©2007 Thomas F. Madden; (P)2007 Recorded Books
This covers a lot of history, starting with the Roman origins of inquisitions. The lecturer is very well informed though he does seem to go out of his way to defend the church every few minutes. Even so, he presents the history most have never really looked into in a way that's easy to follow and retain.
While classroom lectures are not as well-read as some of the Times Bestseller fiction novels, the teacher doesn't do a bad job and gives great info on the Inquisition.
Most importantly, one is able to try to understand WHY a sane person would support such a practice. From this vantage point of history, the Inquisitors seem out of their skulls, but I appreciated the professor's lectures precisely because the picture that came through was of rational men taking their beliefs to a logical end. It was enlightening to try to get into their shoes.
The lectures kept me interested. I suspect Dr. Madden is a strong Catholic, but every author and every teacher is biased.
I like Madden's courses, and this one did not disappoint, however, the history of Inquisition stopped being interesting after the Reformation, although the course touched on the modern misconception of the Inquisition, the course could have been more interesting if it focuses more on the heretical theology.
This is a deeply troubling lecture series. Delivered at a reputable college (St. Louis University), the author insists that the Inquisition had its heart in the right place and only meant to spread the word of God through Europe. He implies that the widespread torture and murder of Jews and other minorities was simply a overzealous extension of a perfectly reasonable idea.
Madden glosses over the atrocity that was the Inquisition in favor of a Catholic-friendly "explanation" of why things happened.
There are some interesting historical details here -- and it's fascinating to hear the story from the villain's POV -- but it's jaw-dropping that this is how generations of Catholic students are taught the darkest period in their faith's history.
This lecture, to me, was a big disappointment. Prof. Madden's implied, but not well disguised assertion is that the Catholic Church is inherently right and has no other objectives than to safeguard the spiritual welfare of its believers. Heresy, then, is inherently evil since it could possibly derail the flock from the path of righteousness. Consequently, inquistion is the only logical solution to protect the true and only faith. The heretics are lucky to be protected by the compassion of Canon law. After all, only a few thousand Jews and conversos were executed in Spain. Unfortunately, few historic sources were quoted for these assertions.
But not all is lost. The halting delivery and meagre prose will convince few listeners other than adherents of Opus Dei.
The lecturer tries to appear neutral, but especially toward the end, he becomes a hardcore apologist for the Catholic church. The purpose of the whole lecture is just to defend the torture and murder of the Inquisition and downplay anything negative. The lecturer seems to think it was okay to torture and kill those "stubborn and rebellious" people who refused to believe in Catholicism. Truly sick. This shouldn't be called "Modern Scholar." It should be called "Modern Catholic Apologist."
incredibly, likely willfully naive - the professor thinks that 'heretics' were 'persuaded' of their errors and recanted having realized this. his basic assertion is that unlike the state, the church only sought to correct. he has never heard of Power, as in requiring loyalty oaths to maintain power. church and state were two mutually sustaining parts.
above is based on listening to the audio up to the inquisition - i had to give it up. hoping audible will refund my $.
"an opinion piece"
A very interesting set of lectures. I had enjoyed his set on Venice and would recommend it. I was concerned by how partial he was. He appears to be an apologist for the inquistion. I am sure he is correct that the inquisition was a varied set of processes and he did a good job describing the subtleties of it in a historical context but he seemed not to be able to accept that the catholic church was run by earthly men who might also have had political motives for tourturing heretics and sending many to their deaths for expressing contray views. He seems to say that Galilao had it coming for being wrong, which is a little unfair i feel. He does not give Protestant Christians much of the same slack. For example Mary I of England and Elizabeth I had roughly the same number of people killed for religious reasons (Elizabeth over a longer period of time) but he implies that Elizabeth had much more killed. He also says that witch trials and executions with coerced testimony was a protestant procedure when in fact it happened in both Protestant and Catholic areas and the standard of evidence was variable in both juristdictions. He suggests that the inquisition would not accept falseified testimony but the Basque trials would be an example were this many false confessions were clearly obtained. Definately worth a listen but possibly not as balenced as it could be.
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