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Open Access Guerra com a lingoa

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Guerra com a lingoa

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Book Culture and Biblioclasm in the Ethiopian Jesuit Mission

This article examines the book culture of the Jesuit mission to Ethiopia (1557–1632). Combining archival and field research, it considers the composition of the mission’s now-lost libraries, the use of books as tools of conversion, book production, and missionary engagement with Ethiopian Orthodox book culture. Furthermore, it illuminates the Jesuit reliance upon Ethiopian collaborators both to understand Orthodox texts and to produce Catholic manuscripts in the absence of a printing press. Using the personal libraries of Pedro Páez, S.J. and Afonso Mendes, S.J. as case studies, it posits that the gradual acceleration of acts performed by Jesuits upon Orthodox books—including collecting, translating, editing, and destroying—paralleled the rising aggression and cultural intolerance of the mission. Ultimately, this resulted in the expulsion and murder of the Jesuits, and the destruction of their libraries in a series of state-sanctioned book burnings that permitted a revival of Ethiopian Orthodoxy.

Affiliations: 1: Princeton University, kwindmul@princeton.edu

This article examines the book culture of the Jesuit mission to Ethiopia (1557–1632). Combining archival and field research, it considers the composition of the mission’s now-lost libraries, the use of books as tools of conversion, book production, and missionary engagement with Ethiopian Orthodox book culture. Furthermore, it illuminates the Jesuit reliance upon Ethiopian collaborators both to understand Orthodox texts and to produce Catholic manuscripts in the absence of a printing press. Using the personal libraries of Pedro Páez, S.J. and Afonso Mendes, S.J. as case studies, it posits that the gradual acceleration of acts performed by Jesuits upon Orthodox books—including collecting, translating, editing, and destroying—paralleled the rising aggression and cultural intolerance of the mission. Ultimately, this resulted in the expulsion and murder of the Jesuits, and the destruction of their libraries in a series of state-sanctioned book burnings that permitted a revival of Ethiopian Orthodoxy.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22141332-00202004
2015-04-09
2017-11-22

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