The book is about the work done by the Italian Capuchins dealing with the American alterity, especially with the catechization of the indios and the mestizos, accused of having relations with the devil. The friars had to update their missionary methods, facing an alleged indigenous resistance to Christianity and to European social rules. Portuguese colonial sources describe evangelization as a field of dispute among friars, natives and settlers, giving news about the daily conflicts and the changes both in social and symbolic traditions and the management of the missions. The indigenous people were not at all passive subjects in the process of evangelization, because they opposed missionaries for the determination with which, presumably, they practiced their costumes and “gentile” rituals. The documentation contains important information for the study of indigenous people in contact with the Capuchins in the Portuguese colonies of South America.
Carlos Henrique Cruz
A escola do diabo
Firenze University Press, Firenze 2019