Cullen Murphy is the editor at large at Vanity Fair and the former managing editor of the Atlantic Monthly. He is the author of Are We Rome?, The Word According to Eve, and the essay collection Just Curious.
In 1998, the Vatican opened the Archivio della Congregazione per Dottrina della Fede, the Inquisition archive, thereby unveiling to the world the secrets of censorship and persecution that the Catholic Church had hidden since the Middle Ages. Journalist Murphy (The Word According to Eve) visits the archives several times and in his typically compelling style leads readers on a journey through the many inquisitions conducted by the Church over time, from the Spanish Inquisition to the Roman Inquisition of the 16th century. Murphy convincingly demonstrates that while the inquisitions most often are associated with the Church, they arise anytime an organization, state, or institution possesses and uses tools-such as censorship and torture-to stoke and manage suspicion, intolerance, and hatred of the other. Inquisitions require a system of law that can be administered with uniformity, the power to conduct interrogations and extract information, a bureaucracy with a large staff of individuals to administer it, a capacity to restrict the communications of others, and a source of power to ensure enforcement. Murphy powerfully shows that the impulse to inquisition can quietly take root in any system-civil or religious-that orders our lives. (Jan. 17) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Cullen Murphy's account of the Inquisition is a dark but
riveting tale, told with luminous grace. The Inquisition, he
shows us, represents more than a historical episode of religious
persecution. The drive to root out heresy and sin, once and for
all, is emblematic of the modern age and a persisting danger in our
--Michael J. Sandel, author of Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?"From Torquemada to Guantanamo and beyond, Cullen Murphy finds the 'inquisorial Impulse' alive, and only too well, in our world. His engaging romp through the secret Vatican archives shows that the distance between the Dark Ages and Modernity is shockingly short. Who knew that reading about torture could be so entertaining?"
--Jane Mayer, author of The Dark Side."God's Jury is a reminder, and we need to be constantly reminded, that the most dangerous people in the world are the righteous, and when they wield real power, look out. At once global and chillingly intimate in its reach, the Inquisition turns out to have been both more and less awful than we thought. Murphy wears his erudition lightly, writes with quiet wit, and has a delightful way of seeing the past in the present."
--Mark Bowden, author of Guest of the Ayatollah"When virtue arms itself - beware! Lucid, scholarly, elegantly told, God's Jury is as gripping as it is important."
--James Carroll, author of Jerusalem, Jerusalem "There will never be a finer example of erudition, worn lightly and wittily, than this book. As he did in Are We Rome?, Cullen Murphy manages to instruct, surprise, charm, and amuse in his history of ancient matters deftly connected to the present."
--James Fallows, National Correspondent for The Atlantic "The Inquisition is a dark mark in the history of the Catholic Church. But it was not the first inquisition nor the last as Cullen Murphy shows in this far-ranging, informed, and (dare one say?) witty account of its reach down to our own time in worldly affairs more than ecclesiastical ones."
-- Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, former editor, Commonweal