They Tore God Limb From Limb
Marginalized Dissenters in Religiously Normative Discourse
This paper interacts specifically with two separate texts, that is Michel de Certeau’s The Possession at Loudun and Carlo Ginzburg’s The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth Century Miller. Both of these texts present a narrative of religious turmoil, demonic possessions and a heretical Inquisition, respectively, and the events which surround a single religious dissenter. Examining the two heretical men presented within these texts in comparison allows for an understanding of Catholic Church dogma during the age of the Counter Reformation, and how such an institution managed threats, both external and internal. Moreover, this paper also examines the methodologies behind the historical discourse, in order to understand the validity of the narratives presented, and the scope of historical depth sought. Addressing methodology is crucial when one narrows focus to two singular case studies by two separate historians. Thus, this paper intends to illustrate the threats to normative religious discourse which Urbain Grandier and Menocchio possessed in the face of the Catholic Church, while also demonstrating the methodologies by which the two men are presented within their respective histories.