The Roman Inquisition: A Papal Bureaucracy and Its Laws in the Age of Galileo

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University of Pennsylvania Press, Jan 22, 2013 - History - 385 pages
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While the Spanish Inquisition has laid the greatest claim to both scholarly attention and the popular imagination, the Roman Inquisition, established in 1542 and a key instrument of papal authority, was more powerful, important, and long-lived. Founded by Paul III and originally aimed to eradicate Protestant heresy, it followed medieval antecedents but went beyond them by becoming a highly articulated centralized organ directly dependent on the pope. By the late sixteenth century the Roman Inquisition had developed its own distinctive procedures, legal process, and personnel, the congregation of cardinals and a professional staff. Its legal process grew out of the technique of inquisitio formulated by Innocent III in the early thirteenth century, it became the most precocious papal bureaucracy on the road to the first "absolutist" state.

As Thomas F. Mayer demonstrates, the Inquisition underwent constant modification as it expanded. The new institution modeled its case management and other procedures on those of another medieval ancestor, the Roman supreme court, the Rota. With unparalleled attention to archival sources and detail, Mayer portrays a highly articulated corporate bureaucracy with the pope at its head. He profiles the Cardinal Inquisitors, including those who would play a major role in Galileo's trials, and details their social and geographical origins, their education, economic status, earlier careers in the Church, and networks of patronage. At the point this study ends, circa 1640, Pope Urban VIII had made the Roman Inquisition his personal instrument and dominated it to a degree none of his predecessors had approached.

  

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Roman Inquisitions Operations
9
The Sacred Congregation Inquisitors Before 1623
38
The Sacred Congregation Under Urban VIII
76
The Professional Staff
110
Inquisition Procedure The Holy Offices Use of Inquisitio
155
Conclusion
206
Appendix
217
List of Abbreviations
227
Notes
231
Selected Bibliography
359
Index
367
Acknowledgments
383
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Thomas F. Mayer is Professor of History at Augustana College. He is author of Reginald Pole: Prince and Prophet, and editor and translator of The Trial of Galileo, 1612-1633.

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