Bruna Soalheiro : Writing, describing, persuading : Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists in Jesuit Sources (1570-1721)

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Bruna Soalheiro (UERJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

REDON, Odilon, The Buddha, c. 1905, Pastel, 90 x 73 cm Musée d'Orsay, Paris

REDON, Odilon, The Buddha, c. 1905, Pastel, 90 x 73 cm Musée d’Orsay, Paris
The importance of the Company of Jesus is already established as a facilitator of the circulation of people, knowledge, and objects in the early Modern Era, weaving connections between (physical) territories and their (newly attributed) geopolitical and epistemological locations. In this article, the aim is to analyze written sources produced by the Jesuits established in the Mughal court and in the land of the lamas (1570). Investigations began in the decade preceding the establishment of the Jesuits in Akbar’s court, followed by the Tibetan mission founded by Antônio de Andrade (1626). The necessary relationship between the conversion strategies adopted in these missions and the (re)elaboration of categories indicating dialogue and persuasion as the most prudent catechetical method are the main focus. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how it is possible to perceive an interesting cycle of (re)formulation and exhaustion of categories, which are in constant process of replacement, following the pace given by the imminent limitation of concepts like “pagan”, “infidel”, “idolatrous”, etc. By the time these categories became inefficient due to problems of epistemological and missiological nature, “new” words and attributes were then elaborated, so as to describe future converts and anticipate the most prudent strategy of conversion to each specific case.

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