Lecture Eleven The Birth of the Inquisition

Scope: In Lecture Eleven, we study the birth of the Inquisition in the 1220s as a response to the spread of Catharism in late twelfth-century Languedoc. The lecture analyzes the meaning of the Inquisition in medieval culture and the historiographical debate on whether inquisitorial practices marked a significant shift in the treatment of heretics, Jews, women, and lepers. The lecture looks at the arguments for the emergence of exclusionary discourses and the creation of "otherness." The lecture concludes with a brief examination of the heresy of the Free Spirit, its implications for lay piety, new forms of sexuality, and the growing intolerance of the Church and Christian people in the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries.

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