Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Spanish Inquisition, 1478-1614: An Anthology of Sources

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Spanish Inquisition, 1478-1614: An Anthology of Sources

Article excerpt

The Spanish Inquisition, 1478-1614: An Anthology of Sources. Edited and translated by Lu Ann Homza. (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company. 2006. Pp. xlvi, 272. $37.95 clothbound; $12.95 paperback.)

Those of us who teach the history of early modern Spain to undergraduates have long lamented the lack of primary sources in English translation. Lu Ann Homza has gone a long way toward filling that gap with this excellent anthology of sources. Homza provides a judicious selection of documents that chronicle the Spanish Inquisition from its establishment by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1478 to root out crypto-Jews to the expulsion of the Moriscos carried out under Phillip III between 1611 and 1614. She recovers many voices from late fifteenth-, sixteenth-, and early seventeenth-century Spain, of defendants, witnesses, politicians, and the ecclesiastical judges whose zeal for religious orthodoxy and correct legal procedure rendered this one of the most famous, if often misunderstood, judicial institutions in European history.

Homza begins the volume with a helpful, clearly written introduction that explains the inner workings of the Inquisition and traces its Roman and medieval antecedents.The idea of an ecclesiastical court of inquiry was hardly new to late fifteenth-century Spain, she rightly points out. What was unique to the Iberian context was the imperative toward religious and ethnic uniformity after many centuries of continuous, if often fraught, coexistence between Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Moreover, the Catholic Monarchs were highly effective at utilizing religious orthodoxy in their efforts to consolidate power in the crowns of Castile and Aragon. …

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