Dialogue on Christian Doctrine

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Illustrated paperback ISBN: 9788499530468

SKU: 9788499530451 Category: Tags: , ,

The Dialogue on Christian Doctrine is a work that stands out not only for its theological content but also for its literary structure and historical context. Written under the influence of Erasmianism, an intellectual and religious movement inspired by the ideas of Erasmus of Rotterdam, this work by Juan de Valdés aligns with a series of texts that sought to reconcile the principles of the Renaissance with those of Christianity.
In terms of form, the use of dialogue or colloquy is particularly significant. This format, popular during the Renaissance and frequently employed by Erasmus, allows for a deeper and more nuanced exploration of theological topics. Through the exchange between the three characters—Antonio, Eusebio, and Friar Pedro de Alba, Archbishop of Granada—various perspectives on the doctrine of justification by faith are offered, a central theme in Erasmianism and in the Protestant Reformation.
The choice of characters is also revealing. By including an archbishop in the conversation, Valdés demonstrates a willingness for dialogue among the different factions of Christianity of the time. This can be interpreted as an attempt to find common ground amid the theological and ecclesiastical disputes that characterized the period.
As for the content, the work shares similarities with another text by Valdés, the “Christian Alphabet,” suggesting a coherence in his theological thought. In both works, the author defends the idea of justification by faith, a principle that challenged some of the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church at the time and was a key point in subsequent religious discussions.
The Dialogue on Christian Doctrine by Juan de Valdés is a complex and nuanced work that provides a window into the theological and intellectual tensions of 16th-century Spain. Its use of the dialogue format allows for a more dynamic and plural treatment of doctrinal themes, and its Erasmian influence places it in a tradition of thought that sought to renew Christianity from within, maintaining a balance between faith and reason. The work is a valuable historical document and a literary piece that reflects the concerns and aspirations of its time.

Spending a day, very illustrious Lord, in a village of these Kingdoms, and knowing that by the command of the Lord of it, and even at his expense, the priests in their churches taught the children the principles and rudiments of Christian Doctrine – which many days before I wished to be done – I went to place myself among the children of a church, thus with the intention of knowing there some good thing to introduce into my monastery, as also to see if there would be anything in which I, with my letters and experience, could help and increase that good work and heavenly exercise; And although the priest who taught was an idiot, and was not so founded in the things he said as necessary, because it was the thing of quality that it was, I consoled myself and took recreation there for a long time. As the priest had finished, having seen me among his children, in religious habit, he came to me, desiring, as he said, to know of me what I thought of what I had heard him say. I, seeing his good intentions and seeming to me that, though he was an idiot, he was skillful and docile; and seeing also the profit that could follow from warning him, after having praised him very much, as was reason, his good and holy exercise, and encouraging him to continue it, and also admonish and advise others to do the same, I begged him to go together to communicate this business with Don Fray Pedro de Alba, Archbishop of Granada, because besides being good that with his authority, as a prelate, a truly Christian and evangelical thing like this should be done, he, as a person of sacred letters and Christian spirit, could long instruct us, from where he and I would not only be edified, for what suited us, but instructed in those things that are necessary to instruct others.

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