Good Intro to a Dark Chapter In History
Matthew S. Schweitzer | Columbus, OH United States | 11/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The History Channel's documentary on The Inquisition is a good introduction to a dark and gloomy chapter in Western history. The Holy Office of the Inquisition was created by the Pope ostensibly to "save souls" by rooting out heresy and sending unrepentant offenders to a fiery death at the stake. In doing so, it created an enduring legacy of misery and death.
The Inquisition was created in the early 13th century to eliminate the dangerous threat of a number of popular heretical groups such as the Waldensians and the Cathars. The Cathars were virtually exterminated by a papal ordered crusade, but the Church found that in order to truly extinguish the threat to their dominance completely, they needed to create an institution that could investigate and punish anyone found to harbor what the Church deemed to be "false doctrine". Thus was the Inquisition born. Over the course of its 800 year history, the Inquisition was responsible for untold misery and suffering in the name of salvation. Abused by power hungry clerics and abetted by corrupt secular officials, the Inquisition spread throughout Europe and soon not only persecuted suspected heretics, but also Jews, Muslims, and those accused of being witches or necromancers. The story of the Inquisition and its sorid history is long and this documentary cannot encompass all of it, but it does a fair job of highlighting its origins, its motivations, and its single-minded persecution of the so-called "Others" in a Europe that was slowly changing as it entered the modern period and struggling to shed the vestiges of the Middle Ages. The documentary does highlight recent scholarship on the Inquisition and works to dispel some common myths and misconceptions about the use of torture and just how many people were actually executed during its reign.
The History Channel has done a decent job of bringing the history of this shadowy period to life and will certainly point interested individuals to more detailed references on the subject. The legacy of the Inquisition still lingers with us into our own modern age and we could do well to learn from it.
Balanced portray of the History of the Holy Inquisition
Gladys Fernandez | USA | 12/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First I want to thank the other 2 reviewers, whose summaries helped me decide to buy the DVD.
In addition to what they stated, I rate this DVD outstanding because it avoided a challenge that frequently meets anyone discussing this topic: bias. Based on documentary evidence, clearly stated from the start, the makers achieve a factual history of this complex institution from its inception in only a few hours, cleverly avoiding gruesome images too familiar for all who speak of the Inquisition: Joan of Arc, Galileo, and Bruno, among others, victims of unexplained injustice and cruelty. Instead, we are provided with the facts of how and why were the targets of the Inquisition chosen through the ages, and how the structure and governance of the Inquisition changed.
I RECOMMEND IT HIGHLY, with "The Dark Ages (DVD)" and "Joan of Arc - Child of War, Soldier of God (DVD)", and surfing Wikipedia!"
A good look into the dark ages.
Rhett D. Sorensen | Provo, Ut USA | 05/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I found this DVD pretty entertaining and reasonably educational. I was a little surprised at how much the inquisition was DEFENDED by some historians. They also played down much of what I had learned previously (mostly concerning torture and murder) i will have to delve deeper into the subject to know be able to decide if the inquisition is simply a misunderstood and overhyped era, as much of this documentary suggested. (Fortunatley we will cover this in my medieval history class this fall)
It was a watchable and entertaining video, and it certainly offered something in the way of education. (it wasn't the best as far as dramatizations are concerned and could've been more entertaining, but it was still good enough to hold my attention and keep me from getting bored.)"
R. J. Martinez | USA | 06/20/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Interesting but boring. I say that with great respect for the truth behind this history. I will have to watch this one a couple of times."