The Quest for Certainty in Early Modern Europe: From Inquisition to Inquiry, 1550-1700

Edited by Barbara Fuchs and Mercedes García-Arenal

© 2020

This interdisciplinary collection explores how the early modern pursuit of knowledge in very different spheres – from Inquisitional investigations to biblical polemics to popular healing – was conditioned by a shared desire for certainty, and how epistemological crises produced by the religious upheavals of early modern Europe were also linked to the development of new scientific methods. Questions of representation became newly fraught as the production of knowledge increasingly challenged established orthodoxies. The volume focuses on the social and institutional dimensions of inquiry in light of political and cultural challenges, while also foregrounding the Hispanic world, which has often been left out of histories of scepticism and modernity. Featuring essays by historians and literary scholars from Europe and the United States, The Quest for Certainty in Early Modern Europe reconstructs the complexity of early modern epistemological debates across the disciplines, in a variety of cultural, social, and intellectual locales.

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Product Details

  • Series: UCLA Clark Memorial Library Series
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.2in x 9.3in
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  • PUBLISHED MAR 2020

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    Regular Price: $75.00

    ISBN 9781487507060
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Quick Overview

Reflecting on humanity’s shared desire for certainty, this book explores the discrepancies between religious adherence and inner belief specific to the early modern period, a time marred by forced conversions and inquisition.

The Quest for Certainty in Early Modern Europe: From Inquisition to Inquiry, 1550-1700

Edited by Barbara Fuchs and Mercedes García-Arenal

© 2020

This interdisciplinary collection explores how the early modern pursuit of knowledge in very different spheres – from Inquisitional investigations to biblical polemics to popular healing – was conditioned by a shared desire for certainty, and how epistemological crises produced by the religious upheavals of early modern Europe were also linked to the development of new scientific methods. Questions of representation became newly fraught as the production of knowledge increasingly challenged established orthodoxies. The volume focuses on the social and institutional dimensions of inquiry in light of political and cultural challenges, while also foregrounding the Hispanic world, which has often been left out of histories of scepticism and modernity. Featuring essays by historians and literary scholars from Europe and the United States, The Quest for Certainty in Early Modern Europe reconstructs the complexity of early modern epistemological debates across the disciplines, in a variety of cultural, social, and intellectual locales.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: UCLA Clark Memorial Library Series
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.2in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    "The Quest for Certainty in Early Modern Europe is a very well-conceived volume containing essays of a uniformly high standard by authors who are leading authorities in their respective fields. I have no doubt it will quickly establish itself as a significant point of reference not only for historians of religious history but also for those of literature, science, and intellectual history more generally."


    Simon Ditchfield, Department of History, University of York

    "The Quest for Certainty in Early Modern Europe is a truly outstanding collection of studies featuring an extraordinary bounty of archival and textual sources. Chapter after chapter, it turns what might otherwise have been dry theological debates into fascinating glimpses into the lives and works of theologians wrestling with what to do when faced with uncertainty. I have honestly never been as interested in issues of casuistry, probabilism, and jurisprudence as I have when reading the pages of this book."


    John Slater, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of California, Davis
  • Author Information

    Barbara Fuchs is a professor of Spanish and English at UCLA.


    Mercedes García-Arenal is a research professor at Grupo de Investigación de Historia Cultural del Mediterráneo.
  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgments

    Introduction
    Mercedes García-Arenal

    I. Staging Inquisitions: Nature, Culture, Religion

    1. Trusting the “I”: Picaresque Confession and Early Modern Scepticism
    Barbara Fuchs

    2. Feeling Certainty, Performing Sincerity: The Emotional Hermeneutics of Truth in Inquisitorial and Theatrical Practice
    Paul Michael Johnson

    3. Conflicting Certainties or Different Truths: Healers and Inquisition in Baroque Spain
    María Luz López Terrada

    4. True Peste and False Doors: Medical and Legal Discourse during the Great Castilian Plague, 1596–1601
    Ruth MacKay

    5. Policing Talent in Early Modern Jesuit Rome: Difference, Self-Knowledge, and Career Specialization
    Javier Patiño Loira

    II. Negotiating History and Theology

    6. Stolen Saint: Relic Theft and Relic Identification in Seventeenth-Century Rome
    A. Katie Stirling-Harris

    7. Baptizing “Uncertain Human Beings”? Probabilist Theology and the Question of the Beginning of Human Life in Seventeenth-Century Catholicism
    Stefania Tutino

    8. Truth and Human History in Melchor Cano’s De locis theologicis
    Fernando Rodríguez Mediano

    9. Ambivalent Origins: Isaac La Peyrère and the Politics of Historical Certainty in Seventeenth-Century Europe
    Carlos Cañete

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