Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thesis Update

I finally submitted another major section of my thesis to my adviser today. The topic this time: The Aztecs.

This section was especially interesting to me. It dealt first with the Aztec Pantheon. There were, apparently, quite a number of gods who were responsible for the whole gamut of daily life in the Aztec Empire - rain gods, corn gods, gods for pregnant women, gods of the dead, and the sun god. These gods were a blood-thirsty lot, demanding animal sacrifice, blood sacrifice through bodily mutilation, and human sacrifice. While the reasons for human sacrifice are not fully understood, a quote from Kay Read's The Fleeting Moment: Cosmogony, Eschatology, and Ethics in Aztec Religion and Society helps make sense of the gruesome rituals. She speculates as to how a hypothetical Aztec philosopher might describe the role of human sacrifice.

We sacrifice humans because it is human blood which feeds the universe. Human blood feeds the universe because or myths and traditions tell us that it was divine blood which the gods used to make humans, and it must be human blood which feeds the gods. In this way, we re-create each other by feeding each other. If we did not, we humans and the cosmos would die of starvation. We know this is true because all living matter must eat, or death – which is inevitable anyway – would come even sooner. Therefore, it is the transforming of life into life by destructive acts which keeps life in motion.*

There was a despairing quality to the Aztec life. The world would inevitably be destroyed. I think it was this sense of immanent destruction which allowed the people to believe that Cortez was the god Quetzalcoatl returned. Quetzalcoatl’s return would mark the beginning of the end for them. In many ways, the arrival of Europeans was the beginning of the end. It makes me think that many natives accepted Christianity out of a sense of hopelessness. What did it matter whom they worshipped now that all of creation was screeching to a halt? Perhaps better, why not worship the God of the Europeans, as they have destroyed our world, and all that we once believed has now passed away.

I am now down to just a few more large revisions and the inclusion of some detail that is lacking in some areas. Things are looking good to complete it all before Christmas.

* Read, Kay A.. Source: Journal of Religious Ethics, 14 no 1 Spr 1986, p 113-138.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.