The Modern Scholar: Heaven or Heresy: A History of the Inquisition

  • by Thomas F. Madden
  • Narrated by Thomas F. Madden
  • 8 hrs and 30 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

For many, the Inquisition conjures Gothic images of cloaked figures and barbarous torture chambers. So enmeshed is this view of the Inquisition in popular culture that such scenes play out even in comedies such as Mel Brooks' History of the World and Monty Python's Flying Circus. But is this a fair portrayal? And how was the Inquisition perceived in its own time? Professor Thomas F. Madden of Saint Louis University delivers a stimulating series of lectures exploring all facets of the Inquisition, including the religious and political climate of its time and the Inquisition's relationship to heresy and reformation. With a scholarly eye and infectious enthusiasm, widely published author and noted expert on pre-modern European history Thomas Madden imparts an understanding of the Spanish and Roman Inquisitions while dispelling popular myths associated with the subject.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Bad news and good

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.
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- papaworx

Some of the best info on the Inquistion out there

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.
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- Trevor

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-27-2008
  • Publisher: Recorded Books