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Presentation on theme: "RELIGION IN THE ATLANTIC WORLD"— Presentation transcript:


2 PLAN OF LECTURE The European context – Reformation and Counter-reformation Religion and the Conquest Puritan Conquistadors? Iberian Catholicism; British Protestantism Indians and Syncretic religion African religion and African Conversion Race and Religion

3 The Reformation and Counter-reformation
Settlement of America occurred during momentous religious change in sixteenth century Europe from Luther in 1517 Violence St Bartholomew Massacre 1572 Thirty Years War, Fundamentalism and European distaste for religious tolerance

4 Religion and the Conquest
Columbus as Christ bearer Dominican Antonio de Montesinos and sermon of 1511, Santo Domingo Giovanni Botero, Relazioi univeresali (1595) Geronimo de Mendieta – equation of Cortes and Luther

5 Puritan Conquistadors?
Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, Puritan Conquistadors: Iberianizing the Atlantic, Millenarian thinking widespread Satanic demonological discourse – New World as home of Satan Lope de Vega and John Milton and demonological discourses

6 Catholics and Protestants
Differences in approaches to Indian conversion Catholic America – a single creed, based on Aristotelian and neo-Thomist philosophy Protestant America – plurality of creeds, based on individual reading of the Bible

7 Indians and Syncretic religion
Conversion efforts: million converted in New Spain Merging of Indian and Catholic religious traditions Why convert? Impressed by Christian god; resemblances between native religion and Christianity Virgin of Guadelupe – Juan Diego 1536 Appeal of the Virgin Mary and Christian saints

8 African religion Differences and similarities in African religious expression Muslims, Christians and “pagans” Shift from benevolent to malevolent spirits in the Americas – voodoo and obeah

9 Divination Ceremony and Dance, Brazil 1630s: a “Calunda” involving spirit possession

10 Why did Africans convert - Catholicism
John Thornton: Christianity well established in Kongo in sixteenth century Portuguese emissaries received by the King of Kongo

11 Catholic America – quick conversion
letter of Manuel III of Portugal 1513 re African baptism ordered all masters in Portugal to baptize their slaves, on pain of losing them --- unless the slaves themselves did not want it

12 African Slaves saying the Rosary, Peru, 1600-1615

13 Why did Africans convert Protestantism
Problems of Protestantism and slavery: Protestantism associated with freedom Protestantism allowed individual readings of Bible Missionary efforts 1701 – Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG) Reasons for lack of Anglican success Anglicans sanctioned slavery maintenance of racial divisions in churches

14 Appeal of Evangelicalism
Period of evangelical revival British North America, emphasis on emotional response to salvation Slaves attracted by hopeful message of evangelicals and oral nature of message Evangelicalism gave a role to slaves, especially enslaved women Practical benefits: marriage, safeguard against punishment

15 Moravian Congregation, St Thomas WI, 1757

16 Religion and Race Colin Kidd, The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World Protestant ethnologists not so much concerned with race as with establishing lineage of Noah – what God did the descendants of Ham worship? John Pocock: “the distinguishing characteristic of the descendants of Ham is not pigmentation but idolatry.”


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