The Modern Scholar: Heaven or Heresy: A History of the Inquisition

  • by Thomas F. Madden
  • Narrated by Thomas F. Madden
  • 8 hrs and 30 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

For many, the Inquisition conjures Gothic images of cloaked figures and barbarous torture chambers. So enmeshed is this view of the Inquisition in popular culture that such scenes play out even in comedies such as Mel Brooks' History of the World and Monty Python's Flying Circus. But is this a fair portrayal? And how was the Inquisition perceived in its own time? Professor Thomas F. Madden of Saint Louis University delivers a stimulating series of lectures exploring all facets of the Inquisition, including the religious and political climate of its time and the Inquisition's relationship to heresy and reformation. With a scholarly eye and infectious enthusiasm, widely published author and noted expert on pre-modern European history Thomas Madden imparts an understanding of the Spanish and Roman Inquisitions while dispelling popular myths associated with the subject.

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an opinion piece

A very interesting set of lectures. I had enjoyed his set on Venice and would recommend it. I was concerned by how partial he was. He appears to be an apologist for the inquistion. I am sure he is correct that the inquisition was a varied set of processes and he did a good job describing the subtleties of it in a historical context but he seemed not to be able to accept that the catholic church was run by earthly men who might also have had political motives for tourturing heretics and sending many to their deaths for expressing contray views. He seems to say that Galilao had it coming for being wrong, which is a little unfair i feel. He does not give Protestant Christians much of the same slack. For example Mary I of England and Elizabeth I had roughly the same number of people killed for religious reasons (Elizabeth over a longer period of time) but he implies that Elizabeth had much more killed. He also says that witch trials and executions with coerced testimony was a protestant procedure when in fact it happened in both Protestant and Catholic areas and the standard of evidence was variable in both juristdictions. He suggests that the inquisition would not accept falseified testimony but the Basque trials would be an example were this many false confessions were clearly obtained. Definately worth a listen but possibly not as balenced as it could be.
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- Curly

Book Details

  • Release Date: 27-10-2008
  • Publisher: Recorded Books