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Between Exaltation and InfamyFemale Mystics in the Golden Age of Spain$
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Stephen Haliczer

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195148633

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195148630.001.0001

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An Uncertain Sword

An Uncertain Sword

Chapter:
(p.125) 6 An Uncertain Sword
Source:
Between Exaltation and Infamy
Author(s):

Stephen Haliczer (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195148630.003.0007

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

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