God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World
by Cullen Murphy '74
"Persecution is as old as man. What distinguishes inquisitions are communications, bureaucracy and single-mindedness. It is the last feature that gives rise to what Mr. Murphy calls 'the inquisitorial impulse.'" - Patricia Cohen, The New York Times
- Learn more about the author (view alumni profile)
- Listen to the interview with Cullen Murphy '74 and Martha Umphrey, professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought
- Read an excerpt
- Read the review from the Amherst magazine
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The Inquisition conducted its last execution in 1826--the victim was a Spanish schoolmaster convicted of heresy. But as Cullen Murphy '74 shows in this provocative new work, not only did its offices survive into the twentieth century, in the modern world its spirit is more influential than ever.
Established by the Catholic Church in 1231, the Inquisition continued in one form or another for almost seven hundred years, pioneering surveillance, censorship and "scientific" interrogation. As time went on, its methods and mindset spread far beyond the Church to become tools of secular persecution. Traveling from freshly opened Vatican archives to the detention camps of Guantanamo to the filing cabinets of the Third Reich, Murphy traces the Inquisition and its legacy.
With the combination of vivid immediacy and learned analysis that characterized his acclaimed Are We Rome?, Murphy puts a human face on a familiar but little-known piece of our past, and argues that only by understanding the Inquisition can we hope to explain the making of the present.