It was assigned to me to read by my historiography professor, and I was taken away by this wonderful book. It is, as Gilderhus states, "a study of religious heresy among common people in Italy," specifically during the time of the Roman Inquisition in the second half of the sixteenth century. I enjoyed reading this book, and so here is a quick overview of the book itself and the ideas it represents. Menocchio proves to be a very interesting character as well, deviating from the established norm set down by the Church.
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It was assigned to me to read by my historiography professor, and I was taken away by this wonderful book. It is, as Gilderhus states, "a study of religious heresy among common people in Italy," specifically during the time of the Roman Inquisition in the second half of the sixteenth century. I enjoyed reading this book, and so here is a quick overview of the book itself and the ideas it represents.
Menocchio proves to be a very interesting character as well, deviating from the established norm set down by the Church. Ginzburg begins by introducing his miller, who then proceeds to explain all his various heresies, which of course earns him special attention and treatment by the church!
One of the heresies that was spoken of was his questioning of the virgin birth, which is where most of his problems seemed to begin. Many of his other beliefs are also related to this, including his statement, "Everything that we see is god, and we are all gods," p4.
It does not end there, as he speaks out against the church as well. Ginzburg too does a fine job of relating this to his readers. Menocchio tells us that, "in my opinion, all was chaos, that is, earth, air, water, and fire were mixed together; and out of that bulk a mass formed- just as cheese is made out of milk- and worms appeared in it, and these were the angels," p6 and he goes on to explain that god was created at the same time out of the same mass as the other angels, only he became the lord of angels and was the greatest of them.
Ginzburg quotes Menocchio as closely as posisble several times throughout the chapters, and then provides a simplified version of his own; an explanation of sorts to this worldview. However, Ginzburg further states, "More than the text, then, what is important is the key However, Menocchio, it should be remembered, was a rarity of his time, a common man but one who was capable of reading and thinking more than just what the priestly class taught, and that is a fact not necessarily stressed in the book.
It should have been made more clear because, while Menocchio was certainly not a high-class merchant, he was not exactly amongst the lowest peasantry.
He was a miller, which he himself states was a very social and travelling career- one in which the miller dealt with all levels of society of all levels of literacy. As a miller, and a learned peasant, he had access to that which the majority of the low class did not; therefore he was able to "think" for himself rather than have the clergy "think" for him. Despite this small lack of detail the book is well-written and wonderfully, thoroughly researched, giving us a small peek through a window into the past of 16th century life, during a time when religion reigned, and those who questioned that religious rule were considered dangerous.
The Cheese and the Worms
A school was opened at the beginning of the sixteenth century under the direction of Girolamo Amaseo for, "reading and teaching, without exception, children of citizens as well as those artisans and the lower classes, old as well as young, without payment. He began to read some books available in his locality and began to reinterpret the Bible. No complete list exists of the books that Menocchio might have read which influenced his view of the cosmos. At the time of his arrest several books were found, but since they were not prohibited, no record was taken.
Ginzburg, The Cheese and the Worms
The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller by Carlo Ginzburg NY: Penguin Books, This seminal work of microhistory aims primarily to accomplish two objectives: firstly, to tell the story of Domenico Scandella Menocchio , the eponymous Miller xi ; and secondly, to argue that in preindustrial Europe, culture was not merely unidirectional i. The story, however, certainly stands in contrast to what one expects from the term. At any rate, in light of his purpose, of course, stylistic and structural concessions to the average person seems apropos. Unlike The Corruption of Angels, wherein the inquisitors are full characters and principal players providing the reader his vector of exploration, in this work Ginzburg uses inquisitorial records to examine the life and mentality of Menocchio without ever really describing or discussing the inquisitors themselves. In these segments, the Cheese shines brightest.
Short Review of Carlo Ginzburg's "The Cheese and the Worms"
The son of Natalia Ginzburg , a novelist, and Leone Ginzburg , a philologist, historian, and literary critic, Carlo Ginzburg was born in in Turin , Italy. His interest for history was influenced by the works of historians Delio Cantimori and Marc Bloch. He received a PhD from the University of Pisa in His fields of interest range from the Italian Renaissance to early modern European history , with contributions to art history , literary studies , and the theory of historiography. While the immediate response of the Vatican has not yet come to light, a limited group of scholars had been granted access by In January the archives were formally opened to "qualified researchers. The amended bill finally restricted itself to reinforcing sentences concerning hate speech.