Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Maria Cecilia Holt: Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus: Punctuating Conversion and Idolatry in Early Seventeenth Century Philippines

This paper explores the interpretation  and imitation of Patristic sources by Spanish missionaries to early colonial Philippines—especially Jesuits in the early seventeenth century who were confronted with indigenous religious practice. It shall be argued that in through their reading of Patristic sources, they were more accommodating of indigenous religious practices than is generally supposed, and that the conversion of indigenous shamans was negotiated in a creative and open spirit. This emerged from the close analysis of the Jesuit use of a patristic source and Quintilian’s theories of rhetoric, with special attention paid to typography and punctuation. It should or be entirely surprising that accommodation and exemption should be enacted through the use of parentheses (thus).
Indeed my short communication shall show that the third century St. Gregory Wonderworker’s successful accommodation of a pagan temple (where demons were worshipped) into a place where a Christian might spend the night was represented visually by the lunulae or parenthetical marks  had in turn been converted by the Jesuit Pedro Chirino (á imitatio of S. Gregory Taumaturgo) into lodgings for the Wonderworker’s name in early seventeenth century colonial Philippines to indicate to the reader whose example the Jesuit has been imitating.

These simple strokes of punctuation in the Jesuit Relations provide a modest but revelatory view of the use of patristic sources by Jesuits in the early modern period and of Jesuit accommodation not simply as “safe space” but as a locus of argument.

No comments:

Post a Comment