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Not quite what I hoped
on 3 October 2013
Since the days of Monty Python it has perhaps been difficult for British readers to be objective about the Spanish Inquisition and I hoped this book might fill the gap. My own research interest at the time of purchase was in the area of religious reform in sixteenth century Spain and clearly the Inquisition still casts a long shadow over this area. I think that Pérez aim in this study was to try to provide that more objective overview, but if he would have us believe that things weren't as bad as made out, some of his statistics and anecdotes would regrettably only confirm our worst prejudice! He does show how religious orthodoxy was mixed up with enforcing the political interests of the emerging Spanish state. I think that his point might have been better made by some sort of comparison with other emerging nation states in the early modern period and how religious compliance generally became mixed up with political interests: in both Catholic and Protestant countries this is usually an unattractive tale.
In recent years historians such as Eamon Duffy have invited us to go behind the somewhat un-nuanced popular presentation of the reception of Protestant reform in Tudor England, but I fear that if we are looking for similar scholarship to challenge us on the Inquisition this is not yet it.