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Death Toll[edit]

Is it possible to provide an entimated range of deaths from the whole series of historical Inquisitions added together? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:08, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

No it isn't hsince the actual death toll was much smaller than we might imagine. Of course the Inquisition was a pretty reprehensible institution but that was just a result of the age it was living in. The death toll for killing heretics was much bigger if you consider the actions of the various states, kings, dukes and other lords than if you just look at the Inquisition because basically in those times heresy was regarded as a crime against the STATE, as treson towards your lord, pretty much as terrorism is today. That was the general opinion at the time. Of course it's stupid but that's what people used to believe back then. As you might imagine, the various kings and lords had little concern if a particular heretic or somebody who was just accused of heresy recanted or not or if he was actually guilty or not. Just as it would happen with an accusation of terrorism today, one you're suspected, it's over. Of course the Church didn't really like that. Anyway you might want to listen to the lectures of Thomas F. Madden from the University of Missouri, St. Louis, or really read any SCIENTIFIC historical work by a modern historian (but I really mean a scientific historical work nut just something written for purposes of popularisation of science you know, not something written for everyone, because those things are afraid to challange popular views today, sometimes at the expense of the truth.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Omulurimaru (talkcontribs) 22:36, 27 August 2010 (UTC) well if you add all the estimates it would probably add up to 75,000 + —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:15, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

There are undocumented estimates of 40,000 over 400 years, or about 100 per year for 400 years.Santamoly (talk) 01:40, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Secular courts administered punishment[edit]

An editor has deleted without comment this statement "In practice, the Inquisition would not pronounce sentence, but handed over convicted heretics to secular authorities." Since it was not footnoted, I didn't revert it. But it is true, of course, and needs reinsertion whenever someone can come up with a footnote. Thanks. Student7 (talk) 12:49, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

It is emphatically correct that it was the secular courts who administered the (more vile of) the punishments. The Inquisition Tribunal, IF they found someone guilty of heresy, they could only excommunicate that person. Which didn't really mean much. I mean various kings were excommunicated all the time without much consequence. The thing is that the decision of an Inquisition Tribunal was regarded as full conclusive evidence in a criminal court (run by the king, duke or another lord). And in those times the various states and their rulers (kings, dukes, counts, other lords) regarded heresy as treason against them, as a crime against the state. And also the popular opinion was really geared against it, it was almost considered as dangerous as we view terrorism today. Of course it sounds silly and it actually is kind of really stupid but that used to be the consensus at the time. As you might imagine for a king or lord, once someone was suspected of heresy they would have loved to burn them without any further fuss (pretty much as it happens with terrorism today) and they didn't really like the Inquisition since they could actually establish that the guy wasn't guilty. In any case the death penalty was a punishmnent pronounced by the criminal courts of the crown/state/lords for heresy and the punishment was then administered by the state/lord. SOURCE: "Heaven or Heresy: A History of the Inquisition" by Thomas F. Madden, the Chair of the History Department at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri (he actually has a wikipedia page and the book is available as an audiobook and it at least used to be available for free) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Omulurimaru (talkcontribs) 22:45, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

There is a useful description of this procedure described in the Introduction to The Marrano Factory: the Portuguese Inquistion and its New Christians 1536-1765 at . There's enough text shown on line to read the complete Introduction including a description of the final disposition of cases. Santamoly (talk) 01:53, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I removed the WHICH tag from that sentence, as it's answered in one of the citations, the other is a dead link, which I'll remove shortly. In the citation site, which is the Catholic Encyclopedia and the nations are listed in scattered places throughout the article.Wzrd1 (talk) 04:07, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
OK, I tried to tag the two dead links as dead, but don't know the proper syntax for it. Can someone kindly show me the CORRECT way to enter it?Wzrd1 (talk) 04:23, 24 February 2012 (UTC)


One paragraph says that the church felt threatened by what it perceived as the schism of the church. I'm not sure that the Protestants did not perceive this in a similar fashion. Luther felt (probably correctly at the time) that he had to take true believers away from the pollution of Rome. Henry VIII was just doing it for political reasons. In the case of the latter, he never thought of the result as any more than "The Catholic Church of England", a straight derivative of the RC Church. Student7 (talk) 18:28, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Quite true, the Protestants perceived it in quite a similar fashion and in fact many Protestants had their own Inquision in order to find those who held the heresy of Papism. But arguably there were other Protestants who simply dismantled the Inquisitions in thier areas. This was getting much more on the side of a political struggle rather than an inquest by a State or Church authority. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Omulurimaru (talkcontribs) 01:34, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

number of victims[edit]

Dear friends, are there any figures about the number of victims? Regards
‫·‏לערי ריינהארט‏·‏T‏·‏m‏:‏Th‏·‏T‏·‏email me‏·‏‬ 01:59, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

The Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 says, "How many victims were handed over to the civil power cannot be stated with even approximate accuracy. We have nevertheless some valuable information about a few of the Inquisition tribunals, and their statistics are not without interest. At Pamiers, from 1318 to 1324, out of twenty-four persons convicted but five were delivered to the civil power, and at Toulouse from 1308 to 1323, only forty-two out of nine hundred and thirty bear the ominous note "relictus culiae saeculari". Thus, at Pamiers one in thirteen, and at Toulouse one in forty-two seem to have been burnt for heresy although these places were hotbeds of heresy and therefore principal centres of the Inquisition. We may add, also, that this was the most active period of the institution."
I'm sure there are many people delighted to arrive at figures today. How accurate they are cannot be determined. Student7 (talk) 16:52, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Catholic Encyclopedia is POV. We should have some neutral numbers here.SSPecter Talk|E-Mail 06:41, 4 January 2010 (UTC).
Everything written contains somebody's POV about something. You are supposed to be neutral, but a secondary source will always have some POV baggage. Don't worry about it. Otherwise you'll have to investigate every source's racial origin, faith, ethnic background, politics, etc. Good secondary sources, including Catholic ones, will contain verifiable evidence or proofs. Santamoly (talk) 16:47, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

