The Inquisition in the Later Medieval and Renaissance Eras

During the Late Middle Ages and the early Renaissance, the concept and scope of the Inquisition significantly expanded. Introduction The Inquisition, in historical ecclesiastical parlance also referred to as the “Holy Inquisition”, was a group of institutions within the Catholic Church whose aim was to combat heresy. The Inquisition started in 12th-century France to combat[…]

The First Medieval Inquisitions against the Cathars and Waldensians

The Cathars were first noted in the 1140s in Southern France, and the Waldensians around 1170 in Northern Italy. Introduction The Medieval Inquisition was a series of Inquisitions (Catholic Church bodies charged with suppressing heresy) from around 1184, including the Episcopal Inquisition (1184–1230s) and later the Papal Inquisition (1230s). The Medieval Inquisition was established in[…]

A Brief History of Christian Inquisitions

The notion of religious liberty and of freedom of conscience was not recognized. Introduction Inquisition, (capitalized I) as broadly used, refers to the judgment of heresy by the Roman Catholic Church with the cooperation of the secular authorities. It can mean an ecclesiastical tribunal or institution of the Roman Catholic Church for combating or suppressing[…]

The Spanish Inquisition: Historical Context for Don Quixote

As vast as the Spanish empire was during Cervantes time, the empire found itself engaged in numerous conflicts. By Alison KruegerDepartment of Spanish and PortugueseColumbia University The Rise of Spain from the End of the Reconquest In 711, Muslims from North Africa invaded much of the Spanish Peninsula.  Shortly after, and for the next several[…]

Theocratic Tyranny: The Late Medieval to Early Modern Inquisition

Originally established in the 13th century to combat heretical groups, the Inquisition became a sophisticated, global operation in the early modern period. Introduction From movies to metal bands to Monty Python (“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”), the Holy Office of the Inquisition has retained a powerful place in popular imagination. For many, this image is[…]