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?Rather Than Establishing Unity And Harmony, Religious Developments Have Caused Division And Conflic Essay, Research Paper

??????????????? In order to answer this

question successfully, one must first understand what is meant by

"religious developments" and also to define and concentrate on the

"chosen period of study". In the context of the question, one must

understand religious developments to be the progressive changes made in the

area of theology by prolific thinkers, biblical humanists and also the period’s

most powerful rulers. This could mean whole new movements, such as Calvinism,

or the slight change in religious policy, such as the different approaches to

the matter of convivencia and the Conversos and Moriscos. The period that I shall concentrate upon in this analysis

will be the whole of the sixteenth century, including the important events that

took place in the time leading up to, and away from, this area of history. ??????????????? Religion,

to the people of the sixteenth century, was a very important issue which

governed their lives. The parish priest had more direct effect on an ordinary

person?s life than any government official. The church would have been the most

substantial building in the village, apart from perhaps the manor house, and so

would have been an imposing presence to all who lived near it. At the top of

the church there lay the splendour and power of the church in Rome. In the

renaissance, many people, biblical humanists, philosophers and monks, began to

think about the state of the church and whether it should be changed. This led

to a great surge of activity which spawned many changes in the religious

activities of the 16th Century. The first real religious developments

that were introduced in this period, were perpetrated by Ferdinand and Isabella

of Spain. For 250 Spain had been the host to three different religions;

Catholicism, Judaism and Islam. These three religions had coexisted since long

before the Catholic Kings came to the throne, in a condition known as convivencia. ?Christianity was the dominant faith but the other two minority

religions had managed to integrate themselves successfully into the fabric of

Spanish society, especially in Aragon. However, the twilight years of the 15th

Century, during Ferdinand and Isabella’s reign saw this situation change

drastically, along with the fluctuating social and economic conditions. ??????????????? The

Jewish religion had always been a minority, and so, like most minorities, it

was likely to be attacked at times of unrest. However, the Jews had been

relatively untouched in Spain, with only a few anti-Semitic riots breaking out

periodically. Indeed, Isabella herself had proclaimed in 1477, "All Jews

in my realms are mine and under my care and protection". However, things

were to change. The growth of the false Conversos

Jews (Jews who had embraced the Catholic faith in order to be eligible for

full civil liberties and equal opportunities) was a worry to Catholics. This

anxiety came to a head with Alonso de Hojeda’s report of the widespread problem

of false converts, said to be rife throughout Castile, which lead to the

introduction of the Castilian Inquisition in 1480. The anti Conversos feeling and unstable political

climate of the 1470s also encouraged anti-Semitic demonstrations in Toledo,

Cordoba, Seville and Avila. All this activity unfortunately marked the

beginning the persecution of the Conversos.

?The Inquisition, under the command

of Dominican Friars set about its work with zeal, and in time, most Spaniards

came to support its work, especially as an inquisitor was murdered by angry Conversos in 1485. ??????????????? Many

oppressive policies were approved throughout the 1480, such as forcing all Jews

to wear distinctive yellow badges and to live in ghettos called aljamas, banning Jewish families from

buying food during working hours, subjecting Jews to heavy taxation and even

some towns evicting Jewish families. The Inquisition compounded the hardship by

holding trials for suspected false Conversos

and having them imprisoned, or even killed. The killing of the Conversos was most prolific in the 1480s

with thirty people burnt in a single day in Ciudad Real in 1484, 700 burnt and

7,000 punished in Seville alone in 1488. All this vicious activity was taking

time and attention, time and attention that the monarchs could not afford to

devote with the Granadan crusade going on. So a decree was issued in 1492 that

all Jews had until 31 July to convert to Christianity or emigrate.? This was a severe step, one which, in the

words of an Aragonese Inquisitor, was "a mistake". It divided

families, caused a lot of pain and also removed many "industrious and

hardworking" people which would have brought the country money. The decision

also compounded the problem of false converts, as only 3% of the Jewish

population left the country, meaning that not all of the ones who remained

could be sincere about their new religion. This left the same problem for later

monarchs to deal with. The situation worsened after the decree, with the use of

torture, arrests without trial and the numerous executions by the inquisition

becoming more acceptable. Indeed, Charles V first Cortes of 1518 declared

"Many innocent and guiltless have suffered death, harm, oppression, injury

and infamy". The Jews were the victims of a bloody and divisive conflict

caused by religious developments prompted by the religious fervour of the

Catholic Kings. The Jews were not the only minority group to fall foul of

the religious developments of the Ferdinand and Isabella. The Spanish Muslims

were to become the victims of persecution too. The genesis of the persecution

of these people can be identified as the Granada crusade, instigated by

Isabella once she had secured her place on the throne. Castilian and Aragonese

armies invaded Granada in 1482, starting off a ten year campaign which claimed

many lives, created great economic strain and prompted pressure on the Spanish

people, what with increased taxes.? The

crusade came to a glorious climax for the Catholic Kings with the fall of the

city of Granada in 1492. In the course of the conflict, 100,000 Muslims had

died, or been enslaved, and of the remaining 400,000, half chose to immigrate

to north Africa. The following decade was in general, a period of recovery and

compliance with the traditional spirit of convivencia.