What is not considered is, how many died during questioning, which would evade the execution count by some amount, possibly substantial, due to techniques utilized.Wzrd1 (talk) 05:36, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Three questions[edit]

1. Estimated number of victims. Why is that information not on this page? In this link it is said that the estimate for Europe as a whole is 2,000,000 million victims. 2. That 'Trivia' section with references to Monty Python or films, etc., is absolutely irrelevant. 3. Shouldn't these mass murders be considered genocide? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:37, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Facts and Number in this link ąre unfounded and unreliable. Total number of the burned witches is less than fifty thousand, not 2 millions or so (see e.g. Brian Levack: The Witch-Hunt in the Early Modern Europe, 2006 or Bengt Ankarloo & Stuart Clark (ed.) Witchcraft and Magic in Europe, Philadelphia 2002, p. 12-16, and other academic publications on the topic). Besides, it concerns Witch hunt, not Inquisition, which had burned merely few percent of the all witches burned in Europe. And there is no reason to treat these events as genocide CarlosPn (talk) 00:01, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

I'm afraid I made a mistake by saying 'genocide' when what I meant was 'massacre'. Anyway, thanks for the reply. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:28, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

And by the way, why is the very first external link to a page that tries to justify the Inquisition 'because it was the morality of the time?'. I find that extremely offensive.

Particularly one of the so-called Myths caught my attention: Myth: The hideous procedures of the Inquisition were unjust, cruel, inhumane, and barbaric. The Inquisition roasted their victims' feet over fire, bricked them up into walls to languish for all eternity, smashed their joints with hammers, and flayed them on wheels.

Reality: Despite the compelling Gothic fictions, the evidence leads us to a wholly different conclusion. The procedures of the Inquisition are well known through a whole series of papal bulls and other authoritative documents, but mainly through such formularies and manuals as were prepared by St. Raymond Peñaforte (c1180-1275), the great Spanish canonist, and Bernard Gui (1261-1331), one of the most celebrated inquisitors of the early 14th Century. The Inquisitors were certainly interrogators, but they were theological experts who followed the rules and instructiones meticulously, and were dismissed and punished when they showed too little regard for justice. When, for example, in 1223 Robert of Bourger gleefully announced his aim to burn heretics, not to convert them, he was immediately suspended and imprisoned for life by Gregory IX.16

The inquisitorial procedures were surprisingly just and even lenient. In contrast with other tribunals throughout Europe at the time, they appear as almost enlightened.

I mean, seriously. This is just blatant lying. The people were burnt alive at stakes. And if you ever visit certain museums all over Europe you'll find examples of the wonderful torture devices that were used, such as Catherine Wheels, racks and whatnot.

I mean, adding such ridiculous link as the first one (or just adding it) is an insult to the readers. And it's a lie. Go grab a History book. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:22, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Thats not an attempt at justification. It's just true. The kind of things they were doing during the inquisition, while reprehensible today, were relatively normal back then. We need to be clear on that to people. Not doing so would suggest that the Inquisition was this shocking and reprehesible thing even by the standards of that time even though it was relatively mild in comparison to what what happening elsewhere in the world.Farsight001 (talk) 11:42, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
In fact, it was as bad as any legal inquisitorial procedures used elsewhere. And if the standard is bad, it don't excuse the church for using it. Let's say the 1st christians started crucifying people because it was a common legal practice by the Romans. Would that (crucifying) be an acceptable practice, then? SSPecter Talk|E-Mail 07:25, 4 January 2010 (UTC).

We could go on and on and never be in accordance. These people were Christians, with the exact same morality that you have now if you are a Christian. Saying that it was normal back then is like saying it would be normal right now. It amazes me that we think that people of other eras were dumb and that we are the very best people that have ever existed, fairer and better than anyone before us. In fact, secular ethics came a long time before Christianity thanks to the Greek thinkers, and some of them seem pretty pacifistic and logical even today. I don't think it's the morality of the time as much as just the corrupted morality of those who were in power at the time: the Church and the State.

Plus, following that simple logic, you would be saying that the Holocaust was okay, because it was also the morality of the people of the time. Terrorist attacks are also okay because they are the morality of those who commit them, and so on. You know, because these things are relatively normal and acceptable nowadays, as we all know. I accept them as perfectly valid. Cheers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:40, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

I just have to be blunt - what planet are you living on? Their doctrines are the same, but the morals are not. What was morally acceptable then is not now. That's the whole point! And then you contradict yourself with "it amazes me that we think that people of other eras were dumb and that we are the very best people that have ever existed". You're the one promoting that idea by trying to minimalize the fact that such behavior was normal centuries ago. Vilifying their actions makes ours look better by comparison, which is exactly the kind of thing you seemed to just have problems with. By clarifying that such behavior was normal then, we actually prevent people from getting the impression that we think ourselves superior.
And the holocaust was not the morality of the time. It was Hitler's way. It was his follower's way. It was not, however, the way of the world, while in contrast, the things that went on during the inquisition were! Again, that's part of the point!Farsight001 (talk) 03:40, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
"the way of the world" So your contention is that atrocities commited by a limited number of zealots in one particular branch of one particular religion was how everybody in the world lived at the time? I think not. (talk) 07:37, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
(deleted own post)I just noticed you're the same user trying to wrile me up over at the CRU hacking incident page. You seem to have followed me here. Thus I say to everyone regarding IP216 - don't feed the WP:TROLL User:Farsight001|Farsight001]] (talk) 10:18, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
In light of that warning, I don't agree with ..149. WP:RELY references support the current article. Student7 (talk) 13:01, 28 December 2009 (U

"It was not, however, the way of the world, while in contrast, the things that went on during the inquisition were! Again, that's part of the point!" I think it's sad that you try to convince yourself about what you're saying with that lame excuse. However I won't argue anymore. Keep telling that to yourself.

