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Jean Bréhal : inquisiteur d'exception ou inquisiteur exemplaire de la fin du Moyen Age

Abstract : Jean Bréhal is a Dominican friar from Normandy and a theology professor, who became renowned as an inquisitor in the kingdom of France, neither for tracking down heresy nor pursuing witches, but for quashing sentences, more especially the sentence of condemnation of the Maid of Orléans, twenty five years after she was burnt at the stake in Rouen. The longevity of his tenure in the officium inquisitionis (from 1452 until 1474), in the reigns of Charles VII and Louis XI, contrasts with how few investigations he actually conducted, according to the documentation. So we wonder whether he was an exception or exemplary for the late Middle Ages. The “Bréhal case” suggests looking upon the office of inquisitor after the Council of Vienne, in the particular context of a territory that was still scarred by the divisions of the Hundred Years’ war, and of a Church that had been tested by the Great Schism and its aftermaths. Our corpus mostly consists of the Dominican’s own writings, of which some documents are unpublished manuscripts, and its core lies in the trial of nullification of the condemnation of Joan of Arc. On that basis, the aim of this thesis is to know not only the man and his journey but also, and above all, his thinking, to parse his scholastic prose, to grasp the meaning of his action, to discover his motivation, and to understand the nature of the “power” that he has embodied over several decades. Eventually, this study, while focusing on Jean Bréhal, sheds light as much on a time, a world and the state of an office, as on the specificities of one individual. Above all, its goal is to introduce readers to a body of works that contains various fields and interests.
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Laurence Silvestre. Jean Bréhal : inquisiteur d'exception ou inquisiteur exemplaire de la fin du Moyen Age. Histoire. Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017PA01H098⟩. ⟨tel-01777975⟩

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