consign <their> souls to hell fire

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gil12345

Senior Member
chinese
Hi there,

"The persecution of the Jews and the establishment of the Inquisition cannot be said to have been countenanced by her, they were the result of priestly impudence. Torquemada the confessor of the Queen did not more fatally mislead her than do the priests of our day mislead us, the cry of heretic was not more potent in her day than that of Infidel in ours. They burned the bodies of all those who differed from them we consign their souls to Hell fire."

Stanton, "Address on Woman's Rights," Speech Text - Voices of Democracy (1848)

What does "their" refer to? people who burned the bodies of other people, or those were burned? Methinks the former. It seems also Stanton criticizes those who committed atrocities. Am I right? Could anyone elaborate this part for me?

Thanks

Gil
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    There must be a word missing*, for a start: 'as we consign'. The parallel appears to be:

    In the past, they (the Inquisition) burned the bodies of (those they called) heretics
    just as
    in the present, we** consign the souls of (those we call) infidels to Hell fire.

    The mention of (present-day) infidels a little earlier would be out of place, if she was merely saying that we now condemn the Inquisition.

    * The text you're working from isn't perfect; it has little formatting mistakes.

    ** The people of today generally do: she's not agreeing with this herself.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "They burned the bodies of all those who differed from them we consign their souls to Hell fire."

    "Their souls"- the souls of those who differ from us.
     

    gil12345

    Senior Member
    chinese
    "They burned the bodies of all those who differed from them we consign their souls to Hell fire."

    "Their souls"- the souls of those who differ from us.
    So both they and we are intolerant toward the heretic people? I don't know much about the religious history. Did they really burn those nonbelievers? Was it considered the right thing to do?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The Inquisition in the 1400s and 1500s certainly burned many people publicly for their beliefs. 'Consign' in the present-day (1848) part of it just means "we (people of our time) say that non-believers will go to Hell". No-one actually killed non-believers in the 1800s.

    Heretics are those who held any kind of religious belief (or non-belief) that was different from the government's official form of religion. But in 1848 a variety of Christian beliefs were generally tolerated, and it was only infidels (atheists and people of completely different religions) who were regarded as doomed to Hell.
     

    gil12345

    Senior Member
    chinese
    The Inquisition in the 1400s and 1500s certainly burned many people publicly for their beliefs. 'Consign' in the present-day (1848) part of it just means "we (people of our time) say that non-believers will go to Hell". No-one actually killed non-believers in the 1800s.
    Thanks. It seems that Stanton just wanted to excuse the female leaders about their role in the oppression. But I fail to understand as such from the original text. Could you please elaborate a little more for me?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Well, Queen Isabella ordered (or at least allowed) the burning of heretics, but only because priests like Torquemada were in positions of such power that they could persuade her: 'mislead' her. Stanton strongly condemns this: it was not just misleading, it was 'fatally' misleading. But it was no more so than was happening in her day, 1848, with priests still saying many people should burn, except that today the burning was left up to God rather than human agents.
     
    Last edited:

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    She says Torquemada fatally misled the Queen. I don't know precisely what she means by 'fatally', but it's a very strong word.
     
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