Farmers for the kingdom of Heaven. Agrarian catechisms in southern Italy in the late enlightenment and the limitations of technical publications

part of Nearly five centuries of science books

Catechism, a literary genre of a religious origin, was once employed in the teaching of ‘lay’ subjects, especially of a technical nature. This is a review of this past editorial tradition which illustrates the potentialities and the limitations of agrarian catechisms, with a special focus on their spreading across Southern Italy in the late Enlightenment. This paper reflects on whether a book was the best instrument to hand down procedures and notions to people who supposedly were illiterate or unschooled.