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The Spanish Inquisition Paperback – December 17, 1996
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From the Back Cover
The long series of events leading up to the establishment of the Inquisition and the following three and a half centuries of torment that spread from Spain to Portugal and even to the New World are here documented by Cecil Roth of Oxford, one of the world's great authorities on Jewish history.
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The strongpoint of Roth's account is the clarity with which he tells the story, in particular highlighting some of the consequences that ought to have been anticipated from the manner in which the Inquisition was constructed. For instance, the Inquisition acquired the financial holdings of those whom it convicted of heresy. This, of course, provided the Inquisitors with powerful financial motivation to either find the accused guilty or to extort money from them.
The weakness of Roth's book is that while he hints at other views about events of the Inquisition, he never explains what these other views are, or what the underlying issues are.
I am utterly mystified by one reviewer who seems to criticize this book because it accuses the Church of anti-Semitism. Is this news? The entire initial point of the Spanish Inquisition was to ferret out Jews who had forcibly been converted to Catholicism and still retained their Jewish beliefs and ceremonies. I am not sure how this cannot be interpreted anti-Semitism, unless one is using some very unusual criteria. Morever, scholars working in a number of areas have detected a fair degree of anti-Semitism in the history of Roman Catholicism. Does this mean that all Roman Catholics in history have been anti-Semites? Absolutely not. But it does mean that it is a phenomenon that has reappeared over and over throughout European history. What possible reason would anyone have for denying that the Spanish Inquisition was not profoundly anti-Semitic? That it was would seem to undeniable to anyone with even the most cursory acquaintance with Spanish history.
Other reviewers have felt that Roth is merely out to criticize the Catholic Church. Simply because he critiques one aspect of the Catholic Church doesn't mean that he would find nothing of value within Catholicism. Roth was himself Jewish, so he was not writing from within the Catholic tradition. But I can't understand why someone writing from within the tradition couldn't arrive at an assessment very close to that of Roth's.
So, while this isn't the best book on the Spanish Inquisition (indeed, no clearly best book would seem to exist currently), this is a very adequate survey of the subject.
The Spanish Inquisition was nothing more than an attempt by the Vatican to steal the wealth of Spanish Jews under the guise of Christian primacy as a religion.
Most Christians will probably hate this book since it reveals the perversity of the Roman Church in its demented quest for dominating the World - by persecuting, torturing and murdering those that belong to the first and only truly monotheistic religion - the Jewish people.
I recommend this book to all those honest people that are looking for 'truth as a guiding light'.
I'll not take the time to rewrite my original review if it is only going to be redacted, but the short form of what I have to say about this book is this: it is pure anti-catholic bigoted propaganda. The "history" of this book is convenient invention of British polemicists to attack their hated Catholic and Spanish rivals in one shot. The Inquisition was not one of the high points in history, but it was not the horror that it has been cracked up to be either.
A more fair and balanced view of the Spanish Inquisition can be found in Henry Kamen's "The Spanish Inqusition". Don't bother with this one.