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Good death in funeral sermons on the Colonial Brazil (17th and 18th centuries)

Grant number: 12/20029-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2013
Effective date (End): December 31, 2013
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - History of Brazil
Principal researcher:Jean Marcel Carvalho França
Grantee:Clara Braz dos Santos
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e Sociais (FCHS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Franca. Franca , SP, Brazil

Abstract

In Brazil, during the sixteenth and seventeenth hundreds, death has occupied a central place in preachers' reflections. The worries with men's possible destinies - hell or the heaven's glory - gave increased attention to the moment of passing away. Teach Christians how to prepare themselves for a good death became one of these men main worries, as this preparation would grant the salvation of the souls. Through some sermons and their mournful variant - eulogies, panegyrics, prayers - it was possible for the preachers to disseminate the elements which compounded the preparation for the well-dying, based on examples of virtuous people who had prepared during their whole life, to their very last moments, for passing away and enjoy eternal bliss. These texts were important tools for changing habitudes and build a conception of death that should be grounded in Christian teachings and regards a devotee life; a life in which well-dying meant, above all, living virtuously. Our main purpose is to understand what characterizes the well-dying for the preachers who lived or were born here; looking forward to notice the range that the sermons reached to the construction of virtuous models based on death ideals. By the way, the choice of the sermons justifies itself, because besides having great dissemination in the Colony from the 17th to later 18th centuries, it was during this moment that the majority of them presented some sort of art of dying, what leads us to suppose that such notions were spread by sermonistic aiming to turn death into the most important mechanism of disseminating catholic faith at that time. (AU)

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