A Brief History of Insanity: The Gaudio Translation

9 Pages Posted: 24 May 2021

See all articles by Benjamin Davis

Benjamin Davis

University of Toledo College of Law

Andrew Gaudio

Government of the United States of America - Library of Congress

Date Written: May 20, 2021


We have to recover the history.

James Meredith, the African-American who integrated the previously whites only segregated University of Mississippi in the mid-1960’s, once told me that it was only when he worked in Japan after WWII that he realized that segregation of the races was not ordained by God.

Recently, I think I received some indication of why he thought that and why the current situation is as it is. I had of course been familiar with American slavery, but before that 1619 project, I was surprised to come across the Dum Diversas and Romanus Pontifex Papal Bulls/Letters of Pope Nicholas V in the mid-1400’s blessing and calling for the perpetual enslavement of Africans.

An HBO series entitled Exterminate All the Brutes referred to another Papal Bull/Letter of 1478 of Pope Sixtus IV which blessed and protected by God the start of the Spanish Inquisition.

This 1478 Papal Bull/Letter to Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain is entitled Exigit Sinceras Devotionis Affectus. Until May 20, 2021 it had never been translated into English and appears for the first time in this article as the Gaudio Translation.

The combination of the three Papal Bulls/Letters suggests the origin of the idea of white supremacy that went on to permeate the world in a 550 year pandemic.

By bringing this origin story to light today, in reading Pope Sixtus IV, we each see how little we have progressed since 1478 in our thinking about each other. This origin story also shows us just what we have to do to free our minds of these shackles that hold back all of us - confusing true faith with merely terrestrial human frailty to the detriment of so many millions.

Keywords: white supremacy, Spanish Inquisition, slavery, international trade, Moors, Saracens, Muslims, Jews, Ferdinand and Isabella, the Vatican, Pope Nicholas V, Pope Sixtux IV, Lateran Council

Suggested Citation

Davis, Benjamin and Gaudio, Andrew, A Brief History of Insanity: The Gaudio Translation (May 20, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3850739 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3850739

Benjamin Davis (Contact Author)

University of Toledo College of Law ( email )

2801 W. Bancroft Street
Toledo, OH 43606
United States

Andrew Gaudio

Government of the United States of America - Library of Congress ( email )

101 Independence Ave
Washington, DC 20540
United States

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