martes, 10 de junio de 2008

Miguel Servet, burnt by his religious ideas


If you have only read normal “anglosaxon” history, you will think only the catholic spanish inquisition existed, maybe then, you will be very surprised reading this:
MIGUEL SERVET (1511-1553)
This spanish doctor, theologist, mathematician, astronomer and geographer, was born around 1511 in Villanueva de Sijena (Aragon, Spain) and burnt alive to death by calvinists in Geneva (Switzerland) in a dampened wood pyre to add to the suffering of his agony, on the Champel hill, where a small engraving tries, to repair what was done to him.
His father was a notary. He made him learn Latin, Greek and Hebrew. He went to Toulouse, in 1528, to study for a long time. Later, he was appointed as a secretary by Quintana, just apppointed the confesor of Carlos I (of Spain V of Germany) and this social promotion allowed him to travel around Italy and Germany, between 1529 and 1530, before his thirties. In Basel (Switzerland) he published his famous "De erroribus Trinitatis". (1531), becoming the enemy of Zwinglio. He had to leave the city and flee to France, where he became a quest to the Treschsel family, important printers from Lyon. There he quoted and published the Geography of Ptolomeo, in a work of great quality that, according to some scholars, makes him the forefather of compared geography.
In Lyon he met doctor Champier, who introduced him to his science: in order to extend the knowledge in medicine, he went to Paris, where he received the ranks of master in Arts and Medicine doctor. He discovered the lung circulation (he published with his discoveries the famous "Christianismi restitutio", of 1553) and spent eleven years of semi-concealed life in Vienne with the false name of Michael of Villanueva.
Meanwhile, maintained a furious written discussion with Calvin, the great reformer, whose wrath ignited when Servet published thirty of the letters they have sent each other. Calvin accused him of herexy. On 16 February 1553, Servetus, while in Vienne, was denounced as a heretic by Guillaume Trie, a rich merchant who had taken refuge in Geneva and was a very good friend of Calvin, in a letter sent to a cousin, Antoine Arneys, living in Lyon. On behalf of the French inquisitor Matthieu Ory, Servetus as well as Arnollet, the printer of Christianismi Restitutio, were questioned, but they denied all charges and were released for lack of evidence. Arneys was asked by Ory to write back to Trie, demanding proof. On March 26, 1553, the letters sent by Servetus to Calvin and some manuscript pages of Christianismi Restitutio were forwarded to Lyon by Trie. On April 4, 1553 Servetus was arrested by the Roman Catholic authorities, and imprisoned in Vienne. He escaped from prison three days later. On June 17, he was convicted of heresy by the French inquisition, "thanks to the 17 letters sent by Jehan Calvin, preacher in Geneva" and sentenced to be burned with his books. An effigy and his books were burned in his absence. Meaning to flee to Italy, Servetus stopped in at Geneva, where Calvin and his Reformers had denounced him. On August 13, he attended a sermon by Calvin at Geneva. He was immediately recognized and arrested after the service and was again imprisoned and had all his property confiscated. Unfortunately for Servetus, at this time Calvin was fighting to maintain his weakening power in Geneva. Calvin's opponents used Servetus as a pretext for attacking the Geneva Reformer's theocratic government, so any mercy would have been taken as a sign of weakness. Also, the French Inquisitors asked that Servetus be extradited to them for execution, and Calvin wanted to show himself as firm in defense of Christian orthodoxy as his usual opponents. "He was forced to push the condemnation of Servetus with all the means at his command." Calvin's delicate health and usefulness to the state meant he did not personally appear against Servetus. Nicholas de la Fontaine played the more active role in Servetus's prosecution and the listing of points that condemned him. At his trial, Servetus was condemned on two counts, for spreading and preaching Nontrinitarianism and anti-paedobaptism (anti-infant baptism). Of paedobaptism Michael Servetus had said, "It is an invention of the devil, an infernal falsity for the destruction of all Christianity" Whatever the cause of them, be it irritation or mistreatment, his statements that common Christian traditions were "of the devil" severely harmed his ability to make allies. In the case the Procureur General, who was not Nicholas, added some curious sounding accusations, in the form of inquiries, the most odd sounding perhaps being, "whether he has married, and if he answers that he has not, he shall be asked why, in consideration of his age, he could refrain so long from marriage." To this oblique imputation of unchastity Servetus replied that rupture had long since made him incapable of that particular sin. More offensive to modern ears might be the question "whether he did not know that his doctrine was pernicious, considering that he favors Jews and Turks, by making excuses for them, and if he has not studied the Koran in order to disprove and controvert the doctrine and religion that the Christian churches hold, together with other profane books, from which people ought to abstain in matters of religion, according to the doctrine of St. Paul." Although Calvin believed Servetus deserving of death on account of his "execrable blasphemies", he nevertheless hoped that it would not be by fire, as he was inclined toward clemency. Calvin expressed these sentiments in a letter to Farel, written about a week after Servetus’ arrest, in which he also mentions an exchange between himself and Servetus. Calvin writes: …after he [Servetus] had been recognized, I thought he should be detained. My friend Nicolas summoned him on a capital charge, offering himself as a security according to the lex talionis. On the following day he adduced against him forty written charges. He at first sought to evade them. Accordingly we were summoned. He impudently reviled me, just as if he regarded me as obnoxious to him. I answered him as he deserved… of the man’s effrontery I will say nothing; but such was his madness that he did not hesitate to say that devils possessed divinity; yea, that many gods were in individual devils, inasmuch as a deity had been substantially communicated to those equally with wood and stone. I hope that sentence of death will at least be passed on him; but I desired that the severity of the punishment be mitigated. As Servetus was not a citizen of Geneva, and legally could at worst be banished, the government had consulted with other Swiss Reformed cantons (Zurich, Bern, Basel, Schaffhausen), which universally favored his condemnation and the suppression of his doctrine, but without saying how that should be accomplished. Martin Luther had condemned his writing in strong terms. Servetus and Philip Melanchthon had strongly hostile views of each other. Most Protestant Reformers saw Servetus as a dangerous radical, and the concept of religious freedom did not really exist yet. The Catholic world had also imprisoned him and condemned him to death, which apparently spurred Calvin to equal their rigor. Those who went against the idea of his execution, the party called "Libertines", drew the ire of much of Christendom. On 24 October Servetus was sentenced to death by burning for denying the Trinity and infant baptism. When Calvin requested that Servetus be executed by decapitation rather than fire, Farel, in a letter of September 8, chided him for undue lenity, and the Geneva Council refused his request. On 27 October 1553 Servetus was burned at the stake just outside Geneva with what was believed to be the last copy of his book chained to his leg. Historians record his last words as: "Jesus, Son of the Eternal God, have mercy on me." The common view of the age, that heretics like Servetus should be subject to punishment, was explained by Calvin as follows: Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime and guilty as they are. There is no question here of man's authority; it is God who speaks, and clear it is what law he will have kept in the church, even to the end of the world. Wherefore does he demand of us a so extreme severity, if not to show us that due honor is not paid him, so long as we set not his service above every human consideration, so that we spare not kin, nor blood of any, and forget all humanity when the matter is to combat for His glory. Nevertheless, Sebastian Castellio denounced his execution and became a harsh critic of Calvin due to the whole affair.
Modern relevance
Due to his rejection of the Trinity and eventual execution by burning for heresy, Servetus is often regarded as the first (modern) Unitarian martyr by Unitarians. Other modern non-trinitarian groups, such as Jehovah's Witnesses[citation needed], Christadelphians and Oneness Pentecostalism, also claim Servetus as a spiritual ancestor. Servetus' influence on the beginnings of the Unitarian movement in Poland and Transylvania has been confirmed by scholars, and two Unitarian Universalist congregations are named after him, in Minnesota and Washington. A church window is also dedicated to Servetus at the First Unitarian Congregational Society of Brooklyn, NY. Oneness Pentecostalism identifies with Servetus' teaching on the divinity of Jesus Christ and his insistence on the one God, rather than a Trinity of three distinct persons: "And because His Spirit was wholly God He is called God, just as from His flesh He is called man" The theology of Servetus also has many affinities with that of Swedenborg. Servetus was the first European to describe the function of pulmonary circulation, although it was not widely recognized at the time, for a few reasons. One was that the description appeared in a theological treatise, Christianismi Restitutio, not in a book on medicine. Further, most copies of the book were burned shortly after its publication in 1553. Three copies survived, but these remained hidden for decades. It was not until William Harvey's dissections in 1616 that the function of pulmonary circulation was widely accepted by physicians. It is increasingly recognized that the discovery of pulmonary circulation was made 300 years earlier by Ala-al-Din Abu al-Hasan Ali Ibn Abi al-Hazm al-Qarshi al-Dimashqi (known as Ibn Al-Nafis) who was born in 1213 A.D. in Damascus. In 1984, a Zaragoza public hospital changed its name from José Antonio to Miguel Servet. It is now a university hospital. Most Spanish cities also include at least a street, square or park named after Servetus.

2 comentarios:

FIRST F1 VALENCIA STREET CIRCUIT dijo...

This is a firts F1 of the valencia street circuit...
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megha dijo...

well it was bad time


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