The Heart of Heresy: Inquisition, Medicine, and False Sanctity 34

in Medicine and the Inquisition in the Early Modern World
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Abstract

This paper examines the engagement of various officials and tribunals of the Roman Inquisition with the new anatomical studies of the early modern period. It argues that although inquisition officers were frequently very aware of the latest medical theories, they actively chose not to employ anatomical or medical evidence when evaluating the unusual physical symptoms that might be associated with false or affected sanctity. This attitude stands in contrast to the employment of anatomical knowledge by other ecclesiastical institutions – e.g. the Congregation of Rites – and suggests that the Inquisition held a different, and perhaps more modern, view about the relationship between natural knowledge and religion.