12 leaves, 212mm. by 160mm., wanting a leaf or so at end from the following adaptation of the office for the conversion of a single heretic, else complete, collation: i12 (ii and iii a bifolium stitched in after the first leaf), contemporary foliation in black calligraphic script, ruled in red ink for 20 lines of round Iberian gothic script in black ink, rubrics and some calligraphic initials in red, paragraph marks in blue, 2- and 3-line initials in red or blue with contrasting penwork, large initial 'U', 40mm. by 43mm. (fol.3v), in gold heightened with swirls of burnished gold enclosing a cross and the letters 'I M' (perhaps for Ihesus and Maria), all on burgundy ground, a few eighteenth-century notes in margin, else excellent, modern pasteboards with vellum spine, Ampleforth armorial bookplate "MS 279"
Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, 1977, II, p. 29.
This manuscript contains the Ordo ad reconciliandum hereticos, a service for bringing reformed heretics into the Catholic Church. The directions are addressed to an Inquistor and the heretics are identified as Jews and Saracens (fols.7v and 10r), and they are made to renounce both the Law of Moses and the teachings of Mohammad in the vernacular oaths (fols.6r-7v).
Even after the reconquest of much of Spain by Christian rulers in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, many groups of Jews and Moors continued to practise their religions, and the kingdom of Granada remained under Moorish control as an emirate until Ferdinand II (1452-1516) and Isabella I (1451-1504) campaigned to bring it under Christian administration. By 1499 Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros (1436-1517) had begun a programme of forced baptism of Jews and Moors, and Ferdinand and Isabella decreed that Granada's Muslims must convert or emigrate (and if they chose the latter they had to pay a hefty levy and leave their families behind). The majority remained and adopted Christianity. The present manuscript is a manual used by an Inquisitor to direct these mass conversions.
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