in 1944 or 1945, before the end of World War II. In 1943, in December, after a few years of gestation, thanks to De Luca, Edizioni di Storia e Letturatura was founded: 30 December was in fact the day on which the first book came out, with the emblem of a little ship, in reference to the ‘safe ship’ spoken of by Plato in the Phaedo, the ship of ‘divine reason’. It was Franco Rodano, leader of the Catholic Communists, to introduce De Luca and De Rosa. Abandoning his political aspirations, De Rosa, guided by De Luca, who introduced him to Luigi Sturzo, began the path that would lead him to innovate study of the history of the Catholic movement, ecclesiastical structures and ‘religious experience’. Upon De Luca’s death in 1962, a few scholars decided to continue the publishing enterprise: in addition to De Rosa were, among others, Berthold Louis Ullman, Paul Oskar Kristeller, Arnaldo Momigliano, Augusto Campana, Vittore Branca, Romana Guarnieri, Armando Saitta and Paolo Prodi. De Rosa was named chief administrator of the publishing house, but he also took on direction of scholarship. He had a different methodological approach than that of the intellectual De Luca, which was inevitably felt in the editorial choices, with the publication of volumes on social and religious history and with the foundation of series like the ‘Thesaurus Ecclesiarum Italiae’, which privilege documentation of pastoral visits, documentation that De Luca did not cite in his famous Introduzione alla storia della pietà (Introduction to the history of piety).
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