Talk:Spanish Inquisition

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Henningsen-Contreras statistics[edit]

I've added the table with the data about the number of trials and executions according to the statistics of Gustav Henningsen and Jaime Contreras. Since the authors themeselves admit that their statistics is far from being complete, I've compared the numbers given by them with the numbers that appear from other available sorces for the respective tribunals. I've based primarily on William Monter, Frontiers of Heresy: The Spanish Inquisition from the Basque Lands to Sicily, Cambridge 2003. CarlosPn (discussion) 31 Oct 2008 22:15 CET

Council of Troubles[edit]

The Council of Troubles in the Netherlands was not connected to the Inquisition. It was a temporary war time committee set up in the Netherlands to root out and punish those who had led the rebellion against the king.

Removal of claim by Doug Beaumont[edit]

I would like to remove the last sentence of paragraph 5, as well as the relevant citation [3] : "Further, the Inquisition was the first to pronounce Europe’s witch hunt a delusion and prohibited anyone from being tried or burnt for witchcraft.[3]" - Doug Beaumont:The Spanish Inquisition: Debunking the Legends. This claim is unverifiable. The citation, [3] Doug Beaumont:The Spanish Inquisition: Debunking the Legends, is from an unreliable self published article on this authors blog, and the author of this blog does not substantiate this specific claim with a specific source. He loosely cites his overall argument from the same handful of authors that this Wikipedia Article already cites, including Kamen, and Peters. I have not found any specific evidence to support this statement, and will remove it. Sbaromski (talk) 21:12, 29 March 2016 (UTC)

I won't object to the deletion -- unless somebody comes up with a much more credible source for the claims. Smallchief (talk 23:26, 29 March 2016 (UTC)

Relevance and direction of Thomas Madden quote[edit]

"Thomas Madden describes the world that formed medieval politics: 'The Inquisition was not born out of desire to crush diversity or oppress people; it was rather an attempt to stop unjust executions. Yes, you read that correctly. Heresy was a crime against the state. Roman law in the Code of Justinian made it a capital offense. Rulers, whose authority was believed to come from God, had no patience for heretics.'"

Where is the connection between this quote and the historical account that follows? What about the following text suggests an attempt to stop rather than promote executions, or either continuity or contrast with ancient practices? The quote teases a contrast it does not develop, and frankly seems here—as perhaps it does not in context—like a half-finished, ill-focused defense of what follows: "But Moderns, all the other kings killed heretics!"

I'd propose a simple cut, unless a case can be made for connecting this or a more apt quotation to the historical account. Michael (talk) 04:28, 30 March 2016 (UTC)

Does this article properly illustrate current academic consensus?[edit]

It seems at first glance that this entire article is based primarily on the work of Henry Kamen and his book "The Spanish Inquisition: a Historical Revision". Kamen is mentioned by name 18 times in the body of the article, and cited 43 times throughout. The issue I see is that Kamen is a self proclaimed revisionist, and yet his version is the primary one being presented, often without mention of the orthodoxy he is revising. Major works by scholars who are arguably more widely respected than Kamen are not mentioned nor cited anywhere (such as "The Spanish Inquisition: A History" by Joseph Pérez, to name one glaring omission). It seems odd that Wikipedia would exclusively offer the revisionist history of something, without reference to mainstream academia and the current view on the subject. I hope to change that, but I do not currently have the time for the quick completion of such a large undertaking. However, I will be doing what I can as time allows, perhaps more eyes can take a look and help bring some balance to this article?UnequivocalAmbivalence (talk) 02:47, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

