Inquisition and controversy

One of the most infamous movements of religious regulation in the history of the Church, the Inquisition began in Spain as part of a fundamentally islamophobic and antisemitic effort to regulate the orthodoxy of converts from Islam and Judaism. During the Reformation, that attention was turned on Protestants, and expanded to include the equally infamous Index of prohibited books. The Inquisition naturally spawned a vast anti-Catholic literature that documented and exaggerated the violence and censorship committed by the Catholic Church and the Spanish crown. Closely based on a work by the Spanish theologian and bible-translator Casiodoro de Reina called Sanctae Inquisitionis Hispanicae artes aliquot detectae, printed at Heidelberg in 1567, this long anti-Inquisitorial tract comes packaged as its title page advertises with an equally long anti-Jesuit one. The emphasis of its title on revelation conjures an approach to historiography that discovers hidden or forgotten things. Chronicling the violence of the Inquisition in detail, it points to a contemporary desire to record and transmit that knowledge as a means of resisting it, as well as the rhetorical utility of combining a condemnation of cruelty with an ideological dispute. Published simultaneously in German by the same Amberg printer, it also suggests a multilingual readership at several levels of learning and with varying attachments to the emergent history of the Inquisition.

Hispanicae inquisitionis & carnificinae secretiora (Ambergae: Johannem Schönfeldium, 1611).

LPL: H1735.(B3)

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