Talavera, the new archbishop of Granada, persuaded Isabella that it would be

best to keep the inquisition out of the province. Instead, the Muslims were

introduced gradually to Christian practices and beliefs. However, this peaceful

existence did not last for long, as there was a growing fear of the Mudejar ?Moors, as they were in constant contact with the Northern African

Moors. Certainly, for Cisneros, the Moors were to great a problem to be treated

so gently. In 1499, he began to enforce conversions on the Mudejar and persuaded Isabella to introduce the Inquisistion. It

was only a matter of time before the pressure was moved up a notch and the

moors were well and truly persecuted. Indeed, in 1500, he persuaded Isabella to

force all Mudejars to convert and

become slaves because they would be ?better Christians?. So, between 1500 and

1501 many of these Moors were forced to convert or emigrate from Granada, and

later, in 1502, Isabella extended the policy to cover the rest of the Moors

throughout her kingdom.? The vast

majority chose to convert and become Moriscos,

and thus convivencia came to an end

and the Inquisition had a new quarry to persecute. The situation for the Moors

had become no better than it was for their fellow minority, the Jews. In

Aragon, the king made them live in aljamas,

avoid sexual relations with Christians and wear distinctive blue clothing.

However, none of these measures succeeded in solving the Muslim question, and

the problem remained into Charles’ reign, when he expelled them all from his

eastern kingdoms in 1526. ??????????????? The

religious policies of Ferdinand and Isabella, were inconsistent and undid years

on convivencia, leaving the people

instead with religious and social intolerance, and an unpopular inquisition.

During their reign, they started to remove two whole peoples, peoples who, by

their own admission, had much to offer the country. The Moors of Aragon were

superb landsmen and had for years played and important part in the Spain’s

economy, and had even remained loyal throughout the Granada war. The religious

developments, did indeed, cause much division and conflict. ??????????????? Towards

the end of Ferdinand?s reign, there was maturing in Germany one of the most

famous religious figures of the 16th Century; Martin Luther. This

was a man who would start the first religious movement to successfully defeat

and break away from the Catholic Church. There would, however, be a lot of

conflict and controversy along the way. By 1520, Luther had clarified many of

his early ideas, such as sola scriptura,

sola fide, two sacraments,

consubstantiation, utraquism, combined church, priest of all believers and

spoke out against indulgences. All of

these ideas were considered very controversual and made Luther very unpopular

with the Catholic church he was trying to reform. They prompted heated debate

amongst the biblical humanists, such as Eck and Erasmus. These ideas offended

the church so, due to their radical nature and also because of the threat they

presented on the hold Rome had over the German people and their means of

income. If Indulgences were to be ceased then it would remove a lucrative

income for the church. If the princes did take up Lutheranism, as he was

pleading with them to, then they would cease to receive taxes from that

princedom. These ideas also seemed to the church to encourage sin. If, as

Luther was preaching, one could get to heaven by simply believing, without

confessing, or buying an indulgence, then it would allow people behave as they

wished with no fear of punishment (it was precisely this argument which

prompted some people to convert to Lutheranism). The Pope was even prompted to

call him a heretic and issued a Bull

Exsurge Domine in July 1520 that gave him 60 days to recant on 41 points or

face excommunication. Luther did not recant and was eventually excommunicated

in 1521. ??????????????? His

excommunication did not stop Lutheranism from spreading around the north of

Germany. While his ideas repelled some good Catholics due to their heretical

nature, they also appealed to other sectors of society for other reasons. The

four main classes Luther appealed to were; Peasants, Towns, Knights and

Princes. In each of these areas of society there were people who took up

Lutheranism, either because they genuinely believed in the theology, or because

they believed there was something in it for them to gain. All four of them

manifested their belief in Luther with violence. ??????????????? The

Knights were an old class which was in decline, lesser noblemen living in

castles on small estates. They were suffering from a deteriorating standard of

living and resented the Princes’ power and influence. There were amongst them,

a number of educated people, biblical humanists who understood and supported

Luther’s ideas. However, they also saw his theology as a way of increasing

their power and as a way of attacking the Princes. The Knights had two

particularly outspoken men who were prepared to lead a movement against the

church. They were Von Hutten and Sickingen. They led an attack by the Knights

on the Bishops and Archbishops in Germany in 1522, as they believed them to

epitomise corruption in the church. It was a bloody revolt in which several

Bishops died, including the Bishop of Trier. It was put down by the forcibly

princes and in response Luther produced a pamphlet on "Secular authority

and to what extent it should be obeyed". This went some way in restoring

the Princes’ view of Luther, but also caused the Knights to decline even faster

and to lose their faith in Luther as a religious leader. ??????????????? The

Peasants were also responsible for a revolt, this time in 1524-25. They,

however, did not even understand Luther’s ideas correctly. They had got hold of

his ideas by the means of woodcuts, specifically made "for the sake of the

simple folk". However, due to the imprecise and ambiguous nature of these

woodcuts, the ideas were not clearly enough conveyed, and instead of seeing

Luther as a positive teacher of new religious ideas, they saw him as a kind of

"holy man" and the Catholic Church as the bringer of evils; the force

which had kept them suppressed for so long. This situation was not helped by

the "peasant messiah" myth that was present in Medieval Germany. The

peasants saw Luther as the great peasant leader who would lead them out of

hardship and into greatness. One man in particular did a lot to spread this

peasant movement. His name was Muntzer. He, or some of his associates published

the Twelve Articles of Memmingham, a document which listed twelve peasant grievances,

and which clearly held references to Lutheran ideas. In an attempt to calm

things down, Luther published his "Friendly Criticism of the Twelve

Articles" in 1525, but he could not control the disturbances which had

been set in motion by mounting peasant grievances. All this disturbing activity

finally erupted into a bloody revolt in 1524, with peasants all over Germany

involved in killing and pillaging priests and churches. In response, Luther

published his paper "Against the Thieving, murdering Hordes of

Peasants" in 1525, in which he encouraged the Princes to destroy the

peasants and to show no mercy until they had submitted. The Princes obliged.

They came down very hard on the marauding peasants, killing hundreds. In

publishing this paper, Luther was showing himself to be not all the peasants

thought him to be; thus he lost the support and trust of a whole generation of



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