Missionary Scientists: Jesuit Science in Spanish South America, 1570-1810

Overview

Missionary Scientists explores the scientific activities of Jesuit missionaries in colonial Spanish America, revealing a little-known aspect of religions role in the scholarship of the early Spanish Empire. Grounded in an examination of the writings and individuals authors who were active in South American naturalist studies, this study outlines new paths of research often neglected by current scholarship.

What becomes clear throughout Missionary Scientists is that early ...

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Overview

Missionary Scientists explores the scientific activities of Jesuit missionaries in colonial Spanish America, revealing a little-known aspect of religions role in the scholarship of the early Spanish Empire. Grounded in an examination of the writings and individuals authors who were active in South American naturalist studies, this study outlines new paths of research often neglected by current scholarship.

What becomes clear throughout Missionary Scientists is that early missionaries were adept in adapting to local practices, in order to both understand the scientific foundations of these techniques and ingratiate themselves to the native communities.

Spanning the disciplines of history, religion, and Latin American studies, Missionary Scientists reshapes our understanding of the importance of the Jesuit missions in establishing early scientific traditions in the New World.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a valuable tool not just for historians concerned with the Society of Jesus or colonial Latin American history, but also for scholars and students of early modern science, religion, and the history of ideas in a broader sense."
Colonial Latin American Historical Review

"Although Jesuit contributions to early modern culture have attracted substantial scholarly interest, the role of Jesuit scholars in the development of scientific and medical discourse in colonial Spanish America remains for the most part uncharted terrain. [Missionary Scientists is] a highly readable yet meticulously documented study of this topic that traces the development of the missionary ethos from the earliest years of the conquest through the expulsion of the Jesuits in the 18th century."
—Kristine Ibsen, author of Maximillian, Mexico, and the Invention of Empire

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826517449
  • Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Andres I. Prieto is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Science and the Jesuit Ways of Proceeding 1

Part I Missionary Ethos

1 Jesuit Struggles in Peru 13

2 Confessing the Power to Heal 36

3 Christianizing Demonic Knowledge 62

Part II A Collaborative Enterprise

4 Science and Expansion 91

5 Astronomy between Chiloe, Lima, and Rome 116

Part III Natura Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam

6 The Two Faces of Acosta's Historia naturaly moral de las Indias 143

7 The Irreducible Difference of America 169

8 Local Nature, Local Histories 195

Epilogue: The Jesuit and the Armchair Philosopher 221

Notes 229

Bibliography 259

Index 275

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