Why Nobody Likes a Prophet: Bartolomé de las Casas, a Loud Voice in the Wilderness


This essay focuses on and analyzes the role of prophet that Bartolomé de las Casas (1485–1566) lived out in the conquest and settlement of the New World. Borrowing a great deal from a shorter essay written years ago by Stafford Poole on the history and nature of prophets, we examine how Las Casas’s life mirrored so many of the qualities and characteristics of the prophet, especially those of the Old Testament. It is part of our general argument that one can only truly understand the life of Las Casas, often described as the greatest defender of American Indians (the “indigenous” in today’s jargon), by placing him squarely within the Scriptural prophetic tradition that drove both is thinking and his actions. This is a “Critical Essay” and it was originally delivered as a public lecture.

prophet, prophecies, Bartolomé de las Casas, black legend, conquest of the Americas, encounter, Brief History of the Destruction of the Indies, Dominicans in the new world, Atlantic world, Colonial Latin America, Conquest and Exploration, Latin American & Hispanic Studies, Religious History
Clayton, L., Fosl, P. (2016): Why Nobody Likes a Prophet: Bartolome de las Casas, a Loud Voice in the Wilderness. Cogent Arts & Humanities. 3(1).