The Inner Lives of Medieval Inquisitors by Karen Sullivan

By Karen Sullivan

There were quite a few stories in contemporary a long time of the medieval inquisitions, such a lot emphasizing higher social and political conditions and neglecting the function of the inquisitors themselves. during this quantity, Karen Sullivan sheds much-needed mild on those participants and divulges they'd choices—both the alternative of even if to play a component within the orthodox repression of heresy and, extra usually, the alternative of no matter if to technique heretics with zeal or with charity.

           

In successive chapters on key figures within the heart Ages—Bernard of Clairvaux, Dominic Guzmán, Conrad of Marburg, Peter of Verona, Bernard Gui, Bernard Délicieux, and Nicholas Eymerich—Sullivan exhibits that it really is attainable to figure every one inquisitor making own, ethical offerings as to what plan of action he could take. All medieval clerics well-known that the church may still first try to right heretics via repeated admonitions and that, if those admonitions failed, it may then stream towards apart from them from society. but extra charitable clerics most well-liked to attend for conversion, whereas zealous clerics most well liked to not hold up too lengthy sooner than sending heretics to the stake. by means of contemplating now not the exterior prosecution of heretics in the course of the Middles a long time, however the inner motivations of the preachers and inquisitors who pursued them, as represented of their writings and in these in their friends, The internal Lives of Medieval Inquisitors explores the way it is that the main idealistic of reasons can result in the justification of such darkish ends.

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A chronicle, composed by a Catholic cleric, may be expected to take the perspective of the Church, to which its author is affiliated, but it can also take the point of view of the town, the region, or the kingdom, to which he is no less connected. Though, as a member of the Church, the author may seem likely to support the inquisitor, as a member of these other communities, he can at times end up rejecting him. A saint’s life may be expected to celebrate the strengths of the holy person in question, but it can also acknowledge his weaknesses, in a way that can seem contrary to its own purpose.

Between 1231 and 1233, Conrad of Marburg, probably a secular priest, pursued countless numbers of accused heretics in Germany with a ferocity that led to his own assassination at the hands of knights allied with those he was prosecuting. Between 1251 and 1252, Peter of Verona, a Dominican friar, likewise pursued accused heretics in Lombardy and likewise met a violent death as a result. In the aftermath of the Albigensian Crusade, which had established the power of the Church to crush lords who tolerated heretics on their lands, both clerics exercised an authority to apprehend, interrogate, and judge suspected heretics that Bernard and Dominic had lacked.

While John was able to make this remark with impunity in the early twelfth century, Moore observes, he would possibly have run into trouble for making it in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, and he would definitely have run into trouble on its account in the sixteenth century. If John is able to express skepticism about witches, it is not so much because of his own individual insight but because of the historical circumstances in which he lived, which allowed him to express and even in some way to entertain this view.

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