By Ines G. Zupanov
This quantity casts a clean look at Jesuit missions in pre-colonial south India. faced with "strange" social and cultural idioms, missionaries embarked upon a great undertaking of translation that was once eventually to form the language of the colonial ethnography and management.
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Extra resources for Disputed Mission: Jesuit Experiments and Brahmanical Knowledge in Seventeenth-Century India
The fascination with this form of social interaction, often called 'adaptation', had a direct link with Jesuit spirituality. In its traditional theological sense, it connoted the attribution of a new meaning to a passage in the Scripture, unintended by. the author. To change the signified or to apply metaphor, in its primary meaning of 'transfer', corresponds to 65 Loyola, Ecrits, p. 72. Loyola, Ignatius of, Spiritual Exercices, Three (occasions) times for good and healthy decision' (175-183), New York, 1948.
According to individual missionary charisma, the network of followers either expanded or contracted. Upon the death of such a divine figure, his disciples often splintered, establishing their own personalized sects or groups. In this way, individual converts, usually with only scant knowledge of Christian theology or liturgy, spread into various regions and, with different degrees of success, established their own (more or less independent from the Jesuit missions) devotional sects. 77 At the root of missionary success or failure of conversion was the ability to find local and rooted symbolic expression for the new religious sensibility and sociability.
The description, however, did notflowout of Fernandes's text as a kind of natural impulse. Actually, Fernandes began writing after having read Nobili's texts. And what he did, was to flatten the interpretation and emphasize classification and enumeration. The relationship between aristocratic and demotic textuality and social practice as exemplified by Nobili and Fernandes most certainly stands at the threshold of 'scientific discourse' on India. Most of the critiques pertaining to the Jesuits were due to their 'theatrical' dissembling.