Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Tidbit from Spain

by Edd   Doerr

Ramon Sender (1902-1982) was one of Spain's finest novelists. Here us a snip from his 1981 short novel "Chambrio en la plaza de las cortes" ("Scandalous Confusion in Parliament Plaza").

"Spanish history is full of martyred men of letters. One was Miguel Servet [Michael Servetus], specialist in science and philosophy, discoverer of the circulation of blood, philosopher read and admired in Italy, France, Holland, Switzerland. He did not believe in the Trinity because, really, the only reference to it in the Old or New Testaments is as  a pagan doctrine in Egypt and remote India, with their triplicate deities: Orus, Isis and Osiris, or Brahma, Siva and Vishnu. The first to hear of it in Rome was Constantine, who was never a Christian but protected the nacent church for political reasons. Servet was persecuted by both Catholics and Lutherans, and when the heroes of the Battle of Pavia had been forgotten in their graves Servet went to Geneva to talk with Calvin, who had him jailed, tortiured and burned at the stake."

Servetus is regarded today as a forerunner of Unitarianism in addition to his scientific achievements. When I was in Geneva some years ago I wandered along the Rue Calvin and found the church in which Servetus was apprehended by Calvin. If memory serves, Servetus' statue is not among the other leaders honored in Geneva's Reformation Plaza.


Don Wharton said...

Interesting history! I did not know about this one.

Edd.Doerr said...

Don, just about everything Sender wrote was great. His last years were spent teaching in New Mexico. Early in the Spanish civil war his wife was murdered by Franco's minions.