"Acceptable" tends to be a standard everywhere at all times. Abortion is "acceptable" nowdays in America. Future generations may be horrified and point to all the literature and call us all "murderers." Would you agree that would be an accurate assessment? Student7 (talk) 12:45, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Anyway, the rationale was, on both sides (there were two), that torturing someone out of heresy was better than their spending eternity in hell; that killing someone "infected" with heresy was better than exposing "healthy" people to them. This is pretty much the standard today for medicine, but not for ideas, but that is just the way it was then. People do not have strong beliefs nowdays. So naturally, they feel superior to these people, who did have strong beliefs. Every generation is "judged" by the next, usually not favorably. And usually without any concept of "mileieu." Student7 (talk) 12:52, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Look, guys, no one is trying to excuse the inquisition here. But as historians, using the scientific method, we have to get to the truth disregarding all other factors. What we have to do is go read the original historical sources (that were written at the time) or scientific material based on those (which is arguably boring since it's scientific; but the stuff written by popular writers for purposes of popularising history is based on secondary or tertiary sources and therefore is bound to get some facts wrong). First of all there was no such thing as one inquisition. The Inquisition was firstly a legal practice equivalent to what we would call today an inquiry or inquest. Over time this practice gave birth to 3 types of institutions that dealt with finding out heresy. These institutions did not pronounce punishments other than excommunication.

These institutions were: the local Ecclesiastical Inquisitions of the local bishops, the Papal Inquisition answerable to the pope and the local secular Inquisitions answerable to the local lord or to the state authority which were, nevertheless, while under the control of the state, religious inquisitions, not criminal courts. Again it was only the criminal courts, which were always under state control, that could pronounce death sentences. The various inquisitions' practiced differed wildly over time and place. For example the Papal Inquisition of the middle ages was regarded in its time as "too lenient" because they were scrupulous about 1) rules of evidence; 2)returning the heretics to the church and declaring them guilty only as a last resort. On the other hand the Spanish Inquisition of the 2 monarchs (Ferdinand and Isabella, who united Spain) was famous for not respecting any rules of evidence (in its first stages) and for being part of basically a mass hysteria. That was because the Spanish Inquisition was formed basically when king Ferdinand started buying into a conspiracy theory that was circulating at the time in Spain, which claimed that the many converts from Judaism to Catholicism, some of whom were very powrful and rich (including some very proeminent Bishops of the Church) were part of a grand Jewish plot to destroy the Church and Spain from within.

Thus the Spanish Inquisitions went wildly against the converts with the aim of basically confiscating their property. They could not go against the Jews since Jews were not Christian. So it all ended when Ferdinand decided to expell all the Jews (roughly half of which decided that it was better to convert than be expelled - of course a large number of those lived as Crypto-Jews, in secret). So you see the truth is much more complex than common belief today, since history is not just a story.

Complicating this complexity is the fact that the state - i.e. kings. dukes, various other lords throughout the Middle Ages viewed heresy as treason against them, treason against the state. So while the Church was really all about returning the heretics to the flock or otherwise, if they didn't want to recant, excommunicating them, the various lords (and also the various local Church authorities) wanted to burn every single person that was even suspected of heresy because even the popular opinion was at the time that heresy is something very dangerous. It was regarded pretty much as we regard terrorism today: a suspicion of it was enough for the state authority to get worried. Of course this opinion looks pretty stupid. In fact it is a very stupid opinion but it was the consensus amongst the European population at the time. We can't realy blame "that Jewish ideology" (i.e. Christianity) for what was the general opinion of most Europeans at the time. And remember that this was going on for a very long time. The Roman Empire had persecuted Christians because there was a general opinion amongst pagan Romans that being a Christian was treasonous to the Roman Empire. I mean one is just blind if they don't see the analogy here. In any case most modern historians will tell you that while the various Inquistions were by no means something "good", and they were by all accounts something that for us today is quite reprehensible, they were a logical and forseeable development in their time, because of the social and political and ideological environment in Europe in the Middle Ages.

Of course for various reasons the Inquisition today is viewed by most of the people in a different way: most people believe that is was this monstruous intitution. And again it wasn't something "good" but then again it was by no account what most people today believe it was. Unfortunately most people today are not historians. Historians, just like any other scientists must apply the scientific method of research when they study history. And for understanding any phenomenon in history we apply the same basic questions: why? how? where? when? And we go to the original sources written in those times. We're sorry the truth is different than the popularly held myth. But the popular opinion about the Inquisition, like any myth, is based upon some core truth but which is blown out of proportion becasue most people don't want to hear boring science, they want to hear an entertaining story.

