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“I Am a Great Sinner”: Jesuit Missionary Dialogues in Southern India (Sixteenth Century)

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Abstract In this article I look into a Jesuit dialogical and catechetical text—a confession manual—published in Tamil in 1580. Written as instructions for Tamil Catholics and for Jesuit confessors, these kinds of texts were nodal points in which Tamils and missionaries reprocessed their knowledge of each other and established rules for appropriate social interaction and Catholic sociability. My claim is that the Confessionairo captured and condensed Tamil voices and arguments in a network of Jesuit normative vocabulary and offered a language of self-knowledge expressed in affective vocabulary. A confession manual should not be considered only a strategy for missionary manipulation but also an important tool for the social self-empowerment of the new convert.

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2012-01-01
2017-09-21

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