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Compare and contrast Cortez and Ricci in their attitudes towards non-Christian cultures. Should they be regarded as part of the - Essay Example

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YOUR NAME HERE YOUR TUTOR HERE YOUR COURSE HERE DATE HERE Cortes, Ricci, and Non-Christian Cultures Hernan Cortes, a Spanish Conquistador, hailed from a time period when Spain was gaining considerable political and economic powers in comparison to other national empires…
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Compare and contrast Cortez and Ricci in their attitudes towards non-Christian cultures. Should they be regarded as part of the
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Download file to see previous pages During this period, Cortes was primarily an explorer and intermediary that facilitated communications between the New World and King Charles V. Conversion of foreign natives to Christianity was an outcome of primary ambitions for improving the economic and political strength of the Spanish Empire. On the contrary, Matteo Ricci hailed from Italy, a nation that prescribed strongly to traditional Catholic values and where the papacy maintained considerable influence in the establishment of cultural rules and legislation. Ricci’s primary goal was not enhancing the political and economic might of Italy but to serve God through Catholic missionary activities around the world. Fundamentally, Ricci and Cortes maintained radically different views on the importance of adhering to religious doctrine and the existing spiritual foundations of foreign cultures. Though both condemned non-Christian value systems, they should not be regarded as being part of the same missionary project, as Ricci was a devout believer in attaining rewards through Christ while Cortes sought empowerment, first and foremost, for Spain. In Cortes’ letter to Charles V in 1520, Cortes describes the majesty of the Aztec Empire, recurrently expressing the tangibles of architecture, resource availability, and the engineering prowess of this region. In great detail, Cortes highlights the amazing plethora of animals, vegetables, precious metals, and various commodities found in Temixtitlan. As if presenting a well-inventoried catalog, Cortes reinforces the potential economic benefits that this Empire holds for Charles V, as if to embolden action to ensure that these resources and talents are procured for the throne. It is not until all dimensions of economic benefits are found in Temixtitlan that Cortes begins to describe his condemnation of idolatry and the other non-Christian religious practices and ceremonies he has observed and attempted to thwart. Matteo Ricci, however, is far less defaming non-Christian cultures, attempting to convert and educate various international citizens to the Catholic doctrine when he recognizes potential cultural interest in God and Christ. Ricci finds commonalities to religious beliefs similar to Roman Catholicism in China, but discovers Japanese cultural and religious behaviors simply too strange to fulfill conversion and incorporation into this doctrine. Rather than acting hostile toward these cultures, he focuses more intently on converting regions that are more conducive to Christian beliefs, and illustrate interest in its concepts. Ricci does not seek out exploitation of resources or economic benefits for Italy, having taken a vow not to seek individual wealth but use cooperative resources to adhere to Jesuit missionary agenda. Cortes is much more aggressive about converting Aztec citizens to the Christian doctrine, one that rejects idolatry and advocates respect for human life offered by Christian values. After having observed the places of worship, Cortes is sickened by the practice of human sacrifice, with special dismay placed on idols “all polluted with human blood” (Cortes 3), thus reacting with hostility by destroying the idols. Cortes is not withdrawn or inhibited in his public presentation of consternation and shock over recurring idolatry and the faith that Aztec citizens maintained in serving what he referred to as false gods. Ricci, unlike Cortes, works hard to incorporate Jesuit beliefs into the foreign ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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