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The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision (1965)
by Henry Kamen
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)
"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.
2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.
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