To my knowledge Kamen has not been refuted persuasively with hard data, but I don't claim to be an expert on the subject. To me, the revelation that persuaded me that the Inquisition had been exaggerated was learning that far more people were executed for witchcraft and heresy in Europe outside Spain than were executed by the Inquisition in Spain. In other words, trials and executions of heretics were common throughout Europe and Spain was not uniquely evil -- contrary to its portrayal in centuries of anti-Catholic and Jewish literature.Smallchief (talk 11:32, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
I must agree with UnequivocalAmbivalence and further press for refinement of this article. Not only does it read as a Henry Kamen advertisement, but even given Smallchief's primary argument that Kamen's history teaches us, "more people were executed for witchcraft and heresy" elsewhere, the percentages of individuals murdered are conservative, the suffering of those not murdered but only tortured is downplayed, and the overall tone of this article is oddly immature and grossly apologetic.
First the article states, "According to García Cárcel, the court of Valencia employed the death penalty in 40% of the processings before 1530, but later that percentage dropped to 3%". Then the author dares to end with statistics of deaths for the period of 1540–1700...the very article itself tells us this is not the period that should concern us most when it comes to the numbers burned alive!
As an example of how this article minimizes the impact of torture on the accused I present this obviously biased statement: "Kamen argues that torture was only ever used to elicit information or a confession, not for punitive reasons.[86] The torture lasted up to 15 minutes.[83]" This is a detestable two sentences. The tone of this entire paragraph is mindbogglingly apologetic. "Well, as long as the torture was only used to pry false confessions out of the poor wretches..." Madness. And if I need to point this out I will: no modern historian knows how long each and every torture session lasted last week, let alone 500 years ago. Even if 15 minutes has some special significance to the Spanish Inquisition (which wasn't explained at any rate) it is lunacy to decide outright that never once did torture exceed that time limit. And even if this is the known situation, why does it matter? It is torture! How can someone so flippantly wave away the devastation left in the wake of torture even if it should last only 15 seconds?
Finally, the author of this article refers to subjects of the time in language appropriate to the time and place...not language that is understandable to a modern, international audience. "The first sodomite was burned by the Inquisition in Valencia in 1572," is a great example. I believe we refer to "sodomites" today as "homosexuals" or, dare I say it, "people". How about, "the tribunal of Cuenca is entirely omitted, because no relaciones de causas from this tribunal have been found". What does "relaciones de causas" mean? Perhaps to the individuals of the time and place of the Spanish Inquisition this phrase is meaningful, but to people of 2016 in the US these words are at least deserving of a link to a definition.
I must insist that this article receives further attention from someone who does "claim to be an expert on the subject." Infected caregiver (talk) 23:53, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
Frankly, Infected caregiver the figures given are those available and, as you can see, various estimates are provided for death tolls prior to 1540. Estimates of those executed range from 3000 to 5000 for the entire period. Henry Kamen is considered one of the most, if not the most eminent experts on this period of Spanish history. Pointing out that torture was generalized in European judicial system at the time and that the Inquistion was in no way worse than secular courts is not being apologetic, it is a statement of fact which helps put this period of history in the context of its time. The fact that throughout history the Spanish Inquisition has been presented by Protestant and Anglo-Saxon countries as "torture-crazy" and depraved well in excess of any other similar institution in Europe is perhaps the reason for which Kamen may seem to you as apologetic. He is not apologetic, simply a modern historian who is objectively studying the Spanish Inquisition and its internal workings. Such objective studies may clash with out received understanding of the topic. It happened to me before I started reading about it.Asilah1981 (talk) 14:01, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
Asilah1981, 1) thank you for pointing out the estimate given under the Outcomes section of this article which states that 5000 is the upward estimate of total deaths within the ~300 year Spanish Inquisition. The single Citation Note given, number 108, helps me. It begins: "this is roughly comparable with the number of people executed for witchcraft in Europe during about the same time span as the Inquisition (estimated at c. 40,000–60,000, i.e. roughly ten times higher in a territory with a population roughly ten times higher)", and then proceeds to list it's single source. This helped me immensely as it was difficult for me to continue to take this article seriously after seeing the need of the author to inject his feelings on the subject into the very Citation Note itself. I also laughed at the authors crack math skills here, "Population 10 times smaller, death toll 10 times smaller." We all know the Universal Law of Murder dictates a constant of x which applies to the percentage of victims of any given population. Thank you for letting me relax about the seriousness of this article and enjoy a great laugh.
2) I welcome all voices in learning about a subject, especially revisionist voices. But, where are the canon voices? Where are the other 300 years of interpretation? What about Joseph Pérez, Cecil Roth, Juan Antonio Llorente, Charles Oman, Reinhart Dozy or Charles Bémont? I think the purpose of Wikipedia is the truth, and that requires more than one person's, or one school's, point of view, however fashionable.
