Title

Linking Monks to Massacres: Tales of a 16th-century Reformer

Presenter

Chris Meabe

Abstract

The early 16th century saw Spain’s rise as a colonial power, expanding its empire through evangelism and violence. One of the first proponents of that strategy was Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, leader of the Spanish Inquisition and the most powerful religious authority in Spain. However, Cisneros also reformed many religious institutions, combated corruption within the Catholic Church and promoted a near-heretical re-evaluation of the Bible. In the past, historians have puzzled over the two sides of Cisneros: the humanist reformer and the violent inquisitor. My presentation seeks to resolve this tension by proposing that his repressive and violent actions were a logical fulfillment of his ideals and desire for religious reform. Cisneros’ beliefs and repressive tendencies carried into later centuries, thus my examination of his motives and actions also aims at a greater understanding of Spanish colonial expansion.

Faculty Sponsor

John Cotts

Sponsor Department/Programs

History

Tracks

Politics of Church and State

Location

Science 100

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

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Apr 19th, 4:00 PM Apr 19th, 4:15 PM

Linking Monks to Massacres: Tales of a 16th-century Reformer

Science 100

The early 16th century saw Spain’s rise as a colonial power, expanding its empire through evangelism and violence. One of the first proponents of that strategy was Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, leader of the Spanish Inquisition and the most powerful religious authority in Spain. However, Cisneros also reformed many religious institutions, combated corruption within the Catholic Church and promoted a near-heretical re-evaluation of the Bible. In the past, historians have puzzled over the two sides of Cisneros: the humanist reformer and the violent inquisitor. My presentation seeks to resolve this tension by proposing that his repressive and violent actions were a logical fulfillment of his ideals and desire for religious reform. Cisneros’ beliefs and repressive tendencies carried into later centuries, thus my examination of his motives and actions also aims at a greater understanding of Spanish colonial expansion.