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The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical…
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The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision (1965)

by Henry Kamen

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Showing 5 of 5
In this completely updated edition of Henry Kamen’s classic survey of the Spanish Inquisition, the author incorporates the latest research in multiple languages to offer a new—and thought-provoking—view of this fascinating period. Kamen sets the notorious Christian tribunal into the broader context of Islamic and Jewish culture in the Mediterranean, reassesses its consequences for Jewish culture, measures its impact on Spain’s intellectual life, and firmly rebuts a variety of myths and exaggerations that have distorted understandings of the Inquisition. He concludes with disturbing reflections on the impact of state security organizations in our own time.
  GalenWiley | Apr 9, 2015 |
This is a very well researched study of a notorious historical event by a repected British historian. In it the author traces the Inquisition's various classes of victims. These included the conversos (recent Jewish converts to Catholicism, who composed the majority of the Inquisition's victims), followers of the humanist Erasmus, Lutherans and other Protestants (including foreigners), Moriscos (recent Muslim converts), and Catholics whom the tribunal deemed ``heretical,'' often on flimsy evidence. The history demonstrates a particular example of the treatment of "the other" in history. Notably this history provides context for assessing the "Spanish" inquisition by comparison with other examples of intolerance; in the Netherlands there was an equally brutal inquisition. The Protestant mythologizing of the Inquisition is criticized while Kamen occasionally over-relativizes the Inquisition, going so far as to say that it created no new problems for Spain. Yet the strengths of Kamen's work, which undoubtedly will prove controversial, far exceed its shortcomings. This is a well-written history of an infamous event and worth consideration by all who are interested in European or politico-religious history. ( )
  jwhenderson | Feb 28, 2013 |
Cover design by Francis Mosley
  chase.donaldson | Apr 25, 2010 |
Kamen's thesis is that the Inquisition was like it's reputation states. It did not burn or torture as many people as we think, and it was not especially nightmarish in its admittedly terrible activities, unless you happened to be descended from Spanish or Portuguese Jews. It mostly reflected the prejudices and assumptions of the society that produced it, and its flaws were nothing unusual or unexpected in that society. He offers a history of the Inquisition from its founding by Ferdinand and Isabella to its extinction in the 19th century, and that history presents an interesting viewpoint of Spanish history overall. This is the earlier edition of Kamen's book. He added more material to support his ideas in a new edition in the 1990s. ( )
  baobab | Feb 18, 2010 |
Kamen's is a foundational work in the literature of the Inquisition. Other scholarship has since revised some of Kamen's theses; however his remains worthy of attention of the serious student of the subject ( )
  AlexTheHunn | Mar 1, 2006 |
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"In this completely updated edition of Henry Kamen's classic survey of the Spanish Inquisition, the author incorporates the latest research in multiple languages to offer a new-and thought-provoking-view of this fascinating period. Kamen sets the notorious Christian tribunal into the broader context of Islamic and Jewish culture in the Mediterranean, reassesses its consequences for Jewish culture, measures its impact on Spain's intellectual life, and firmly rebuts a variety of myths and exaggerations that have distorted understandings of the Inquisition. He concludes with disturbing reflections on the impact of state security organizations in our own time"--
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0300078803, Paperback)

Mention the Spanish Inquisition and immediately thoughts of brutal torture and callous witch-hunts spring to mind. Popular belief holds up this infamous institution as a symbol of religious and political intolerance--against the Protestants, Jews, Catholic heretics, and political orders such as the Knights Templar. Yet when Henry Kamen first wrote The Spanish Inquisition in 1965, he argued that the Inquisition was not as powerful or cruel as commonly conceived.

This updated version of Kamen's hypothesis continues and reaffirms his original arguments. In this edition, Kamen provides additional evidence derived mostly from monographic studies conducted by other scholars that separates myth from reality; Kamen suggests that the Inquisition did not enjoy widespread popularity, in Spain or the rest of Europe, and that it was used as a device to scare off enemies. He also concludes that the failure of the Spanish populace to accept Lutheran principles had more to do with popular indifference toward Protestantism than interference from the Inquisition. Though Kamen's book is occasionally lacking in social analysis, this revisionist overview of the Inquisition's impact on Europe is rich in detail and will appeal to anyone who has an interest in this period.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:53 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"Since the sixteenth century, the Spanish inquisition has been synonymous with terror, bigotry, and persecution. In this book, a renowned historian sweeps away old misconceptions and presents a new view of this notorious and fascinating period." "Henry Kamen reassesses the significance and consequences of the expulsion of the Jews and also argues that there is little evidence for the alleged Jewishness of the conversos who were the Inquisition's first victims. He presents a major revision of the impact of blood purity prejudices on Spanish society, revises the figures given for execution of heretics by the tribunal, and examines the amount of Spanish persecution in the context of executions in neighboring countries. He gives a completely new picture of the infamous censorship system, showing it to be much less effective than is often presented, and he investigates the role played by foreign propaganda in the creation of the diabolic image of the Inquisition."--Jacket.… (more)

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Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300078803, 0300075227

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