The Cheese and the Worms is an incisive study of popular culture in the sixteenth Carlo Ginzburg uses the trial records to illustrate the religious and social. Professor Ginzburg’s book deals with an isolated heretical individual, not with a heretical . The Cheese and the Worms is enthralling reading. Carlo Ginzburg. The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller. Translated by John and Anne C. Tedeschi. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins.

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First, this new edition is a timely update.

Replace the theology department with ‘Cheese and Worms’ studies. Beyond Menocchio, Ginzburg is able to give inklings about the early Renaissance culture ; his claim that Menocchio has used an unspoken “popular tradution” as a cradle for his idea makes me feel skeptical, for he was most probably not from the poorer, popular citizens of Montereale he knew how to read, had travelled and I saw chrese in Menocchio an example of how the spread of books helped forge one man’s opinion.

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The Cheese and the Worms

There is one consoling moment in this grim conclusion. Aug 30, Mark Bowles rated it really liked it. That last piece of peasant shrewdness was enough: I particularly appreciated how Ginzburg’s giinzburg awareness of the sources contrasted with Menocchio’s own sometimes wilful misreadings of the texts he came into contact with.

Messy, uninfluential but individual. They included rejection of the Trinity, of the divinity of Christ, of the sacrifice of the Cross; denial of the immortality of the soul, of the existence tge a local heaven or hell, of the virgin birth, of the sanctity of marriage.

This emphasis, in contrast to the localization and syncretism of late medieval Christianity, was implicitly a validation of Protestant criticisms of the Church—that it practiced sloppy sacerdotalism rather than properly educating its members, or for that matter its clergy—and was an attempt to rectify these faults.


Professor Ginzburg has found another. The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller. Menocchio are also odd, and they eventually got him burnt. I have to admit Cjeese was looking for something a little more heavy on theory.

Its beliefs were loosely formulated and varied from place to place: Lists with This Book. Or perhaps I’ll name Ok, I’m leaving the rating at 3,5 stars. They offer as much of a clue as what people actually believed as the writings of a Luther or Zwingli and an insight with its images of mouldy cheese and God as master builder with sub-contracted angels creating the world into just how divergent the reception of ideas could be.

We have no way of knowing who is right. The title comes from this miller’s idea of the beginning of the universe; that it kind of curdled, like cheese, into being, and the angels came out of it like worms.

The fact that the mills where, by necessity, on the edges of town cbeese they could be used as a rendezvous location for anti-establishment types and that the profession of the miller was often disliked by the rest of the peasantry similar to how people today talk disparagingly of the used care salesman. Biography and memoirsBiographyEuropeSouthern EuropeItaly, Religion and theology.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Menocchio cheesr most of his life as both an idiosyncratic heretic and a well-respected member of his community.

The Cheese and the Worms

Choose binding Paperback E-book. That Lucifer sought to make himself lord equal to the king, who was the majesty of God, and for this arrogance God ordered him driven out of heaven with all his host and his company; and this God later created Adam and Eve and people in great number to take the places of the angels who had been expelled.


This is an insightful book for all of us who assume European peasants were illiterate, uneducated, non-thinking folk. Carlo – I am sorry, but your book ‘The Cheese and the Worms’ was a chore to finish.

The Cheese and the Worms Italian: Ginzburg makes this case compellingly. The Holy Office decided that he was a backslider. Sure, he was uncommonly literate, and yes it was somewhat interesting to see how his reading manifested itself into his belief system thus justifying fears that when peasants get a hold of books they are going to come to their own conclusions regarding their contents, rather than those the clergy so dogmatically thrust upon them.

If you are interested in 16th century Italian legal issues regarding the Catholic Church and heresy then this book is for you, but do not expect a Barbara Tuchman product.

We see victory of written culture over oral culture as Menocchio uses text to support his convictions.

Some of the most interesting pages in this fascinating book grapple with the problem of identifying the ideas of this oral peasant culture. Another miller who resembled Menocchio closely. The fact that Mennochio, our miller, had access to books, was able to read and write very unusual for a rural peasant coupled with an inquisitive mind could produce someone who questioned the established views.

Though the history’s content itself may not have addressed my personal intellectual compulsions, it was very interesting nonetheless. The inquisitors could easily lead him into logical traps, but could not get him to renounce his deeply-held ideas. Professor Ginzburg compares Montaigne, a contemporary operating at a very different intellectual level, who drew sceptical conclusions from reading descriptions of the natives of America.