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The Italian Inquisition, or Holy Office, was established in 1542, stimulated partly by the earlier Spanish operation. Certainly Spain's 'black legend' affected opinions of the Inquisition in Italy, but as this pioneering book shows, there were significant differences between their operations, targets and casualties.
In this new history of the Italian Inquisition, Christopher Black charts how it changed and developed, from the centre to the localities, up to the late eighteenth century. Ranging through all Italy, Black uncovers Inquisitional procedure from denunciation to punishment. He considers its varying targets, from religious dissidents, practitioners of magic and 'living saints', to attempts to censor vernacular Bibles, licentious fiction, and the new philosophies, bringing both Giordano Bruno and Galileo to trial. Black also maps the Inquisition's cumbersome system of command, supervision and action, and reveals its role as a surprisingly approachable regulatory body working within communities.
Rooting his enquiry in striking individual cases, Black's scrupulous and richly rewarding book shows how this famous and often infamous institution shaped Italy's religious and social worlds.
Christopher Black is Professor of History at the University of Glasgow. His previous books include 'Early Modern Italy: A Social History' and 'Church, Religion and Society in Early Modern Italy'.
Christopher Black is professor of history at the University of Glasgow. His previous books include Early Modern Italy: A Social History and Church, Religion and Society in Early Modern Italy.