For more information one could at least start with Prof. Thomas F. Madden's (Univ. of St. Louis Missoury) course on it, which is also available as an audiobook: "Heaven or Heresy: A History of the Inquisition". Again this is not about trying to absolve anyone of any guilt. We don't deal in guilt, we deal in facts and we learn facts by sticking to the science and to the primary sources, not to popularly held opinions. Just as sports, the Inquisition is something that everyone knows about. But just as not everyone can win the World Cup or be a successful sports coach, popular opinion on some widely known historical subjects might be quite different than the truth. Which is ironical since popular opinion on matters of faith were one of the reasons that got the Inquisitions started. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Omulurimaru (talkcontribs) 01:25, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Another point that should be made is that most of us really have no notion about just how bloody and cruel those times really were. For example torture had been used in criminal proceedings - ANY kind of criminal proceeding, be it about theft, murder, treason or heresy - since basically the Ancient world. It was part of the (originally pagan) Roman justice system. Of course it wasn't applied indefinitely it could be applied only twice and for short periods of time (like 5-15 minutes). And it wasn't a punishment it wasn't something done to punish someone. Rather it was a part of the investigation technique used in any crime -- remember they didn't have forensics back then. Anyways someone said here that we cannot judge that society, back then, by our standards. That's not really true: the correct, scientific attitude here should be that we can't judge that society at all since it's not our job. As historians we should reasearch and relate the truth in a scientific manner and leave the morality judgements to journalists and priests and atheism appologists and the like. We're just here to relate the facts. And this is probably what this Wiki article ought to be about. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Omulurimaru (talkcontribs) 01:47, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

I have to admit the beginning of this article has me confused a little bit by its emphasis on torture. It seems to be presenting it as something unique or new that was championed by the Inquisition, when this was certainly not the case. Perhaps this should be changed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:09, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

OK, here it is, for the IP questioner. Torture was and still remains to be considered as valuable in extracting confessions, regardless of validity or fact. If it wasn't, waterboarding would be abandoned. People eventually will end up confessing to pretty much ANYTHING to make the torture stop. As torture during inquisition times was FAR more harmful to the person and body, as in being eventually lethal, some confessed, others refused, rather than taint their name, others on other principles. Any way you slice it, it ended up, at the end of the day, the same way. The accused was dead, save for the majority that had popular support.Wzrd1 (talk) 05:45, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
As mentioned at the top, the discussion page is WP:NOTFORUM. How do propose to improve the article? Student7 (talk) 15:36, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Foxe Book of Martyrs[edit]

Yes Foxe wrote a book, sort of accurate by modern day standards and very pov in order to inflame public opinion against Catholics. The English business was more of a power struggle between factions as England often had up until about William and Mary or so. Putting a religious tinge on it, was simply their way of saying that the incumbent king was great or a louse. Easier if you can decide based on what church you attend instead of more complex factors! Neither side paid much attention to religious leaders abroad, much less the pope, or Martin Luther or anybody else. Not sure it should be featured here. More of a canard IMO. Student7 (talk) 21:35, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Revisionism at its best. If NEITHER side paid any attention to Martin Luther OR the Roman Catholic Church, England would t be overwhelmingly PROTESTANT. Pretty much ANYTHING written that survives today was POV, one way or the other. Neutrality wasn't rewarded, but condemned by BOTH sides. Indeed, at the time, condemning a sitting monarch was a death sentence, if one were in the same nation and probably even when abroad.Wzrd1 (talk) 05:49, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Comparison to Protestants[edit]

Saying "although similar institutions existed in the Protestant church" is wholly inaccurate.

Nothing comparable existed. Wars between Protestant and Catholic states in the age of chivalry are not comparable to religious violence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:38, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

Well, there was the Star Chamber which was smaller in scope. Witch-hunts were quite large and not quite as focused since they were essentially run by lay people, but mostly Protestant, I think. Student7 (talk) 02:59, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
The Inquisition was a religious inquiry, under Catholic authority, to identify spiritual heresy. That's not the same as a civil inquiry by "lay people" to identify civil misconduct such as orgy sex, cannibalism, or infanticide. You're trying to equate apples and oranges. Santamoly (talk) 17:03, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
Witch hunts were spiritual in nature. Witches, empowered by the devil, were believed to be able to influence others from a distance (spiritually). They were believed (as the Catholics believed heretics) to be minions of the devil. They are almost exactly the same, though the witch hunts were not as well focused, having multiple directions and leadership. Student7 (talk) 18:22, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
Having said that, Catholics did not believe that a heretic could make your goat sick. Catholics were more interested in the soul of the heretic and the effect he might have on the souls of others. The witch hunters seemed more concerned with material effects. Making goats sick, for example. I find witch hunts a bit sloppier for lack of lucid direction. Student7 (talk) 18:27, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

Student7,, keep on studying. Your view is highly POV and incorrect, according to the nuns that educated ME! People believed in curses and evil spirits that could be conjured, which would afflict the victim or more commonly, the victim's goats, sheep, fowl or groin or any permutation thereof, hence the witchcraft trials, which were LOCAL. Hence, underrepresented in Vatican archives until far later.Wzrd1 (talk) 05:52, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

External link for deletion[edit]

The link to "Spain and the Spaniard" is a bit much. It is highly POV. I think it should go into the deletion bin/recycling bin/trash bin/rubbish heap. Devilishlyhandsome (talk) 17:13, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. Ingersoll a famous atheist, not a historian. Probably can find reputable historians who make a similar point. Student7 (talk) 21:28, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

Inquisitions of the 4th century[edit]

The statement in the article that "It started in the 12th century, with the introduction of torture in the persecution of heresy" is actually erroneous.