3) Although I felt I Illustrated why I believe this article is apologetic quite clearly above, I will quote the evidence in it's entirety if necessary: "As with all European tribunals of the time, torture was employed.[83][84]" - I do not believe all tribunals in all of Europe at this time employed torture. This is akin to saying, "There was slavery everywhere else" in the same breath that you recount slavery in the United States. Do you see how that is apologetic? And also, I don't care if there was torture everywhere else. The fact that torture existed contemporaneously in many other places and perhaps in worse conditions than in the scope of the Spanish Inquisition does not forgive the trespass or in any way reduce it's inherent repugnance. - "The Spanish inquisition, however, engaged in it far less often and with greater care than other courts.[83][85]" - Wow. Progressives in the torture department. Noted. - "Historian Henry Kamen contends that some "popular" accounts of the inquisition (those that describe scenes of uncontrolled sadistic torture) are not based in truth. Kamen argues that torture was only ever used to elicit information or a confession, not for punitive reasons.[86]" - Only. Only. Torture was only used to get a false confession. And then, Kamen says, the tribunal never used torture for punitive reasons...they only burned them alive. I mean, this is so blatantly apologetic that the author is probably sick. That or this article is so poorly constructed than even the author cannot conclude that this statement is outright false. How could any sane person look at the facts, even the incredibly biased attempt at them in this article, and determine that those acting with the authority of the catholic church did not torture victims for punitive reasons? The very fact that this point needs explaining is upsetting. Asilah1981, if you do not see the obvious political slant in the tone of this paragraph, I am not sure you can. Infected caregiver (talk) 00:58, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
Infected caregiver As for your last point, the term "sodomites" and "sodomy" refers to the crime as it was perceived at the time: The practice of anal sex, normally (but not only) with male minors. Sodomy refers to Sodom and Gomorrah - a biblical story - and we are dealing with religious tribunals. I think keeping the terminology of the time rather than terms such as "anal sex" and "gay" or "homosexuals" is more appropriate for a historical article.Asilah1981 (talk) 14:12, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
Ah yes. How silly of me. Here, let me quote an equally appropriate usage of terminology contemporary with the time of when I am speaking: "When the United States Constitution was ratified (1789), a relatively small number of free niggers were among the voting citizens." To quote you, Asilah1981, "I think keeping the terminology of the time rather than terms such as "black" and "people of color" or "african american" is more appropriate for a historical article." Infected caregiver (talk) 00:47, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
But to people of 2016 in the US. Lol, will no one think of the muricans?' Relaciones de causas (sg. "relación de causa") were lists of people sentenced by the different district tribunals and sent to the Inquisitor General and the Council of the Supreme Inquisition. BTW: Sodomite is fine and I think even (most of) americans know what it means. Cheers.--Asqueladd (talk) 20:29, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
And you Asqueladd, you didn't even bother trying to rebut my assertion that terms expressed in articles by means incomprehensible to the audience should be defined. At least Asilah tried to put up a defense. But thank you for defining "relación de causa" for me, it's more than the author gave me. BTW: I'm not surprised "Sodomite" sits well with someone comfortable dismissing an entire nation of people. Cheers. Infected caregiver (talk) 00:47, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
Infected caregiver a couple of your points are valid and perhaps some changes should be made in editing style. However, you are mistaken in assuming that Henry Kamen is somehow contradicted by other modern historians on this matter. Joseph Perez, for example, (who I believe is also quoted in this article and is the other eminence in this field) has a similar line and does not rebut any of Kamen's findings, figures or arguments. The emphasis which you see as "apology" is that death sentences were no more common by the inquisition than by secular courts in Spain or Europe. How many people were processed by the inquisition and how many of them were put to death? Don't you think that if "false confessions" were generalized (that is your own assumption) the execution rate would be much higher than 2 or 3%? You may find this point as "apologetic", but other readers may require this context. They may also be interested to know that the Spanish Inquisition was the primary reason witch hunts did not occur in Spain whereas they did in the rest of Europe. It was a religious tribunal which supressed heresy. It was a complex institution which has to be presented neutrally. And no, "sodomy" is not a term of abuse and it is ridiculous to liken it to "niggers". It even has its own wikipedia article, for gods sake. Lets avoid a millennial mentality in our editing style.Asilah1981 (talk) 13:29, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
Infected caregiver Something you have to understand: Spain, in the 16th century had a quarter of a million Converts from Judaism and probably three times that number of converts from Islam. The Spanish Inquisition executed between 3000 to 4000 people in the entire 3 centuries of its (active) existence, for heresy, sodomy, crypto-judaism, crypto-islam, lutheranism and other offenses to the Church. That averages out to maybe 10 to 15 people a year - a number similar to annual executions in Texas alone nowadays. We must be careful how we present this institution. It was not genocide, it was not wanton killing and torture, it was not even a "reign of terror" as we have witnessed in other darker episodes of history. It was terrible by our 21st century standards but it is not what it has been depicted in the collective western imagery. Fallacious depictions of the inquisition are a key element of the Black Legend and centuries of anti-catholic propaganda in protestant and Anglo-Saxon countries. You are right in pointing out inadequate language here, but the primary risk to neutrality in this article goes in the opposite direction. Asilah1981 (talk) 15:17, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
I have nothing to rebutt. Sodomite terminology is clear for anyone save for the ones SJWarring scholar usage in a early modern topic. Sorry if you feel butthurt for your "nation", I was only amused by you (apparently I even think higher of the americans from 2016 than you).--Asqueladd (talk) 23:30, 21 September 2016 (UTC)

Asqueladd I don't think you should be so aggressive with other editors, even if you disagree with their point of view. Asilah1981 (talk) 10:04, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

Duly noted. By the way, I think alumbrados trials (and context) may deserve further expansion in this entry.--Asqueladd (talk) 21:57, 22 September 2016 (UTC)
Agreed. It is an interesting and rather obscure aspect of the inquisition.Asilah1981 (talk) 02:54, 23 September 2016 (UTC)