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The Inquisitor's Guide: A Medieval Manual on Heretics [Hardcover]

Bernard Gui , Janet Shirley
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Ravenhall Books (9 Nov 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905043090
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905043095
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 14.3 x 22 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,508,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The fourteenth century would see Europe wracked by upheaval, war, rebellion, famine and plague. To many it seemed as though society itself was breaking apart, a true age of apocalypse. No institution was above the tumult. The Church, which had survived critics and outlived sects, found itself under virulent attack from heretics. It countered with the inquisition. Designed to identify, catch and suppress heresy, this notorious institution was born in south-western France and tasked with the destruction of the heretical Cathars of Languedoc. In 1307, Bernard Gui reached Toulouse to take up his appointment as inquisitor. For the next two decades, he mounted a relentless campaign against the region's heretics and schismatics. Targeting Cathars, Beguins, Waldensians, relapsed Jews, sorcerers and 'those who invoke demons' he worked hard to bring such 'twisting snakes out of the sink and abyss of error'. His experiences enabled him to pen this fascinating guide. It is a practical manual on the conduct of inquisitions intended for his colleagues and successors. It sets out, in a plain and readable manner, how to combat medieval heresy's assault on the Church.

How to seek out, identify and capture heretics; how to understand their strengths and weaknesses; how to try them; how to counter their devious methods and prevent them from 'hiding behind deceitful words'; and how judgement should be made and how punishment delivered. By so doing, Gui provides a wealth of information on the Cathars and on medieval life in general. Gui's manual is a fascinating insight into this tumultuous period, an insider's view of the infamous inquisition and a brilliant window into the medieval mind.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A long overdue publication 18 Jun 2007
Ravenhall's English language publication of Bernard Gui's Inquisitor's guide is a long overdue addition to our our knowledge of the mediaeval mind and the repression that was carried out in the fourteenth century against the ALbigensian heresy. Gui became infamous for his zealous persecution of Catharsin southern France; at least on one occasion he personally accompanied a victim to the stake to be burnt to ashes. Apart from this unique view into fanaticism, the book is beautifully produced and properly illustrated with period engravings. For anyone interested in this period in history , this book is a must but - it is also an interesting read for anyone who is concerned that "authority" has gotten a bit too stifling.
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