Ap World History DBQ Christianity Essay Sample
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When thinking about the history of the world, one must always consider that merchants as well as trade have played an immerse role in shaping the world as it is today. They are responsible for many of the cross-cultural interactions that we have had in the past. Christianity and Islam, the two predominant religions of the world today, have both grown and spread through merchants and trade also. These two chief religions both have attitudes towards merchants and trade that have either developed or decreased overtime. According to these documents, from up to the year 1500, Christianity went from a negative view of merchants and trade to a positive view while Islam went from a positive view to a negative view, but both sides imposed on a sense of honesty. In the beginning of Christianity at about 70-80 CE, they had a very negative approach toward merchants (Doc. 1). Christianity’s shift from a negative view to a positive view is a demonstrated in documents 1, 3, 4, and 6. Document 1 states that no rich man can enter the kingdom of heaven. This is indirectly stating that merchants cheat people and it’s not a worthy profession.
The author specifically enforces this statement by saying that hypothetically, it is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of god. This document also demonstrated bias because it shows the strong dislike for merchants. The author’s point of view in this document is evident that merchants were not appreciated nor did they have any value in the society. In contrast, document 3 describes the life of a Christian monk in 1170 and how he brought goods for cheap prices in lands where there was less demand for them and went to places where there was more demand and sold it for a much higher price, thus making a very lucrative profit. This document I different from document 1 because of merchants and trade. Document 3 changes from not allowing merchants in heaven into saying that materialistic things were not useful in heaven. In this document, they describe the life of Reginald, a monk of Durham, and the author of this source uses information like, “Thus aspiring ever high and higher, and yearning upward with with this whole hear, at length this great labors and cares bore much fruit of worldly gain”.
This shows a positive movement from document 1 because this document actually talks about the merchant aspiring to get something done and this supports it. This document is also filled with point of view because it is written about St. Godric, who was of course, by an individual who is respected. Also talking about Christianity, document 4 was during 1273 and it mentions how everything should be traded fairly thus it is unjust to sell a thing for more than it’s worth, or to buy it for less than it’s worth. Document 4 also expresses that a merchant should trade fairly. It says that no man should sell a thing to another man for than how much it is really worth. This document can also be described positively in a way because it portrays that merchants and traders should never do anything wrong or treat anybody wrong or do anything immoral and iniquitous. However, starting back at the Renaissance, around the fourteenth century, document 6 shows that overtime, the Christianity got a much positive look on trade and merchants than was originally established.
This document shows that people are using salesperson techniques to get consumer from the seller trying to sell his paintings. These letters from the source also tell us that art was very popular among society and that a religion played a role in society because of all the religious paintings. Also in document 6, in letter A, it mentions a panel of “Our Lady” on a background of fine gold with two doors in the center, “Our Lord” is on the cross. This statement is basically restating that God is always there and that religion is a big part of their life, thus showing a religious emphasis. Islam, like Christianity, had a contrasting opinion about merchants ad trading. From the time leading up to 1500, Arabs and Muslims went from respecting merchants and their trading to having very negative thoughts towards them. Supported by documents 2, 5, and 7, this statement is very unambiguous. Written towards the beginning of the Islamic faith, in 620-650 CE, document 2 is from the Muslim point of view and the document believes the two and only then will their transaction be blessed. During this time, merchants and trade were highly valued and shown a great deal of respect.
The main reason for this belief is the Prophet Muhammad. Islam is based on the teachings of Muhammad so therefor; Muhammad is highly worshiped and looked upon on. The reason that merchants are dear to Muslims is because Prophet Muhammad as well as his wife, Khadija, are born Muslims, thus causing Muslims to appreciate merchants. However, as time goes on, it is noticeable that the respect will be lowered. In addition to document 2, document 5 is written by Ibn Khaldun, a leading Muslim scholar during the fourteenth century. Document 5 describes how it is sometimes necessary to transport goods to a place where they are more keenly demanded and therefore fetch a much higher price for them. As seen, people of both religions grew greedier over time and traded unfairly just to make a higher profit. Also in document 5, the scholar mentions that, “As for trade, although it be a natural means of livelihood, yet most of the methods it employs tricks aimed at making a profit by securing the difference between the bullying and selling prices, and by appropriating the surplus.” By that, it means that merchants did not remain merchants; they turned into gamblers.
As a result, Muslims started to lose admiration towards merchants. After document 5 was written, document 7 also reinforces the declining attitude of the Muslims towards merchants. Document 7 was written in 1600 and it portrays an exceedingly negative attitude towards travelers in the eyes of Arabs and Muslims. Document 7, which is an Islamic court decision, is written much later on the 15th and 16th centuries, thus showing that unfair trade lasted quite a long time. In fact, the trading cases even got to court, like this one. Like another similar document, document 7 also addresses unfair trade. It constantly enforces that when merchants traded, they began to trade with unjust and dishonesty. Although both had contrasting attitudes when it came to merchants and trade over time, they both enforced an implication of dishonesty, Christianity, nor Islam, tolerated dishonesty and duplicity; this statement is exhibited in documents 2, 4, 5, and 7. Document 2 states that the dishonest, truthful Muslim merchant will take rank with the martyrs of the faith of the Day of Judgment. The source of document 2 shows a very negative point of view to dishonest merchants. This gives us an insight that Islam had a very negative dislike for lying and deceitful merchants.
Islam forced a sense of honesty because the theme is to never cheat anybody. Throughout this document, there are many expectations regarding the topic of honesty. The Muslim Qur’an, the source of this document, mentions “do not devour each others property among yourselves unlawfully save that be trading by mutual consent.” By this statement, one can notice that the Qur’an constantly mentions to not cheat nor take advantage of anyone. One can draw a conclusion that Islam anticipates every follower and believer to follow all the moral laws. Another document relating merchants to honesty in Islam is document 5. This document possesses a negative perspective and reflects on merchants and trade as being dishonest and possessing disapproving traits. The leading Muslim scholar in the document points out, “This dishonesty of trading leads to fraud and the adulteration of goods… trading necessitates the flattery, and evasiveness, litigation, and disputation, all of which are characteristics of trading”. This negative statement towards merchants and the exchange of goods shows that Ibn Khaldun had a very unenthusiastic point of view toward the way that merchants traded.
This shows that honesty was the number one priority to maintain. In addition, this statement: “As for trade, although it be a natural means of livelihood, yet most of the methods it employs are tricks aimed at making a profit by securing the difference between the buying and selling prices, and by appropriating the surplus” is placed in the end of the document because it portrays how merchants, in result of their lying and dishonesty, turned into gamblers. Another document, document 7 discusses their greed and their habits. It was written in 1600 and it portrays an exceedingly negative attitude towards traders in the eyes of Arabs and Muslims. This document addresses the unfair codes and how the merchants traded and it began with unjust and dishonesty. An additional document that could be added to give more insight onto this one is one from a Muslim or Buddhist merchant who was active in trade before 1500. It would give a more clear perspective into how actual merchants felt about how they should trade and how the laws or morals of their time influenced their business. Also, to be more specific, another religion would also be useful to give an idea about how different religions, like Buddhism, reacted and how they felt towards merchants.