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The Inquisition in New Spain, 1536–1820

A Documentary History

The Inquisition! Just the word itself evokes, to the modern reader, endless images of torment, violence, corruption, and intolerance committed in the name of Catholic orthodoxy and societal conformity. But what do most people actually know about the Inquisition, its ministers, its procedures? This systematic, comprehensive look at one of the most important Inquisition tribunals in the New World reveals a surprisingly diverse panorama of actors, events, and ideas that came into contact and conflict in the central arena of religious faith.

Edited and annotated by John F. Chuchiak IV, this collection of previously untranslated and unpublished documents from the Holy Office of the Inquisition in New Spain provides a clear understanding of how the Inquisition originated, evolved, and functioned in the colonial Spanish territories of Mexico and northern Central America. The three sections of documents lay out the laws and regulations of the Inquisition, follow examples of its day-to-day operations and procedures, and detail select trial proceedings. Chuchiak’s opening chapter and brief section introductions provide the social, historical, political, and religious background necessary to comprehend the complex and generally misunderstood institutions of the Inquisition and the effect it has had on societal development in modern-day Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras.

Featuring fifty-eight newly translated documents, meticulous annotations, and trenchant contextual analysis, this documentary history is an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to understand the Inquisition in general and its nearly three-hundred-year reign in the New World in particular.

About the Authors

John F. Chuchiak IV is a professor of Colonial Latin American History and the Rich and Doris Young Honors College Endowed Professor at Missouri State University, where he is the director of the Honors College and of the Latin American, Caribbean, and Hispanic Studies Program.

Endorsements

Destined to become the standard reference guide to the Inquisition in the New World.

- Javier Villa-Flores, author of Dangerous Speech: A Social History of Blasphemy in Colonial Mexico

Reviewss

This collection of documents pertaining to the Holy Office of the Inquisition for New Spain makes an important contribution to readers' understanding of the efforts to maintain social control and religious conformity in multiethnic New Spain.

- Choice

Chuchiak's book is recommended for classroom use as well as for researchers and lecturers on the subject. Those interested in knowing more about the Inquisition will find this book a must read.

- Colonial Latin American Historical Review

John F. Chuchiak offers the most comprehensive account published in English of the administrative operation of the Inquisition in New Spain.

- Jose Esquibel - Good Reads

A revelation and a pleasure. [ The Inquisition in New Spain, 1536–1820] will be much appreciated by scholars and students of colonial Latin America.

- Matthew Restall - Journal of Latin American Studies
Johns Hopkins University Press
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