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.
relation to conversos – that is, Jews who forcibly or out of choice had converted to Christianity – either as former conversos themselves or as those who gave conversos returning to Judaism aid and comfort), and understand the issues confronting them in the Inquisition are just beginning to be considered.1 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
prosecuted by the ecclesiastical tribunals. When Duke Ercole III (1780–96) came to abolish the Holy Office in Modena on 6 September 1785 – the day that Giuseppe Maria Orlandi, the last Inquisitor General of Modena and Reggio, died – his execution of this act came with little justification. It seems that he had merely been waiting, out of gentlemanly cordiality, for the death of the Inquisitor to abolish the Holy Office in his capital, thereby finally following the pattern that had already occurred in other states in Italy. Inquisitorial jurisdiction was transferred to the
records, but usually present and undoubtedly prominent in the minds of critics, would have been 103 R. H. Helmholz a group of apparitors or summoners, the men who served the citations and other legal process that compelled parties to appear in court. They had to be present to prove that the absentees and the contumacious had in fact been lawfully summoned. This small group of men was all there was in the way of legal professionals. There were thus fewer subordinate officials in England than would have been present in similar ecclesiastical tribunals in many parts of