Ap World Dbq: Attitudes of Christianity and Islam Toward Merchants

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Victoria Boldt April 16, 2010
AP World DBQ

From the onset of the Christian and Islamic religions, until about 1500, the two

religions began with two different opinions of merchants, but grew together as time went

on. As the two religions reached the 1500’s, their view of merchants became almost


In the beginning of each religion, Christianity and Islam had very different views

on merchants and traders. In the New Testament of the Bible, hatred is shown towards

wealth and merchants. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for

a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Doc. 1). This is very bluntly saying that there

is absolutely no chance for a rich man to get into heaven. During this time around 70-80

C.E., merchants were very poorly regarded. At the formation of Islam, the Qur’an in

about 620-650 C.E. explains an adverse view on merchants. It says that if a merchant is

honest in his trade, he will take rank with the martyrs of the faith (Doc. 2). In the eye of

the Islam, a merchant had a higher rank than that of the Christian. Comparatively, they

took opposite views of the merchant class at their respective religious beginnings.

Between the 12th and the 14th centuries, Islam and Christian aspects of merchants

grew closer in similarity. In 1770, Reginald, a monk of Durham, explains his admiration

for a colleague of his, St. Godric, a merchant (Doc. 3). Reginald explains that merchants

were simple people who sold goods to people who needed them. He tells the story of how

St. Godric gave all of his belongings away to the poor. However, Thomas Aquinas, a

leading scholastic theologian, conflicts this idea of merchants being accepted in

Christianity by scrutinizing merchants and explaining how they should buy and sell their

goods (Doc. 4). He basically says that they are unwanted. Therefore, the Christian opinion

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