Thursday, July 03, 2014

Simply amazing: BBC reports that Spanish Inquisition was 99% myth

I've been acquainted with Prof. Henry Kamen's study, The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision(Yale University Press, 1997) for some time; as well as Inquisition(University of California Press, 1989), by Edward Peters (not the canonist, but the University of Pennsylvania history professor). Both reveal the distortions of the historical record under the influence of Protestantism and Enlightenment revisionism; and both help to set the record straight. But it's a landmark event of historical significance for BBC to sponsor a feature program exposing the fact that the "Spanish Inquisition was 99% Myth." Beautiful.

I still can't help being a trifle skeptical about whether this will change the tenor of the typical mainstream textbook narrative about the "Spanish Inquisition." Like so many other things, from the myth that the pre-modern peoples believed that the earth was flat, to the myth that the Crusades were nothing more than aggressive Western incursions into the tranquil world of the peaceable Muslims, these memes are based on deeply-ingrained habits of mind and prejudices of post-Reformational and secular anti-Catholicism. They won't be shed easily.

1 comment:

RFGA, Ph.D. said...

Another one is that Catholicism led to the fall of the Roman Empire. Belloc ably puts that myth to rest.