May 17, 2018
From the High Middle Ages, Europe developed into a “persecuting
society,” obsessed with stamping out the “cancer” of heresy. But
questions about how this was accomplished — and the consequences of
these developments — abound:
- Why did popes and secular rulers shift from persuasion to
persecution of heretics?
- Why was human choice in matters of religious belief considered
a mortal threat to Christendom itself?
- Why did bookish inquisitors armed with legal procedure,
interrogation manuals, data and archives succeed where bloody
crusades and mass slaughter failed?
- How did the “machinery of persecution” developed in the Late
Middle Ages affect other minority groups such as Jews?
- Are inquisitions a thing of a past and dark hyper-religious
age, or a timeless instrument with appeal to the “righteous mind”
whether secular or religious?
- What are the similarities between medieval laws against heresy
and modern laws against hate speech?
We try to answer these questions — and more — in the latest
episode of our Clear and Present Danger podcast.
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Stay up to date with Clear and Present Danger on the show’s
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