The Portuguese Inquisition is a popular historical subject among Portuguese and Brazilian historians. The scholarship that has been produced about this institution can be roughly categorized in four different approaches. The first approach contemplates the Inquisition as an institution within the religious layout of the Portuguese Early Modern state, although the correlation between the actions of the Inquisition and the role of the Crown is often disregarded.1 In this large field of scholarship, historians have privileged either the study of the internal functioning of the Inquisition as an institution or a comparative approach between the Portuguese and other European Inquisitions (usually the Italian and the Spanish counterparts). The second approach contemplates the Inquisition as a prosecutorial institution with specific racial goals, being the persecution of Judaizing New Christians the most popular among historians.2 In this approach, two strains come to the fore. On the one hand, historians who use the documents of the Inquisition to show case the life of an individual or a family (prosopography and genealogical narratives) and, on the other hand, historians who show case the Inquisitorial obsession with specific groups (usually merchant groups). The third approach, by now outdated and old fashioned, although never scholarly contested, is that of the Inquisition as a predatory mechanism for the capturing of resources to sustain the institution itself.3 The fourth and last approach is of a utilitarian nature, where the court records of the Inquisition are used by historians as sources of non-European history, especially regarding victims of the institution of African, Asian or American descent.4 Again in this approach, prosopography and individual narratives dominate the scholarly production.
This lecture is part of the monthly IISH Seminar series. In principle, seminars take place every first Tuesday of the month. The seminar is open to the public, but with regard to accommodation and distribution of the paper in advance, we would like you to register with Jacqueline Rutte, firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive the paper after registration. After the lecture we serve drinks. We are looking forward to meeting you.