An Uncertain Sword

Stephen Haliczer

in Between Exaltation and Infamy

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780195148633
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199869923 | DOI:
An Uncertain Sword

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Without questioning the existence and validity of genuine divine revelation, the Inquisition nonetheless concerned itself with the problem of fraudulent mystical experiences, which were understood to be demonic in origin. Women were especially vulnerable to ‘false’ mysticism because of their perceived emotional frailty and temptation to the sin of pride. To distinguish between ‘false’ and authentic divine communication, the Inquisition created a set of criteria by which to judge a visionary's claim. Women who were charged with ‘false’ mysticism were subjected to a process of imprisonment, trial, and sentencing by the Inquisition, although generally, those found guilty were not severely punished but rather subjected to corrective education and curtailment.

Keywords: criteria; demonic; fraudulent; Inquisition; mysticism; revelation; women

Chapter.  11377 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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