Thursday, March 8, 2012

Aron-Beller, "Jews on Trial: The Papal Inquisition in Modena, 1598-1638"

We have just learned of the following release, from Manchester University Press: Jews on Trial: The Papal Inquisition in Modena, 1598-1638, by Katherine Aron-Beller (Gratz College). Here's the publisher's description:
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 the Inquisitorial tribunal assumed jurisdiction over a practising Jewish community in the seventeenth century. 
Scholars have in the past tended to group trials of Jews and conversos in Italy together and to see these two groups as being treated as one and the same by the Inquisition. This book argues that trials of the two groups are different because the ecclesiastical tribunals viewed conversos as heretics but Jews as infidels. It emphasizes the fundamental disparity in Inquisitorial procedure regarding Jews, as well as the evidence examined, especially in Modena where the secular authority did not have the power during the period in question to reject or even significantly monitor Inquisitorial trial procedure, and uses the detailed testimony to be found in trial transcripts to analyze Jewish interaction with Christian society in an early modern community.
Jews on trial concentrates on Inquisitorial activity during the first forty 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. This book will appeal to scholars of inquisitorial studies, social and cultural interaction in early modern Europe, Jewish Italian social history and anti-Semitism.
The TOC is available here.

We learned of the book from In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Librarians of Congress. The LOC is hosting a presentation on the book on March 21.