Compel People to Come In

Violence and Catholic Conversions in the non-European World

edited by Vincenzo Lavenia, Stefania Pastore, Sabina Pavone, Chiara Petrolini
Collana: Viella Historical Research, 9
Pubblicazione: Novembre 2018
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pp. 212, 15,5x23 cm, hardback
ISBN: 9788833130774
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“Compelle intrare”: since the time of St Augustine, St Luke’s words in the parable of the Banquet have served as a justification for forced conversion to Christianity. Challenging this tradition, in 1686 Pierre Bayle denounced how a literal interpretation of the parable had led to a long line of crimes, and argued that “nothing is more abominable than obtaining conversion by coercion”.
In recent decades, scholarly research on conversion in the Early Modern Age has increasingly focused on intriguing aspects such as the fluidity of converts’ identity and their crossing of borders – both geographical and confessional. This book takes a different perspective and brings the focus back to the dark side of conversion, to the varying degrees of violence that accompanied Catholic missionary activities in the non-European World in the 16th and 17th centuries. The essays collected here examine three areas where, sometimes visibly, sometimes much more subtly, the violent aspects of conversion took shape: doctrine, missionary practice, and the conversion narratives.
Investigating the connection between violence and conversion is a way to reflect not only on the early modern world, but also on that of the present day, when conversion – including by coercion – has yet again become a significant issue.

  • Vincenzo Lavenia, Stefania Pastore, Sabina Pavone, Chiara Petrolini, Introduction
  • I. Thinking Conversion and Violence
    • Girolamo Imbruglia, ‘Ad militandum’: Sacrifice and the Jesuit Mode of Proceeding
    • Carlos Zeron, Different Perceptions on the Topic of Forced Conversion, after the South Atlantic Experience
    • Adone Agnolin, Violence and Adaptability of the Word: Jesuits and Natives in Portuguese America (16th-17th Centuries)
  • II. Conversions and Missions: Practicing Violence?
    • Christian Windler, From Dreams of Alliance and Mass Conversions to the Ambivalences of Court Life: Catholic Missionaries in Safavid Persia
    • Pedro Lage Correia, Violence, Identity and Conscience in the Context of the Japanese Catholic Missions (16th Century)
    • Sabina Pavone, Practices of Conversion in South India in the 16th and 17th Centuries: Strategies and Narratives
  • III. Narrating and Occulting Violence: Tales of Conversions
    • Ronnie Po-chia Hsia, Who Were the δοῦλος (Luke 14:23) in the Jesuit China Mission?
    • Vincenzo Lavenia, Telling Conversion Stories: Loreto as a World Sacred Space (16th-17th Centuries)
    • Chiara Petrolini, A Sweet Conversion: Tommaso Campanella’s Quod Reminiscentur
  • Abstracts
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index of Names
  • Index of Places
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