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All Can Be Saved

All Can Be Saved: Religious Tolerance and Salvation in the Iberian Atlantic World

Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    All Can Be Saved
    Book Description:

    It would seem unlikely that one could discover tolerant religious attitudes in Spain, Portugal, and the New World colonies during the era of the Inquisition, when enforcement of Catholic orthodoxy was widespread and brutal. Yet this groundbreaking book does exactly that. Drawing on an enormous body of historical evidence-including records of the Inquisition itself-the historian Stuart Schwartz investigates the idea of religious tolerance and its evolution in the Hispanic world from 1500 to 1820. Focusing on the attitudes and beliefs of common people rather than those of intellectual elites, the author finds that no small segment of the population believed in freedom of conscience and rejected the exclusive validity of the Church.

    The book explores various sources of tolerant attitudes, the challenges that the New World presented to religious orthodoxy, the complex relations between "popular" and "learned" culture, and many related topics. The volume concludes with a discussion of the relativist ideas that were taking hold elsewhere in Europe during this era.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-15053-7
    Subjects: History, Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    This book was conceived in bed. I remember laughing out loud while reading Carlo Ginzburg’sThe Cheese and the Wormsone winter night in Minneapolis and thinking how tolerant and modern its protagonist, the freethinking Friulian miller Menocchio, seemed when in 1584 he told his inquisitors that no one really knew which religion was best; and that while he was, of course, a Catholic, if he had been born among the Turks, he would have lived in their religion and thought it best. Salvation was possible in any religion, he said, because God loves us all.¹ How curious, how commonsensical,...

  5. I. Iberian Doubts

    • 1 Propositions
      (pp. 17-42)

      Diego Hurtado made his living as a copyist of books for the Church. He should have known better than to speak openly on sexual matters. In 1580, agents of the Inquisition of Murcia arrested him on charges that he had made statements that smacked of heretical beliefs. In a conversation with neighbors, someone had scolded him for breaking the sixth commandment by living with a woman out of wedlock,amancebado,as it was called.¹ Defending himself, Hurtado had said that God’s prohibitions of sex referred only to “crimes against nature,” that is, homosexuality or bestiality. Even worse, he had said...

    • 2 Conversos and Moriscos
      (pp. 43-69)

      Beginning with the Arab conquest of Iberia in the eighth century and continuing through the Middle Ages, the three monotheistic religions of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity survived side by side. To speak of them only as religions, however, is to miss the essential ways in which they really represented the ways of life of three communities in all the complexity of their legal, political, and social practices.¹ Over the centuries, Christian populations had sometimes come under the rule of Muslim lords, Christian princes often ruled Muslim subjects, and, depending on the place, Jews lived as subjects of both Christian and...

    • 3 Christian Tolerance
      (pp. 70-92)

      Given the history of contact and coexistence among the three religious communities in medieval Spain and the conditions of conversion which had brought many Muslims and Jews into the Church by the early sixteenth century, one can see why converts might have believed that other religions could be valid and that the Church did not have an exclusive claim to truth. Old Christians shared these ideas as well, but among them one must make some distinctions according to social status, nationality or place of birth, and life experiences, all of which influenced attitudes and orthodoxy. Perhaps the easiest way to...

    • 4 Portugal: Old Christians and New Christians
      (pp. 93-118)

      In 1578, Dom Sebastião, the young and reckless king of Portugal, after involving himself in the dynastic politics of Morocco, led a military expedition under the guise of a crusade across the Strait of Gibraltar. The results were disastrous. On the sands of Alcazarquivir, the expeditionary army was routed; the flower of the Portuguese nobility was killed or held for ransom; and in the midst of battle the king disappeared, never to be seen again. His vacant throne was soon claimed and occupied by his distant uncle, Philip II of Castile. But even before the battle, there had been those...

  6. II. American Liberties

    • 5 American Propositions: Body and Soul in the Indies
      (pp. 121-149)

      In 1511, on the fourth Sunday of Advent, the last before Christmas, in the principal church on the island of Española, capital of Spain’s most important colony in the New World at that time, a Dominican friar, Antonio de Montesinos, preached a remarkable sermon to the conquerors, settlers, and royal officers. Montesinos thundered from the pulpit that the mistreatment of the native peoples and the seizing of their lands and property were mortal sins, and that all Spaniards involved in this wretched business were damned. He and the other Dominican friars would deny them the sacraments so long as their...

    • 6 American Adjustments
      (pp. 150-176)

      The ancient conflicts with the Muslims and Jews and the more recent ones with the Protestants generated theological and political interest and concern in the Indies, but in terms of social organization and the challenges of daily life, except for brief periods, they were a relatively minor concern when compared with the colonial reality of an enormous subjected indigenous population. While the theologians and canon lawyers debated the sovereignty of the Indies, the nature and rights of their indigenous inhabitants, and the best means to bring them to the Church, ordinary Spaniards who crossed the Atlantic acted on the basis...

    • 7 Brazil: Salvation in a Slave Society
      (pp. 177-206)

      As the Portuguese began to cross the seas in the fifteenth century, their encounter with other lands and other peoples sharpened both confidence in their own religious obligations and mission and their conviction in the superiority of their own culture. But overseas voyaging had also raised questions about the nature of non-Christian peoples and about the validity and value of other faiths. By the mid– sixteenth century, the Portuguese had created a far-flung empire of ports and maritime outposts down the coast of West Africa and across the Indian Ocean.

      In the Atlantic, after settling the uninhabited islands of the...

  7. III. Toward Toleration

    • 8 From Tolerance to Toleration in the Eighteenth-Century Iberian Atlantic World
      (pp. 209-241)

      In 1774, the Inquisition arrested one of the most well known and admired figures in the Spain of his time. The incident had all the trappings of a show trial, the exemplary punishment of a prominent representative of reform who seemed to some to embody modernity and progress, but who, for that same reason, represented to the forces of tradition all the dangers of foreign ideas, secularism, amorality, and change that threatened the very basis of religion and society. The accused, the Peruvian Pablo de Olavide y Jáuregui, was a fitting symbol in many ways; a man of the Iberian...

    • 9 Rustic Pelagians
      (pp. 242-256)

      Historians often seek the continuities between the distant past and more recent periods, and they are trained to be sensitive to the peculiarities of each culture and each historical moment. It would be easy enough to suggest that the peculiar multireligious past of medieval Iberia, where Christians, Jews, and Muslims coexisted for so long despite their conflicts and animosities, had created attitudes of live and let live that manifested themselves as relativism in matters of religion. Similarly, it could be argued that the unification of Spain in 1492 and the forced expulsions or conversions of Jews and Muslims led to...

  8. Notes
    (pp. 257-300)
  9. Glossary
    (pp. 301-302)
  10. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 303-324)
  11. Index
    (pp. 325-336)