Censorship and Dissent

Language, Heresy and Dissent: Understanding Early Modern Dissent


The aim of this line of research is to analyse and understand the theory of error and ways of categorizing dissent in the second half of the sixteenth century, when thought became centred on propositiones damnabiles, knowledge and implementation of procedures for the censorship of texts and propositions (either for the faculties, the Holy Office or the Crown) became professionalized among theologians, and the aspiration to preserve the faith of the simple by managing and monitoring doctrinal discourse in the vernacular was  generalized in opposition to the Reformation.

Within this framework of reflection, we seek to consider the following questions: On what shared principles was the discourse of censorship based? How and where were such principles made explicit and their metalanguage discussed? What were the conceptual tools that allowed the proposals of ‘healing’ or expurgation? How was the catalogue of propositiones damnabiles ordered? How was the concept of propositio haereticalis constructed and what were its limits? What is the intellectual genealogy of the minor censures? How was dissenting language, polemical speech, and the discourse of dissent identified? What was the impact of the language of the censor on other disciplines and discourses? How was the inquisitorial notion of heresy and error of faith redefined in the Early Modern age as the Reformation and new models of spirituality advanced?

Line of research team