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Lecture

HTST 489 Lecture Notes - Political Warfare, Church Attendance, Habsburg Monarchy


Department
History
Course Code
HTST 489
Professor
John Ferris

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HTST489
Nov 15
TA will be doing a lecture on Monday – there will be a final question based on it.
Protestant states have their own variant of the Inquisition – idea of monitoring members of a
nonofficial religion becomes standard practice in western european states in this era.
Interrogation techniques of the inquisition seem very sophisticated. Attempting to deal with any case it
would view as heretical – though heresy can take many forms. Someone who was gay would be taken
under Inquisitor's purview as it involved secular and religious crime of sodomy. Run by church
authorities but cooperating as an arm of the state, given powers by the state. Local authorities allow
people to gather intel by any means. Power to arrest and interrogate people (includes torture as the
norm at the time). People confronted with testimony of others, asked to explain themselves – inquisitor
can check the records via the index and know if the person was accused before and use it against them.
Interrogation can be useful, but under the circumstances described it can be used to “cook the books” -
if you're looking for witches and expect to find them, suddenly they're everywhere. Info from
interrogation has to be taken with grain of salt.
Across Western and Central Europe from middle 1500s onward is that we see a number of linked
phenomenon everywhere. Higher degree of church attendance, of preaching than had existed in the
medieval era. In the 1500s onward, governments and churched are focused on trying to ensure their
population understand the basic catechism in their variant of christianity and are trying to eliminate
heresy. Thus a greater penetration of christian ideas. There is also a clear tendency for one religion to
come to dominate a single piece of territory – state in cooperation with religious authorities keep it so
only one form of christianity is taught. Between late 1500 and early 1600s, in the Netherlands and
England, possible for various members of religion to be able to practice their faith openly but as a
general rule you follow the faith your government endorses. Elaborate structures of surveillance to
monitor this, designed around religion instead of politics. Fairly effective – appears that increasingly a
population becomes converted to state religion, minorities monitored.
Around the 18th century, this monitoring becomes centered around political views instead of political
views. (Though in the early modern period, religion is political.) By the middle of the 18th century, this
focus begins to turn.
Censorship
English legal procedure for censorship starts in early 1500s up til the 1960s in practical terms – in
theory no play can be put on in London that hasn't been vetted by censor group.
There are censorship organizations in most advanced western european countries. Try to operate,
sometimes have effect, lots of sensation moments when a book is banned. Sometimes seem to be fairly
effective. Inquisition movement also focuses on keeping unauthorized versions of the bible outside of
Spain and Italy. Dealing with everything from heresy to pornography to politics. Impossible to keep
books from being smuggled in. Too many independent presses in too many cities.
States take issue of censorship somewhat seriously, trying to constain flow of certain ideas, divided
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