In praeclara summorum

In praeclara summorum (Among the many celebrated geniuses) is the eleventh encyclical of Pope Benedict XV, published on 30 April 1921, for the occasion of the sixth centenary of the death of Dante. It is dedicated to the memory of the poet.

Teodolinda Barolini claims that the encyclical is part of a continuing attempt by Catholic orthodoxy to appropriate Dante and ignore Dante's heterodox opinions.[1]

Natalia Z. Zazulina argues that "Benedict XV knew classical literature very well", and views this encyclical as an expression of his love for it. She states that "experts on Dante’s works compared the encyclical In praeclara with a full doctorate, where in addition to in-depth analysis of Dante’s religious poetry the author showed himself as a serious connoisseur of his work, history and Italian language".[2]

It is one of a series of five encyclicals of Benedict XV, each constituting a kind of monograph on important characters in the history of the Church; along with this encyclical, the others are: Spiritus paraclitus, 1920, on St. Jerome; Principi Apostolorum Petro, 1920, on St. Ephrem the Syrian; Sacra propediem, 1921, on St. Francis of Assisi, and Fausto appetente die, 1921, on St. Dominic.