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The Papal Inquisition in Modena, 1598–1638

This book explores two areas of interest: the Papal Inquisition in Modena and the status of Jews in an early modern Italian duchy. Its purpose is to deepen existing insights into the role of the former and thus lead to a better understanding of how an Inquisitorial court assumed jurisdiction over a practising Jewish community in the seventeenth century. The book highlights one specific aspect of the history of the Jews in Italy: the trials of professing Jews before the Papal Inquisition at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Inquisitorial processi against professing Jews provide the earliest known evidence of a branch of the Papal Inquisition taking judicial actions against Jews on an unprecedented scale and attempting systematically to discipline a Jewish community, pursuing this aim for several centuries. The book focuses on Inquisitorial activity during the first 40 years of the history of the tribunal in Modena, from 1598 to 1638, the year of the Jews' enclosure in the ghetto, the period which historians have argued was the most active in the Inquisition's history. It argues that trials of the two groups are different because the ecclesiastical tribunals viewed conversos as heretics but Jews as infidels. The book emphasizes the fundamental disparity in Inquisitorial procedure regarding Jews, as well as the evidence examined, especially in Modena. This was where the Duke uses the detailed testimony to be found in Inquisitorial trial transcripts to analyse Jewish interaction with Christian society in an early modern community.

Jacobite Scotland and French grand strategy, 1701–8
Author:

This book is about a lost moment in British, and especially Scots, history. It explores in detail the events of 1708. The book uses this as a platform to analyse the dynamics of the Jacobite movement, the English/British government's response to the Jacobites' activities and the way the Jacobites interacted with the French government. Grand historical theses need, however, to be well grounded in the nitty-gritty of human affairs. The book offers a detailed narrative of the execution of the Enterprise of Scotland. It introduces the reader to the operation's climactic moment and at the same time corrects misapprehensions about it that have crept in to the historiography that touches on the operation proper. The book also offers a new interpretation of the role of Queen Mary of Modena as de facto regent and thus director of the movement in the early eighteenth century. It highlights the unusually prominent role played by particular Scots noblewomen, such as Anne Drummond, countess of Erroll, and Elizabeth Howard, duchess of Gordon, in the conspiracy leading to the '08. In a context set by a desperate, epic global war and the angry, febrile politics of early eighteenth-century Scotland, the book contends that Britain was on the cusp of a military and constitutional upheaval.

Katherine Aron-Beller

1 Jews, Papal Inquisitors and the Estense dukes In 1598, the year that Duke Cesare d’Este (1562–1628) lost Ferrara to Papal forces and moved the capital of his duchy to Modena, the Papal Inquisition in Modena was elevated from vicariate to full Inquisitorial status. Despite initial clashes with the Duke, the Inquisition began to prosecute not only heretics and blasphemers, but also professing Jews. Such a policy towards infidels by an organization appointed to enquire into heresy (inquisitio haereticae pravitatis) was unusual. In order to understand this process

in Jews on trial
Open Access (free)
Katherine Aron-Beller

7 Proselytizing at Purim On 23 March 1625, five years before the Great Plague would come with fury to Modena and carry off almost half its population, the Jewish festival of Purim coincided with Palm Sunday. In the latter part of the morning, many poor Jews crowded the palazzo of the 73–year-old Jewish banker Moisè de Modena (‘that old hunchback’, as he was endearingly called by his Christian clients), who lived in Via San Giorgio in Modena, as well as those of other prosperous Jews, in anticipation of receiving il buon Purim, a monetary gift for the Jewish

in Jews on trial
Open Access (free)
Katherine Aron-Beller

Introduction This book explores two areas of interest: the Papal Inquisition in Modena and the status of Jews in an early modern Italian duchy. Its purpose is to deepen existing insights into the role of the former and thus lead to a better understanding of how an Inquisitorial court assumed jurisdiction over a practising Jewish community in the seventeenth century. In recent years, a significant number of publications and conferences has reflected increasing interest in the history of the Inquisition. However, efforts to identify individual Jews (who had no

in Jews on trial
Open Access (free)
Jewish masters and Christian servants
Katherine Aron-Beller

risk of apostasy, or so the Inquisitors believed. These processi bear witness to the frequency of Christian servants working in Jewish households in this period. Although most of them worked for wealthy Jews, the practice of servant-keeping extended far down society; even poor Jews sometimes had servants and wetnurses, who occasionally stayed for long periods. At the same time, the relationship between a Christian wetnurse or servant and her Jewish master in seventeenth-century Modena constitutes an important motif for the historian. Primary issues include the

in Jews on trial
Open Access (free)
Verbal offences on the streets of Modena
Katherine Aron-Beller

4 The piazza: verbal offences on the streets of Modena There were twenty-two processi in which Jews were prosecuted for blasphemy, heretical blasphemy and insults in our period. These offences were allegedly committed in public, in a street, shop or piazza where most daily contact between Jews and Christians took place. These processi are considered as legal narratives in the same genre and show the efforts of the Inquisition to control Jewish speech. One should not suggest that these narratives are static – quite the contrary: verbal offences respond to the

in Jews on trial
Abstract only
Andrew McRae
and
John West

Modena. The titles of both poems declared that they were written by a member of the Quakers, a Protestant sect formed in the 1650s whose belief that they were guided by the ‘Inner Light’ drew much condemnation. Each poem was attributed to William Penn, Quaker leader, founder of Pennsylvania and one of James II’s closest advisors during the late 1680s when Catholics and some dissenters joined forces to promote liberty of conscience. In a single-sheet pamphlet dated 30 April 1685, however, Penn denied any involvement in either of the poems, insisting that he would never

in Literature of the Stuart successions
Open Access (free)
Katherine Aron-Beller

category of guilt, recognizing the difference in degree of transgressions and framing the punishments of Jews according to those gradations alone. However questionable the nature of the offences it prosecuted, the Holy Office worked according to the criterion of a legal code that gave attention to the rights of Jewish defendants, and limited the use of torture, just as it did for Christians. As a result, Inquisitorial punishments against Jews in Modena remained relatively mild. Between 1598 and 1638, 45% of the processi were discontinued. Inquisitors seemed to be

in Jews on trial
Open Access (free)
Katherine Aron-Beller

the rulings of Inquisitorial edicts, and trial proceedings reveal this ignorance rather than an intention to offend. Yet, as has been noted, the number of processi against Jews in Modena far outnumber those of other states. The Inquisition’s power to prosecute and punish reflected its policy to severely restrict Jewish behaviour by disarming the Jewish threat to Christians and by keeping the two apart. Judaism was seen as a dangerous and inferior doctrine of devotional ceremonies, constituting an insult to Christianity, from which it needed to be isolated. The

in Jews on trial