The Cheese and the Worms Book Review Essay

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The Cheese and the Worms Book Review

The rise of literacy towards the end of the Middle Ages brought with it a torrent of individuals ready to think fro themselves and formulate their own theories and ideas regarding God and the Christian faith. For a long time, the church held a near monopoly on literacy and used this to maintain control over people’s lives and beliefs. While some of these new intellectuals created ideas that would forever change the way people envision themselves and their relation to God and the universe, some simply patched together tidbits of ideas that were not born out of deep philosophical inquiry, but had more of an instinctive type of logical grounding. This was the line of thinking that made up Domenico Scandella’s beliefs.
Known as Menocchio, The Cheese and the Worms tells the story of his inquisition and the events leading up to it. Menocchio was a well-to-do miller who lived in the region of Friuli. He was unlike how many modern people might imagine a peasant miller, as he was highly literate, and, though not luxuriously rich, was wealthy enough to not have to worry too extensively about something like a bad harvest. He had been, for some time, the mayor of the village of Montereale where he lived. What made Menocchio the subject of a religious inquisition was the fact that he was a very vocal man who deeply enjoyed openly telling everyone he knew about his musings on religion. Most just brushed of his eccentric views, but eventually…

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