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Seeds of Christendom: Jesuit martyrdom and the occupation of American territory, 16th-18th centuries

Abstract

One of the most recurrently triggered by the Jesuits to justify and support the occupation of American territory was martyrdom. In a period of religious conflict in Europe, where the killings in the name of faith left the mythic narratives to roost in contemporary facts, the Society of Jesus was possibly the most intensely social worker who used the imaginary martirológico, in Europe and in missions. Investigating the impact of Jesuit martyrs - and the narratives around them - in the procedures of frontier expansion of Christianity in the New World, aims to contribute to the advancement of knowledge about the processes of territorial occupation of America by building a strand of interpretation unpublished or developed only very locally. For this, adopts four main entrances, from which the imaginary and the documentation of the Jesuits in Latin martirológica be challenged: 1. the idea of the Society of Jesus as a religious order of vocation martirológica; 2. the presence of the martyrs in the cartography of the New World; 3. context on the hagiographic American Jesuit martyrs and their remains; 4. the recurring image of the martyrs as seeds of Christianity, ie tool able to leverage the Christianization of the country. The time frame runs from the occurrence of the first martyrdom of Fathers of the Society in America, priests and João Pedro Correa de Souza, in the interior of Sao Vicente in 1554, until the expulsion of the order in the 1760s. The clipping geographic corresponds to the entire American continent, choice justified by the way the martyrdom appears in Jesuit sources, transcending geographical barriers and imperial frontiers. (AU)

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