One of the early Grand Inquisitors of the Spanish Inquisition. Ironically, he was also one of the more liberal figures of the late 15th century; he prepared a translation of the Bible into Spanish that had multiple columns showing the original language, Latin, and Spanish next to each other. This work, the "Complutensian Polyglot," is a landmark of Biblical study. Later on, Cardinal Ximenez was the name of the lead character in the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch that included the Inquisition. As a Catholic and a student of theology, I thought that there was an important warning somewhere in the intersection between the funny Cardinal and the not-at-all-funny one.

Although it galls to say it in print, I probably can't call myself a Catholic anymore; I joined the Disciples of Christ. Oh well.


Also spelt Jimenes, Ximenes or Jimenez de Cisneros was a Spanish Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.

He was appointed personal Confessor to Queen Isabella I in 1492 and later became the Archbishop of Toledo, in 1495. He acted as regent of Castile between 1506 and 1507 while Ferdinand II was away in Italy. He was made head of the inquisition upon the return of Ferdinand and held this post until 1516 when he was appointed regent again after the death of Ferdinand pending the arrival of Charles V, soon to be king.

De Cisneros used his high position for a variety of major undertakings:

  • The forcible conversion of the Moors in Granada which led to the Moorish uprising, 1500-1502.
  • The founding of the University of Alcalá de Henares, 1508.
  • The expedition to North Africa which captured Oran in 1509, led and financed by de Cisneros himself.
  • Early Reformation work in Spain. This basically involved the elimination of many clerical abuses and the better training of priests. This meant that the later protestant Reformation left Spain largely untouched, despite rampaging through nearly all other major European states.

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