The history of Ammianus Marcellinus attests the existence of Christian state inquisitions during the rule of Constantius II, c.350 CE, at the city of Scythopolis. See specifically Chapter XII and XIII-XIV of the Book XIX of Ammianus' Res Gestae:

[quote] accusations extended more widely, involving numbers without end in their snares, many perished; some with their bodies mangled on the rack; others were condemned to death and confiscation of their goods; while Paulus kept on inventing groundless accusations, as if he had a store of lies on which to draw, and suggesting various pretences for injuring people, so that on his nod, it may he said, the safety of every one in the place depended. For if any one wore on his neck a charm against the quartan ague or any other disease, or if by any information laid by his ill-wishers he was accused of having passed by a sepulchre at nightfall, and therefore of being a sorcerer, and one who dealt in the horrors of tombs and the vain mockeries of the shades which haunt them, he was found guilty and condemned to death. [/quote]

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:53, 9 April 2012 (UTC) tends to refute the theory of religious motivation. The Emperors did a lot of unpleasant things, before and after becoming Christian. The Christians had just "taken over." This implies a large cadre of "inquisitors" which, a few years earlier, had been hiding in the cellar, as it were. Doesn't seem quite plausible. And anyway, Marcellinus, a pagan, doesn't associate the activities with Christianity, which he would have every motive to do, if the accusation were true. Student7 (talk) 18:04, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Book by Benzion Netanyahu[edit]

I've just read the NY Times obituary of Benzion Netanyahu. . It references his book "The Origins of the Inquisition in 15th Century France" - . From the obituary and from the book reviews quoted on Amazon, it looks like this is a major scholarly study of the Spanish Inquisition, though its thesis is apparently controversial. Shouldn't this book be mentioned in the Bibliography section here? I'm inclined to add it. Is there any reason not to? Omc (talk) 07:34, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

Well, you are right to point out that he is a notable scholar in this area. On the other hand, it would be nice to keep the list to ten or so. There have to be, literally, a hundred thousand books on the Inquisition. The problem is not discovering them for this article. The problem is limiting them to "the best of the best." A criteria(on) to do just that would be even more appreciated. Student7 (talk) 13:15, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

Torture in defiance of canon law[edit]

Actually, this citation, by Yale Law School, seems to suggest just the opposite. Student7 (talk) 20:30, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

Reputation(s) Section is POV[edit]

This quote from the "reputation(s)" section of the article is a pretty blatantly POV piece of apologist crap: "With the sharpening of debate and of conflict between the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation, Protestant societies came to see/use the Inquisition as a terrifying "Other" trope,[24] while staunch Catholics regarded the Holy Office as a necessary bulwark against the spread of reprehensible heresies. So it is necessary to realise evidence shows that those involved with the inquisition sincerely thought that they were doing God's work in extirpating what they considered heresy and opposition to the Roman Church. The very title of the humiliating spectacles of the 'auto-da-fe' which means 'act of faith' shows this. Their acts were a consequence of their beliefs rather than any initial pathology." Uh, okay, so should we give the Taliban a free pass because they believe they're doing God's work? This piece has little relevance to the subject matter because it's obviously implied that the atrocities committed during the Inquisition were due to the perpetrator's religious beliefs. If no one can come up with a valid reason not to in the next week or so, I'm removing this section entirely. It's unnecessary and is nothing more than a weak attempt to make an excuse for atrocities committed by the Church. (talk) 17:47, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

I'm failing to see where in that paragraph a "free pass" is given to anyone. Nowhere does it say that the Inquisition's actions were acceptable, simply that they were driven by religious beliefs, which you agreed is obviously true. I think you would need to provide a valid reason for removing this before challenging others to come up with counter-reasons. Also, please try to keep your posts WP:CIVIL. -- Fyrefly (talk) 21:13, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
I agree. As far back as Augustine's time, there were those in and out of the Church who saw that persecution of heretics or others of different faiths was against the moral standards of mankind. Generally, the governments of Rome and Greece were very tolerant of religious diversity, except for the persecution of Christians. The whole idea behind polytheism was religious freedom to worship anyone you wanted. We are not the only society to value freedom of speech and religion. These are values that go way back in history, and Christian violation of them must be seen for what they were, crimes against humanity. I would also like to know the influence of the inquisition and other Christians in the persecution of the religions of Native Americans. We Christians, like Pope John Paul, want to know the details of this ugly part of our history, or we will be doomed to repeat them. Bdubay (talk) 18:40, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
It's generally best to report the facts and leave subjective opinion to modern events using modern standards. When given the chance, most of the accused chose the Inquisition over secular trial because a) the activities of the court was more or less predictable, b) it was subject to review by somebody (the court took notes), c) it was less subjective, d) it was trying to make an understandable, predictable "point," e) the defendant was not only allowed, but encouraged to speak, f) degree of involvement was important, and g) genuine repentance was encouraged (if guilt was uncovered), and h) the finding of "innocence" was quite possible. Much of this would not be allowable nowdays, by any means. The history of Western jurisdiction was built on the Inquisition in large measure. It was a step forward at the time, not a step back. Student7 (talk) 19:59, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

Auto da fe[edit]

Auto da fe is not Spanish, it's Portuguese. --Jidu Boite (talk) 08:14, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

According to the article Auto-da-fé, "Both auto de fe in medieval Spanish and auto da fé in Portuguese mean 'act of faith' ". -- Fyrefly (talk) 10:21, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

Other points of view about the Inquisición in Spain[edit]

According to Ricardo García-Cárcel, 'La Inquisición', ISBN: 84-7969-011-9, 'The role of monarchy in the Spanish Inquisition between...(XIII and XIV century) was quite passive, tensions existed between monarquy and Inqusition when this last one banned in the XIV century the works by Arnau de Vilanova or Raimon LLull, to what the kings of the Aragonese crown opposed. When Fernando 'the catholic' introduced the authoritarian monarchy in Spain...,a radical change in situation was produced. Aware of the social-religious problems that the converted jewish posed, and avid of an Eclessial legitimacy that the absolute power they were looking for required, the monarchs urged the Pope to give a new Inquisitin to the crown of Castilla, that never had had such an institution. In Nov 1478, the pope Sixto IV in his Bulla: 'Exigit sincerus devotionis affectus' gave the 'Catholic Kings' the power of designating two or three bishops or secular or regular priests (Older than 40 years, with a recommendable life, and with academic titles) to exert the role of inquisitors in the towns or Dioceses of their kingdoms. Until october 1483 a true battle was fought between the monarchy and the papacy because of the ecclessial concept the pope had about Inquisition, versus the monarchic aspiration of using the Inquisitorial institution as an instrument of their own power. The first Inquisitors, Miguel de Morillo and Juan de san Martin were erected in september 27, 1480. The first 'Auto de fe' was held in Seville at Februray 6, 1481. Regarding the Aragon kingdom, R Garcia-Carcel remarks the efforts of the catholic King to obtain the stablishment of the new inquisition, as he had to overcome the resistances of converses and the papal reluctance....In April 1482, Sixto IV was forced to change his negative decission of January 1482, and accepted the Inqusition institutionalizaion in the kingdom of Aragon. The pope made several attempts to come back in this decission, but finally, the situation consolidated in October 1483, when Fray Tomás de Torquemada (having jewish ancestry, according to José Meir Estrugo, in: 'Los sefardíes') was designed General Inquisitor for both Castilla and the kingdom of Aragon. From this moment on, R G-C thinks the modern Inquisition was born. For R G-C, the religious factor -specifically 'the jewish problem'- was not decissory for the birth of modern inquisition. Jewish historians, -R G-C continues- are today forthright in considering that converse jewish were assimilated to christianity by the end of XV century.... Mass conversions took place between 1391 and 1415. Inquisition, in the case of persecution of judaism, should have been stablished then, and not almost a century later. About death penalties sentences by Inquisitors, some authors point that in many cases it were transformed into life imprisonment, but in the XIV century, after a mere three years in prison, people having received a death penalty, then a lifelong imprisonment sentence, were able to go out of the prison with just some minor freedom restrictions.--Jgrosay (talk) 00:02, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

Another one group that was hunted from Inquisition[edit]

Orthodox people from Italy and Sicily were hunted too. [user:uknown] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:31, 25 April 2014 (UTC)

The Inquisition "is"[edit]

The office of the Inquisition still exists. When does the source say that it ceased to exist? It actually indicates the contrary. The analogy comparing Russia to the USSR is illogical and hence does not apply.JGabbard (talk) 02:47, 14 July 2014 (UTC) It seems that after two name changes that while the people who had been there were not actually fired, the organization changed substantially. Maybe more like the 13 colonies under a Royal Governor and a House of Burgesses becoming the United States without any change in area and sometimes keeping the same people in office. But the effect was quite different. Like Serbia insisting it was still "Yugoslavia" in the 1990s, though most of it had seceded by then.
Bottom line: they don't use thumbscrews anymore. Student7 (talk) 20:14, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

I think you guys seriously need a new rule[edit]

Which would recommend that the religious people would not write articles on factual matters which heavily impact their faith. People feel even more strongly about their faith that about articles on themselves. Furthermore they tend to have access to a very pre-biased collection of the reference material on the topics, and be, let's say, far more enthusiastic about bridging the gap between their faith and the article from the article's side. (talk) 16:10, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

I am not sure what the sub-article on witchcraft has to do with the main article Inquisition?[edit]

It is fairly fully unclear from the sub-article, witchcraft, what it has to do with the main article, Inquisition? (talk) 13:00, 23 February 2015 (UTC)

Usual penalty?[edit]

"When a suspect was convicted of unrepentant heresy, the inquisitorial tribunal was required by law to hand the person over to the secular authorities for final sentencing, at which point the penalty would be determined by a magistrate, usually burning at the stake although the penalty varied based on local law.[8][9] The laws were inclusive of proscriptions against certain religious crimes (heresy, etc.), and the punishments included death by burning, although imprisonment for life or banishment would usually be used."

I'm sorry, which is "usual"? And, when? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:23, 23 February 2015 (UTC)

Alternative Views[edit]

I've seen many protestants quote figures up to the tens of millions. I want to keep the section "Alternative Views" as I think the number is notable enough to be included in the article. Here's some examples of the figures quoted through history [1] [2]

[3] [4] [5]

