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Title: Maltese social and cultural values in perspective : confessions, accusations and the Inquisition Tribunal, 1771-1798
Authors: Camenzuli, Anthony (1999)
Keywords: Eighteenth century -- History
Civilization -- History
Social history -- Malta
Inquisition -- History
Order of St John -- Malta
Knights of Malta -- Malta
Issue Date: 1999
Citation: Camenzuli, A. (1999). Maltese social and cultural values in perspective : confessions, accusations and the Inquisition Tribunal, 1771-1798 (Master's dissertation).
Abstract: The extremely vast material of Inquisitorial criminal proceedings between 1771 and 1798 radiate an important light on Malta's society during the late eighteenth century. The Inquisition trials are the only copious sources that provide the actual voice of the common man as they explain both the hardships and problems that he faced. Therefore this dissertation attempts to assess the relationship that the Roman Inquisition had with Maltese society in general. This relationship is revealed essentially through the prevalence of popular perceptions and beliefs in a religious-prevalent society present in Malta of the Knights of St. John. The dissertation is divided into four chapters. The first chapter puts the local everyday social, economic and religious life, in a determined international context. This is also done by examining the role of the Inquisition Tribunal, and hence of the Council of Trent, and its impact on Maltese society in the late eighteenth century, in an attempt to further understand the functions of both the Inquisition and society. The second chapter deals exclusively with the magical beliefs and practices of Maltese society. This chapter examines these beliefs and practices, particularly bewitchment, the evil eye, healing remedies, love magic, divination, and black and learned magic. Worship of the devil was also present, particularly in evil magic. Nonetheless, the data studied here indicates that knowledge of magic was not only widespread, but also that oral traditions interacted with elite culture. Chapter three discusses heresy, or rather the popular religious beliefs and behaviour of the Maltese. This chapter gives a clear sign that although the Inquisition attempted to expel the varieties of heresies, particularly the spread of prohibited books, of blasphemy, of infringement of abstinence, of apostasy and the flow of Protestant heretics in the islands, nonetheless the majority of the people continued in their 'unorthodox' mode of relationship with the supernatural. Moreover, in the period under study, heresy took a more intellectual form thanks to the spirit of the Enlightenment. Irreverence, reaction and renunciation to the Catholic faith are discussed in detail in this chapter. Chapter four concentrates on honour and shame in Maltese society, from a Mediterranean perspective. This chapter therefore discusses illicit sexual relationships, bigamy, defamation, and violent behaviour in Maltese society, with particular reference to family relationships. Therefore, this chapter attempts to provide a deeper understanding of the derogatory ingredient in late eighteenth century Malta. A further study of the code 'honour and shame' is attempted as regard life and culture at sea. Overall, this chapter is particularly focused on male and female gender roles in late eighteenth century Malta. The conclusion therefore not only summarises the basic themes discussed above in order to create a defined model, but it also tries to furnish an awareness of the various aspects of popular beliefs and practices present in a society which helped to create the formation of a Maltese cultural identity after the eighteenth century.
Description: M.A.HISTORY
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 1999-2010
Dissertations - FacArtHis - 1967-2010

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