One of the most infamous institutions ever to have risen from so-called Western civilisation, the Inquisition was responsible for the torture and death of hundreds of thousands of people - the majority entirely innocent of the charges brought against them. In their riveting account of the origins and history of the Inquisition, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh show how the pernicious attitudes that lay behind it were gradually subsumed by an increasingly defensive Church into other organisations.
Taking the Dead Sea Scrolls controversy as a recent test-case, the authors show how the Church has never stopped trying to control and manipulate any information or ideas that impinge on its fields of activity and has aggressively demanded obedience from its Bishops and lay members. Few would dispute that the Catholic Church has provided solace, support and a path to the sacred for millions of people. Yet the Inquisition represents the violently dark side of its character, and, as this book shows, the fundamental attitudes that gave rise to it are still present.