  1. ^ "From the birth of Popery in 606 to the present time, it is estimated by careful and credible historians, that more than fifty millions of the human family, have been slaughtered for the crime of heresy�by popish persecutors, an average of more than forty thousand religious murders for every year of the existence of popery."   -- "History of Romanism," pp. 541, 542. New York: 1871.
  2. ^ This was the century of the last religious wars in �Christendom,� the Thirty Years� War�in Germany, fomented by the Jesuits, reducing the people to cannibalism, and the population�of Bohemia�from 4,000,000 to 780,000, and of Germany from 20,000,000 to 7,000,000, and making Southern Germany almost a desert, ...   -- Cushing B. Hassell, History of the Church of God, Chapter XVII.
  3. ^ There perished under pope Julian�200,000 Christians: and by the French�massacre, on a moderate calculation, in 3 months, 100,000.� Of the Waldenses�there perished 150,000; of the Albigenses, 150,000.� There perished by the Jesuits�in 30 years only 900,000.� The Duke of Alva�destroyed by the common hangman alone, 36,000 persons; the amount murdered by him is set down by Grotius�at 100,000!� There perished by the fire, and tortures of the Inquisition�in Spain, Italy, and France�150,000. � In the Irish�massacres there perished 150,000 Protestants! To sum up the whole, the Roman Catholic church has caused the ruin, and destruction of a million and a half of Moors�in Spain; nearly two millions of Jews�South America in Europe.� In Mexico, and , including the islands of Cuba�and St. Domingo, fifteen millions of Indians, in 40 years, fell victims to popery.� And in Europe, and the East Indies, and in America, 50 millions of Protestants, at least, have been murdered by it! -- W. C. Brownlee, Letters in the Roman Catholic controversy, 1834, pp. 347-348.
  4. ^ Some have computed, that, from the year 1518 to1548, fifteen million of Protestants�have perished by war and the Inquisition. This may be overcharged, but certainly the number of them in these thirty years, as well as since is almost incredible. To these we may add innumerable martyrs, in ancient, middle, and late ages, in Bohemia, Germany, Holland, France, England, Ireland, and many other parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia. (from the commentary on the book of Revelation�in Wesley�s �Explanatory Notes on the New Testament,� fifth edition, 1788), in which the comments on the book of Revelation are translated from the work of the German scholar John Bengel, and Wesley stated that he did not necessarily defend all of Bengel�s statements.)
  5. ^ According to Llorente, this fearful tribunal [the inquisition] cost Spain�alone 2,000,000 of lives, and the amount of torments suffered by these, and the other victims of papal persecution, was probably greater than that of all the generations that ever lived and died in God�s appointed way, by natural death. -The Glorious Reformation: Discourse in Commemoration of the Glorious Reformation of the 16th Century by Samuel Simon Schmucker

  Blackgateamericanindian (talk) 16:36, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

We should not use sources over 100 years old at all. Especially not rampantly partisan stuff like those quoted above. St. Bartholomew's Day massacre used to include old figures that were wildly higher than what modern historians think. Please remember that this is the "Inquisition" article, and France, England and other countries are completely out of scope, as they never had Inquisitions. Nor can the Inquisition be blamed for national wars. Johnbod (talk) 17:24, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

John, I'm not stating that those are accurate statements. All I'm saying is many to this day use those figures as "proof", therefore the belief is notable enough to be included in some capacity. Surely you can see my point. P.S. The inclusion of some of those quotes which do not reference the inquisition was an honest mistake on my part. Blackgateamericanindian (talk) 17:28, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

I had allowed that section in because these exaggerated numbers are in fact often cited by Protestants and other groups; but Johnbod makes some good points. Even if, as Blackgateamericanindian says, casualties from wars are not actually being included in the 50 million figure, the numbers certainly do seem to include secular heresy trials all the way back to the late Roman period, whereas this article deals exclusively with Church-run courts which only existed beginning in the 12th century and only in certain jurisdictions. So the 50 million figure may not be an estimate of the same trials that the article deals with. There is also the issue of older sources mistakenly interpreting the medieval Latin term "inquisitio" to mean "heresy trial" when in fact it just meant any trial conducted using a specific type of court procedure adapted from the earlier "inquisitio" process of Roman law; which means that many older sources were counting every single trial (homicide trials, rape, theft trials, etc) that happened to use this court procedure and then attributing all those trials to the Catholic Church. Modern historians look at the actual purpose of each trial and the nature of the court before counting it, so again we may be dealing with entirely different trials being counted. Ryn78 (talk) 18:52, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

Then we should adress those points in a fair manner. Problem is, as the article stands, there is a blackout regarding the viewpoint all together. It is my opinion that the section on alternate views is notable enough to warrant a mention. As stated by Ryn78, the usage of those old and exaggerated sources have been used by protestants and other groups for decades. Even Victor Hugo has stated that 5 million were executed![1] The viewpoint is notable and contentious enough to warrant a mention, IMO.Blackgateamericanindian (talk) 20:05, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

Victor Hugo was not a historian. --Kansas Bear (talk) 02:58, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Your point? Do you have to be a historian in order to be quoted on wikipedia? How many times do I have to state that I am not saying that the number is accurate? I'm simply presenting that some believe it. That's it. The sections not about facts, or stats even. Its simply about "Alternative Views" Blackgateamericanindian (talk) 03:04, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

