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Reviews

"[An] engagingly written and meticulously researched book... Schutte surveys an impressive array of material dealing with how pretense of holiness was conceptualized."

"A compendious, broad-ranging account of the theological and canonical culture of the Counter-Reformation... Schutte deploys her twelve cases to illustrate the class and gender characteristics of the Inquisition's examination of would-be saints and their disciples."

"The greatest merit of this masterfully-structured and elegantly-written book consists in its efforts to explore the discourse concerning the pretense of holiness and the judges' mental and cultural categories."

"A masterful synthesis of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Inquisitional history, demonstrating how—at least from the Church's perspective—its post-Tridentine efforts to discipline, confessionalize, and centralize had paid off."

"Learned and insightful... Schutte embarks upon a wide-ranging examination of the intellectual underpinnings of accusations of false sanctity and provides a wealth of information about court procedure, canon law, and theology. She is as interested in the development of ideas about 'genuine' and 'false' holiness as she is in their practitioners."

"Schutte provides lucid introductions to topics as varied as inquisitorial procedure, medical theories of ecstasy, theologians' efforts to distinguish good spirits from evil ones, and learned and commonplace assumptions about gendered bodies."

"The product of many years of careful and systematic scholarship in numerous archives, Aspiring Saints reads beautifully and displays a remarkable intellectual range. Schutte goes beyond defining the subject exclusively in terms established by the ecclesiastical authorities, clearly showing how ideas of saintliness and diabolic influence were not so much separate categories but points on a spectrum of behaviors. Although these twelve cases were classified by the inquisitors, the book really becomes one about the defendants and their world."