El laberinto del siglo XVI: teología, mito, retórica y colonialismo
by Óscar Rivera-Rodas
This book studies the effects of scholastic and dogmatic thinking, which prevailed in Europe in the 16th century, and reached Latin American peoples via the European invasions that began in that era. Justified by a tacit alliance between the Vatican and Spain and an alleged obligation to evangelize and spread Christian beliefs, Pope Alexander VI, alias Rodrigo Borgia, a Spaniard who was considered to be God’s representative on earth, gave the Catholic Monarchs ownership of those territories.
The true motives of the invasions were to strip and exploit natural resources and enslave the indigenous peoples, who were denigrated as “barbarians” using Christian theological arguments. Colonialist political principles were religious. Thus, politics were religious and religion guided Spain’s government of and business in occupied lands.
Militia occupations, which sometimes ended in genocide, also sought to destroy the peoples’ symbolic thought, their tradition and culture. Following the Vatican’s instructions, evangelizing priests spread scholastic and dogmatic rhetoric upon the ruins of this thought, disturbing American peoples’ understanding with supernatural representations imposed on the natural, empirical world. That is, with a worldview that confused and mixed the visible and the invisible, they plunged the labyrinth into language and thought.
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