Neil Tarrant, "Defining Nature's Limits: The Roman Inquisition and the Boundaries of Science" (U Chicago Press, 2022)

New Books in Italian Studies

Sep 13 2023 • 1 hr 9 mins

Neil Tarrant challenges conventional thinking by looking at the longer history of censorship, considering a five-hundred-year continuity of goals and methods stretching from the late eleventh century to well into the sixteenth. Unlike earlier studies, Defining Nature's Limits: The Roman Inquisition and the Boundaries of Science (U Chicago Press, 2022) engages the history of both learned and popular magic. Tarrant explains how the church developed a program that sought to codify what was proper belief through confession, inquisition, and punishment and prosecuted what they considered superstition or heresy that stretched beyond the boundaries of religion. These efforts were continued by the Roman Inquisition, established in 1542. Although it was designed primarily to combat Protestantism, from the outset the new institution investigated both practitioners of “illicit” magic and inquiries into natural philosophy, delegitimizing certain practices and thus shaping the development of early modern science. Describing the dynamics of censorship that continued well into the post-Reformation era, Defining Nature's Limits is revisionist history that will interest scholars of the history of science, the history of magic, and the history of the church alike. Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!