God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World

God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World

by Cullen Murphy
3.9 11

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God's Jury 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
-traveler- More than 1 year ago
Humor is not something I would have expected from a book about inquisitions, but Murphy frequently manages it. The book is well researched, well written and highly readable. Murphy compares inquistions of the past with our current state of affairs. The players have changed, but the tactics remain. For anyone interested in the history of Christianity or human history, this is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished reading an extraordinary book called God’s Jury: The Inquisition and the making of the Modern World. The Inquisition was established by the church in 1231 and lasted in some form or another for about 700 years. Its purpose was to identify and destroy heresy, free thinking, and any thoughts that challenged the authority of the church. Its targets were Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, scientists and anyone else who disagreed with their version of truth. The most common sentence carried out was burning at the stake, but multiple other forms of torture we used including the rack, water boarding, and placing bricks on a person’s chest until they confessed to whatever they were accused of. A key factor in the making of an inquisition is a belief in the certainty that one is absolutely right. Galileo was called before the Inquisition for proposing the crazy idea that the earth revolves around the sun. Since the church started with the conclusion that the earth is the center of the universe, any evidence contrary to this was obviously heresy. The author did an excellent job of tying the motives and the tactics of the Inquisition to modern day events. The idea of “Moral Certainty” is a very dangerous phenomenon, then and now. From the book “Inquisitions invite one group – national, religious, political, corporate, - to sit in judgment of members of another: to think of themselves, in a sense, as God’s jury. …. the impulse arises from a vision of ultimate good, a conviction of ultimate truth, and some certainty about a desired place – and about whom to blame for the obstacles in the way.” Fortunately, for all of us, the Enlightenment period came along, led by free thinkers such as John Locke who put forward ideas that human beings do not and cannot know for sure which truths are “true”, and attempting to compel beliefs leads to trouble. The printing press started the beginning of the end of the official Inquisition. The guardians of the truth as determined by the church could not keep up with the volume and the accessibility of ideas being perpetuated. This is analogous to the internet today. In my opinion, the take away message from God’s Jury, is to use extreme caution when someone claims to have moral certainty regarding truth. Be on the lookout for a pattern of logic that starts with a conclusion as to what is true and proceeds to judge the evidence by if, and how, it supports the conclusion. The lessons of the book apply directly to issues of our time, separation of church and state, individual freedom, the Patriot Act, the war on terrorism, Guantanamo Bay, censorship of the internet, decisions by school boards on school book curriculum, etc. The Inquisition set back the progress in the human condition by 500 years by imposing an ‘us versus them’ view of the world. Let’s not let that happen again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Inquisition is a subject I have been long interested in, and this book makes it very understandable, altho it is not a book you would sit down and read like a novel. It takes some reflection, and time to absorb the enormity of the situation. The religious, political, sociological and psychological aspects are nicely woven together with historical perspective which gives the reader a real feel for the subject. I haven't finished reading it yet, but glad it is on my NOOK so I can read a chapter every few days when I have time to give it some real thought.
Gofair More than 1 year ago
Cullen Murphy does a pretty good job in showing the flow of history and how the "inquisition" has lived on into modern times. Murphy spreads the idea over a timeline that is easily digestible for the reader to understand. I would have liked to see more on each part of the inquisition (Medieval, Spanish, and Roman) and how it pertained to the modern tactics that are being utilized throughout the world. In addition, possibly a bit more about each of the periods for which the inquisition was based.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
brings the Patriot Act into perspective - shows the deadly righteousness of factions who are convinced tha they are right and need to stamp out wrongs. Frightening that we will not be able to undo the Patriot Act either.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Murphy is not a historian and this book reflects poor scholarship. It is replete with many half truths and some just plain untruths which are not recognizable to one without an in depth knowldge of this era. There is also a great deal of thinly veiled bias in this book.