The Interrogation of Joan of Arc

By Karen Sullivan | Go to book overview

5
The Inquiry at Rouen

When one considers the clerics participating in Joan’s trial not as scholastics, interested in the speculative truths of theology, but as inquisitors interested in the practical truths of legal matters, one discovers a paradox in their treatment of Joan’s speech during these proceedings. On the one hand, as we have seen, Pierre Maurice compared himself and his fellow clerics to captains-at-arms because he viewed it as their duty to protect the church by refusing to believe people who claimed to have come in God’s name “unless this is established sufficiently otherwise than by their own words” (382).1 Maurice and his colleagues expressed skepticism toward Joan’s allegations that she had heard voices from God because they saw her as providing no “certain sign” (381) to support her assertions. Words, the clerics suggested, are easily spoken, easily misleading, and, for that reason, unreliable as proof in a judicial trial. On the other hand, as we have also seen, Maurice and the other clerics spent twelve days interrogating Joan, and they depended upon her responses during these sessions in formulating their charges against her and their eventual condemnation of her. They do seem to have sought testimony about her aside from her own statements and to have used it in developing their interrogato-

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The Interrogation of Joan of Arc
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Medieval Cultures ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Medieval Cultures viii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - The Fairy Tree 1
  • 2 - The Voices from God 21
  • 3 - The Departure for France 42
  • 4 - The Sign for the King 61
  • 5 - The Inquiry at Rouen 82
  • 6 - The Confession of Conscience 106
  • 7 - The Prison Cell 129
  • Notes 149
  • Selected Bibliography 179
  • Index 199
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