In The Cheese and the Worms, Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg has under- er, and out of that bulk a mass formed - just as cheese is made out of milk - and. The Cheese and the Worms is a scholarly work by the Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg. The book is a notable example of cultural history, the history of mentalities  Published‎: ‎ The Cheese and the Worms is a study of the popular culture in the sixteenth century as seen through the eyes of one man, a miller brought to trial during the.


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Menocchio's life[ edit ] Education and cultural horizon[ edit ] Menocchio's literacy may be accounted for by the establishment of schools in the villages the cheese and the worms Friuli: A school was opened at the beginning of the sixteenth century under the direction of Girolamo Amaseo for, "reading and teaching, without exception, children of citizens as well as those artisans and the lower classes, old as well as young, without payment.

The Cheese and the Worms

He began to read some books available in his locality and began to reinterpret the Bible. No complete list exists of the books that Menocchio might have read which influenced his view of the cosmos.

At the time the cheese and the worms his arrest several books were found, but since they were not prohibited, no record was taken.


Based on Menocchio's first trial these books are known to have been read. The Bible in the vernacular 2. Notes and Prefaces The Cheese and the Worms is the cheese and the worms incisive study of popular culture in the sixteenth century as seen through the eyes of one man, the miller known as Menocchio, who was accused of heresy during the Inquisition and sentenced to death.

Carlo Ginzburg uses the trial records to illustrate the religious and social conflicts of the society Menocchio lived in. For a common miller, Menocchio was surprisingly literate. In his trial testimony he made references to more than a dozen books, including the Bible, Boccaccio's Decameron, Mandeville's Travels, and a "mysterious" book that may have been the Koran.

Tolerance, respect for the views of others, seems to have been one of the ideas for which Menocchio sought confirmation from his reading. It is a non-sequitur: The inquisitors could easily lead him into logical traps, but could not get him to renounce his deeply-held ideas.

So the problem which Professor Ginzburg attacks is to identify and account for these convictions, which Menocchio did not get from his reading but brought to it.

The Reformation and the diffusion of printing had been necessary to permit this different culture to come to light. Because of the first, a simple miller had dared to think of speaking out, of voicing his own opinions about the Church and the world. Thanks to the second, words were at his disposal to express the obscure, inarticulate vision of the world the cheese and the worms fermented within him.

In the sentences or snatches of sentences wrung out of books he found the instruments to formulate and defend his ideas. What were the ideas which Menocchio brought to his reading?

The Cheese and the Worms

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 of a local heaven or hell, of the virgin birth, of the sanctity of the cheese and the worms.

More positively, Menocchio accepted a sort of materialist pantheism, such as was to be reproduced in midth-century England by Ranters and Gerrard Winstanley.

It is a morality rather than a religion. Many of these views were held by Anabaptists in the Friuli in the the cheese and the worms Menocchio may have been in contact with such groups, though this cannot be proved.


He owned a vernacular Bible, a prohibited book. His ideas are also reminiscent of those of the great anti-Trinitarian heretic Servetus, whom Calvin burned after Servetus had escaped the Inquisition. There is no evidence that Menocchio had read Servetus, whose heresies certainly circulated widely in Italy, not only among the the cheese and the worms.

What do you imagine God to be?


God is nothing else than a little breath I believe that the [Holy Spirit] is in everybody What is this Holy Spirit? Its beliefs were loosely formulated and varied from place to place: