Copyright The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica. [Published by the Malta Historical Society]. 4(1964)1(74-75)

ANDREW P. VELLA The Tribunal of the Inquisition. Malta, Giov. Muscat & Co. Ltd., 1964, pp. 72, illustr. 6.

This work, which is the first in the series "Royal University of Malta Historical Studies'', as the Author asserts, is a succinct account of the Tribunal of the Inquisition in Malta. It will surely prove useful not only to scholars and students, but also to the ordinary reader. Prof. Vella quite logically starts by giving us a short account of the Inquisition in general, making an apology of the punishments meted out by that Tribunal, which might seem to us very harsh, but were a matter of course in those inclement days. After this short introduction the Author passes to the History proper of the Inquisition in Malta from its temporary existence since 1483 to its decisive establishment in 1575. He enumerates the factors that brought .about its establishment, which were the spread of heresy, superstitious practices and last but not [p.75] least the controversies between Grand Masters and Bishops. Whilst the Author frugally speaks of heresies and heretics, he indulges, somewhat longer in the controversies between the Inquisitor and the Order, the Grand Masters and the Bishops, and in the Quaker ladies incident.

Very interesting and useful to scholars are the six Appendixes added to the text. We dare suggest that in an eventual reprint of this book the Author analyses these appendixes and makes a synthesis thereof adding thus other chapters to the text a) on the Inquisitorial proceedings and sentences against heretic's, b) on the protocol observed between Grand Masters and Inquisitors, c) on the previous 'and following career of the Inquisitors and so on. Prof. Vella's work is a milestone in the historiography of the Inquisition in Malta.

Mgr. A. Bonnici