Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Inquisitors and Heretics in Thirteenth-Century Languedoc. Edition and Translation of Toulouse Inquisition Depositions, 1273-1282

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Inquisitors and Heretics in Thirteenth-Century Languedoc. Edition and Translation of Toulouse Inquisition Depositions, 1273-1282

Article excerpt

Inquisitors and Heretics in Thirteenth-Century Languedoc. Edition and Translation of Toulouse Inquisition Depositions, 1273-1282. Edited by Peter Biller, Caterina Bruschi, and Shelagh Sneddon. [Studies in the History of Christian Traditions, Vol. 147.] (Leiden: Brill. 2011. Pp. xvi, 1088. $209-00. ISBN 978-9-004-18810-5.)

Deposited in the Bibliothèque Nationale is a vast collection of 258 volumes containing copies of documents from Languedoc, created in the seventeenth century under the supervision of Jean de Doat at the behest of Colbert, Louis XTVs chief minister. Colbert was primarily interested in maintaining the rights of the Crown, but, for modern historians, the great benefit has been the preservation of swathes of documents that would otherwise have been lost. The Doat copies are by no means perfect, but they are good enough to enable the publication of this fine edition of volumes 25 and 26 containing depositions made in Toulouse between 1273 and 1282, mostly before Pons of Parnac and Ranulph of Plassac. The production of the original registers was, in part, the consequence of a crackdown led by King Philip ??, following the death of Alphonse of Poitiers in 1271, when the lands concerned fell to the Crown. A minor revival of Catharism in the 1260s, together with a revolt by Roger-Bernard G?, count of Foix, in 1272, reinforced the king's desire to assert his rights. The editors have two audiences in mindfirst, specialists in heresy and the history of the Inquisition, for whom they have reproduced as literal a version as possible; and second, readers who might wish to learn more about these subjects but lack the expertise to use the Doat copies more directly, for whom there is a parallel English translation. The translation will be particularly attractive to undergraduates planning dissertations, as it offers the possibility of studies in depth of some of the many human stories to be found here, as well as presenting an intriguing methodological challenge.

The material has rich potential. The inquiries took place during what is now realized to have been a period of transition, since the institutional outlines of the Inquisition were beginning to emerge, culminating in the more developed structure that can be seen in the early-fourteenth century. …

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