The Cheese and the Worms by Carlo Ginzburg, and Lucrecia’s Dreams by Richard Kagan

The Cheese and the Worms by Carlo Ginzburg, and Lucrecia’s Dreams by Richard Kagan, discuss different lives but have similar goals; both narratives are micro-histories of individual people. The authors mentioned above attempt to illustrate broader historical trends and concept with each work having specific purposes. In The Cheese and the Worms, Ginzburg centers on the story of Menocchio who was the defendant of Catholic heresy trials. He argues that heretical ecclesiology adopted by Menocchio at the tribunal can be linked to broader and older current peasant radicalism (Ginzburg, 2). Kagan on the other hand, centers on Lucresia who gets her dreams into a beguiling source of knowledge for a nation whose political fortunes are turning unstable and dreadful (Kagan, 1).

Compared to Kagan, Ginzburg has greater success through Menocchio’s idea that God must have emerged as a worm in a primal curd since he has a more repeated representation of explanation that he never retracted. He analyzes the global external sources to show that the essential element is a standard store of traditions (Ginzburg, 14). Ginzburg’s book details the mechanism of inquisition, which seeks to do away with the suspected heretical and heresy groups, unlike the counter revolution. Menocchio’s learning is a captivating hotch-potch of oral tradition, superstition, peasant radicalism, paganism, and strong ideas that make the book a success. Furthermore, Ginzburg mentions that re-form, printing revolution and counter reform gave Menocchio an opening to formulate his ecclesiology, which ideally was rooted in old peasant materialism notions (Ginzburg, 2).

The threats posed by Menocchio and Lucrecia to the Church is seen where Lucrecia is criticizing the Phillip’s appointing unqualified spiritual leaders and over exploitation of the poor. The intellectual concept is highly discussed, and Menocchio argues that his mind is lofty and only wishes for a new way of life and new world as the entire church fails to act in a proper way (Ginzburg, 2). The statement ideally indicates a self-confident and an intellectual individual who has the authority to address the wrong doings of the church. Again, Ginzburg poses greater threat to the church than Kagan, because he justifies his explanation of using blasphemy and believes that the greatest sin is to cause harm to one’s neighbor. Also, he argues that the pope does not have any power granted to him by God. Ginzburg further claims that Jesus Christ had not died to redeem humanity (Ginzburg, 2). According to Kagan, dreams associated with individuals of Saint Reputation are charged with supernatural powers. However, the supernatural powers cannot be ascertained to be from Christian perspective.

According to Ginzburg and Kagan, the church has not handled well the various measures brought forth towards combating heresy. Unlike Ginzburg, Kagan effectively exposes the issue above as shown through demonstration of the prophetic knowledge in a dream (Kagan, 1). The idea proves that the church has done little to fight against heresy. Through the dream, it is also depicted that the country is faced with political fortunes that are becoming unstable and are just detrimental contentions. Therefore, through careful consideration, Lucrecia’s Dreams allows people to criticize the king’s appointment of incompetent spiritual leaders that results in poor attempts to combat the heresy. Kagan’s articulate presentation stimulates the public debate on king’s effectiveness to govern dissonance against the state. The importance and relevance of learning about life in the 16th century teach the individuals of how the peasant culture and the intellectual culture straddles together to give a history of how religion was perceived.

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