What is the verdict? Surely you can see the alternative views section should be allowed.Blackgateamericanindian (talk) 04:48, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Guys, I added back the section as there has yet to be a rebuttal to my arguments (as far as I know) Feel free to edit it as you wish. Just please dont takr off the section without discussing it here per wikipedia rules. However I'm open to your arguments, so if you have any please discuss them here.Thanks! Blackgateamericanindian (talk) 18:45, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Im not in the mood to get in an edit war, but I find the Alternative Views section to be irrelevant when it mentions Victor Hugo. Who is he in relevance to the inquisitionSaintliveyourlife33ad (talk) 19:11, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Now there are at least two issues to deal with, after someone added a quote by Carlo Ginzburg.
Let's cover the Plaisted figure first. Although the claim of 50 million - or 150 million as some websites allege - is certainly commonly cited by certain groups, nonetheless Edgar Allen Poe's "Pit and the Pendulum" and Monty Python's "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition" are even more widely cited. But none of these three have anything in common with history, which is why people have objected to including the Plaisted figure. His number doesn't even seem to be based exclusively on inquisitorial trials, but rather on a wide variety of different things all thrown together and blamed on the Catholic Church. If we include it, it needs to be kept in proper perspective rather than giving undue emphasis to an idea that was never based on the actual court records. This is especially important for a subject like this one, which has long been distorted by fiction.
Concerning the Carlo Ginzburg quote: Ginzburg is a historian who has studied the inquisitorial records, but this particular quote seems cherry-picked to give the misleading impression that not much information has survived, which isn't the case. Yes, we're missing a percentage of these records, but we're also missing many of the military records for the battle of Agincourt and yet the extensive records which do survive still allow us to assemble a pretty complete picture of the battle, down to the names of many of the soldiers. Inquisitorial records are even more extensive, numbering in the many hundreds of thousands (if I'm not mistaken). The gaps in our knowledge are already taken into account when historians adjust the estimates by multiplying the documented number of executions by a scaling factor which is based on the statistically likely percentage of manuscript loss combined with a "cushion" to deliberately inflate the numbers just to be on the safe side. In other words, missing records are not allowed to reduce the final estimate, in fact past experience has shown that the estimates were usually exaggerated until more study was done on additional archives to provide more precise data to replace the older, deliberately inflated estimates. This is why the estimates keep dropping as more precise data becomes available from additional studies. The Ginzburg quote is going to give a misleading impression by ignoring all of this, not because Ginzburg himself is unaware of it but because this tiny snippet of a quote from him doesn't include any discussion of these issues. Ryn78 (talk) 20:19, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for discussing this. I still think it is noteworthy enough to include Plaisteds views. To your first point, yes people cite Monty Python and Edgar Allen Poe, but nobody ever uses those in order to seriously prove/disprove history. I fail to see how Plaisteds numbers are not regarding history. In my opinion, since Plaisted is a somewhat notable figure(notable enough to have a wikipedia page at least), claims that his numbers are factual, uses many historical papers in his study, and has many followers citing his figures as proof, it is notable enough to include that the opinion exists. Regarding some of the numbers dr plaisted includes which appear to have no connection to the inquisition, those are a section of Plaisteds paper, not the whole. Yes plaisteds paper is about papacy executions in general but a good majority of it also mentions the inquisition, which is why some Protestants use it as a source. Most of the entire paper is quotes of some (debatable) sources saying the inquisition killed tens of millions. Having said all of that I could see how the section is slowly turning into a Plaisted centered section which is why I included the Victor Hugo quote. If you have any suggestions on what we can do to improve or generalize the section more that would be greatly appreciated. Regarding the Ginzburg quote, that is not in the section Alternative Views and thus is irrelevant to this discussion. Blackgateamericanindian (talk) 21:14, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Many elements of the popular conception of "the Inquisition" are in fact basely largely on stuff derived from "The Pit and the Pendulum" : the elaborate dungeon from which there is no escape, a predetermined verdict which always results in death, etc. Plaisted is basing his claims on partisan, popular sources which often aren't much better than Poe, and many of them are worse (at least Poe didn't claim 50 million were executed).
Even Llorente was discredited long ago by Henry Charles Lea (if memory serves), since Llorente's numbers bear no resemblance to the actual statistics. Plaisted's other sources are generally far worse than Llorente. And therein lies the problem: more than a century of careful, systematic study of the actual records cannot be placed side by side with the type of thing that Plaisted is using as his sources. If it's included, we need to state quite clearly that it's way off base. Ryn78 (talk) 15:56, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
We have Black Legend of the Spanish Inquisition for that. The current section is very unbalanced and badly titled, making it sound as if these views are taken seiously by modern historians. Johnbod (talk) 16:26, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
What do you suppose we should do to fix that? I'm struggling to think of a name other than alternative views but I've come up with nothing so far. Also, I'm editing the section more, and clarifying that the view is not taken seriously by mainstream historians.

P.S. johnbod, the Plaisted mentioned in the section actually IS the computer science professor. Basic research shows that. You're greatly mistaken.Blackgateamericanindian (talk) 17:05, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

I recommend Blackgateamericanindian to read up on WP:PILLARS, especially the part about reliable sources, secondary sources and last but not least WP:FRINGE:

"Wikipedia summarizes significant opinions, with representation in proportion to their prominence. A Wikipedia article should not make a fringe theory appear more notable or more widely accepted than it is. Claims must be based upon independent reliable sources. If discussed in an article about a mainstream idea, a theory that is not broadly supported by scholarship in its field must not be given undue weight,[1] and reliable sources must be cited that affirm the relationship of the marginal idea to the mainstream idea in a serious and substantial manner".

You need to find historiographical sources that supports that Blaisted is given proportional weight on scholarship on this subject, in order to include a section on him in this article. Fluffing up his inclusion by drawing out the ancient primary sources he quotes in his essay is not a helpful strategy. We rely on modern scholarship as reliable secondary sources for the subject, not 18th century Bible-commentators and other such outdated evidence.

Please refrain from adding this section to the article again. You need to establish a consensus here as to its inclusion, something you have failed to do so far, you being the only one arguing for its inclusion. --Saddhiyama (talk) 11:02, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

After some further research I can see that David Plaisteds essay is selfpublished. This alone is enough to dismiss it as a source on Wikipedia. But furthermore according to Google Scholar it is cited in only two other sources, one being a completely unrelated ethnographical dissertation (on the Navajo Indians, and the author is not a historian) the other being a Christian apologetic work that wouldn't qualify as a reliable secondary source on Wikipedia either. He is not mentioned at all in any of the current standard works on the subject, hinting that he is not even worth a one sentence rebuttal. To sum up, the essay is selfpublished, its theory is less than fringe and it is not even acknowledged by current scholarship on the subject. There is as such not a single reason that he warrants mention in this article. --Saddhiyama (talk) 11:36, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

Ah! Clever boys! 🌝 Blackgateamericanindian (talk) 20:29, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^