Author: Tamar Herzig

Abstract

This article reconstructs a network of Dominican inquisitors who facilitated the reception and adaptation of northern European demonological notions in the Italian peninsula. It focuses on the collaboration of Italian friars with Heinrich Kramer, the infamous Alsatian witch-hunter and author of the Malleus Maleficarum (1486). Drawing on newly-discovered archival sources as well as on published works from the early sixteenth century, it proposes that Italian inquisitors provided Kramer with information on local saintly figures and were, in turn, influenced by his views on witchcraft. Following their encounter with Kramer in 1499-1500, they came to regard witches as members of an organized diabolical sect, and were largely responsible for turning the Malleus into the focal point of the Italian debate over witch-hunting. I argue that Kramer's case attests to the important role of papal inquisitors before the Reformation in bridging the cultural and religious worlds south and north of the Alps.

In: Journal of Early Modern History
In: A Companion to Observant Reform in the Late Middle Ages and Beyond
In: Knowledge and Religion in Early Modern Europe 
Author: Tamar Herzig

Abstract

This essay probes the judicial and theological aspects of the conversion of convicted Jewish criminals in central and northern Italy in the pre-Reformation era. First, it delineates the rise in Jewish conversions in the first half of the fifteenth century. It then moves on to the last few decades of the fifteenth century, an era marked by the mounting efforts of Italian ruling elites to display their Catholic piety publicly. In some Italian states, I propose, pardoning convicted Jewish offenders in exchange for their baptism became an important means for achieving this goal. Nonetheless, not all secular authorities were willing to privilege the manifestation of religious zeal over the assertion of their sovereign power to condemn and punish. As documented in the last parts of the essay, in 1491 the issue provoked a vociferous debate in Ferrara and Mantua, featuring the differing judicial stances regarding the earthly implications of the sacrament of baptism.

In: Forced Conversion in Christianity, Judaism and Islam
The interplay between knowledge and religion forms a pivotal component of how early modern individuals and societies understood themselves and their surroundings. Knowledge of the self in pursuit of salvation, humanistic knowledge within a confessional education, as well as inherently subversive knowledge acquired about religion(s) offer instructive instances of this interplay. To these are added essays on medical knowledge in its religious and social contexts, the changing role of imagination in scientific thought, the philosophical and political problems of representation, and attempts to counter Enlightenment criteria of knowledge at the end of the period, serving here as multifaceted studies of the dynamics and shifts in sensitivity and stress in the interplay between knowledge and religion within evolving early modern contexts.
In: Knowledge and Religion in Early Modern Europe 
In: Knowledge and Religion in Early Modern Europe 
Peoples, Economies and Cultures, 400-1500
The aim of this series is to publish outstanding, original scholarly monographs and article collections, as well as editions and translations of primary sources, encompassing any aspect of the history of the Medieval Mediterranean. All methodological approaches—including interdisciplinary ones—are welcome. The vast majority of the books in the series are in the English language, although works of outstanding quality in French or German are sometimes included.

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