Drawing on the latest research by American, British and European scholars, this book challenges the reputation of the Spanish Inquisition as an instrument of religious persecution, torture and repression. The author traces the history of the Spanish Inquisition from 1478 when it was founded, through its agenda against dissenters, to its demise and abolition in the early nineteenth century. Taking account of the work of a new generation of international historians, she demonstrates that the Inquisition was a far less brutal instrument of control than hitherto envisaged, that torture and the death penalty were only rarely applied, and then almost exclusively during the early years of its history. The book also draws attention to the wider role of the Inquisition as an educative force in society that strengthened the bonds between church and state.
"Rawlings has made a valuable contribution to the field. She has successfully constructed a thought-provoking, analytical precis of some of the most essential studies of her subject. She has emphasized the complicated and contingent nature of the Inquisition's practices in a manner accessible to any interested reader." (European History Quarterly, January 2009)
"Offers insights into a much mythologised and maligned phenomenon and, historiographically, it's bang up to date." (BBC History Magazine)
"Helen Rawling's The Spanish Inquisition is an excellent introduction to this complex and controversial subject." (H-Net Reviews)
"Solid virtues and thoughtful care ... have gone into this contribution." (Bulletin of Spanish Studies)
"Makes for compelling reading and for a perfect test case against which to measure all the revisionist history that Rawlings so aptly summarises." (Journal of Ecclesiastical History)
List of Maps and Plates.
1 The Historiography of the Inquisition.
Sixteenth and Seventeenth-century Literature.
The Black Legend.
Eighteenth and Nineteenth-century Literature.
The Inquisitorial Data-bank.
The Four Seasons of the Inquisition.
2 The Inquisition as an Institution.
The Office of Inquisitor General.
The Council of Inquisition.
The Inquisition in the Provinces.
The Procedures of the Inquisition.
The Auto de Fe.
The Finances of the Inquisition.
Inquisitors General of Castile and Aragon, 1483--1818 (Appendix).
3 The Inquisition and the Converso.
Anti-semitic Tensions in Spanish Society.
The Statutes of Limpieza de Sangre.
The Beginnings of the Spanish Inquisition.
The Expulsion of the Jews.
The Portuguese New Christians.
4 The Inquisition and the Morisco.
1492--1525: Coexistence and Conversion.
1560--1570: Coercion and Revolt in Granada.
1570--1600: The End of Tolerance in Aragon.
1600-1609: The Route to Expulsion.
1609--1614: The Aftermath.
5 The Inquisition and Protestantism.
Illuminism and Humanism under Attack.
Innovation in Religious Life Condemned.
The Protestant Challenge, 1558--1559.
Inquisitorial Censorship and the 1559 Index.
Biblical Scholarship under Scrutiny.
6 The Inquisition and Minor Heresy.
(b) Bigamy and Sexual Promiscuity.
(d) Superstition and Witchcraft.
7 The Decline and Abolition of the Inquisition.
The Inquisition under the Bourbons.
The Cortes of Cadiz, 1810--1813.
Restoration and Abolition, 1814--1823.
The balance of History.
Bibliography and References.