This volume is a critical assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of Spain's Catholic identity in the early modern period. Traditionally the Spanish Church has been seen as a major bastion of orthodoxy and intolerance, closely associated with the authoritarian power of the Crown and the repressive force of the Inquisition. Modern historians now see the Church as a much more complex and diverse institution in which tolerance and conservatism coexisted. The text provides evidence of the survival of multiculturalism in Spanish society, the extent of innovative trends in religious scholarship, the partial nature of ecclesiastical reform, the vitality of popular religious culture and the shortcomings of the missionary enterprise overseas. Spain's religious heritage is distinguished by the drive for conformity on the one hand and the endurance of a vibrant inclusive tradition on the other.
HELEN RAWLINGS is a lecturer in the School of Modern Languages at the University of Leicester.