Before the Point of No Return: An Exchange of Views on the by Leon Wofsy, Leon Litwack

By Leon Wofsy, Leon Litwack

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Clayton. ISBN: 978-1-405-19427-3 Lawrence A. 1 The Black Legend, graphically depicted by Protestants, helped fuel anti-Spanish sentiments among Spain’s European rivals, especially England, Holland, and France. Based on Las Casas’s writings, this account is entitled “The Tears of the Indians: Being an historical and true account of the cruel massacres and slaughters of above twenty millions of innocent people; committed by the Spaniards …” This account was published in England in the mid-seventeenth century.

Don’t you understand this? Don’t you see this? How can you be in such a profound and lethargic sleep? ”14 Rest assured, he told the shocked congregation: without Christianizing their Tainos and providing restitution for all the ills imposed on them, the Spaniards had no hope of salvation and were little less than infidels— moral Moors. Montesinos evidently astounded the hearers with his boldness. Was this their duty? To Christianize non-Christians? Was not that the duty of the clergy? 15 The immediate reaction was shock and outrage.

The Christmas season, 1511, was upon them. It was agreed that the first sermon should be preached the fourth Sunday of Advent, or just before Christmas itself. The Scriptural reading chosen was John 1:22–23: “Finally they [the Pharisees] said, ‘Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. ’” The stage was set. So that no one would miss it, everyone was invited, including Governor Diego Columbus, the leading Crown officials, and jurists. Word of this important sermon was delivered to their very homes.

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