The Rites Controversies in the Early Modern World

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The Rites Controversies in the Early Modern World | Ines G Županov and Pierre Antoine Fabre (editors)

The Rites Controversies in the Early Modern World

Ines G Županov
Pierre Antoine Fabre

Studies in Christian Mission, 53


July 2018


xxiv, 403 pages


The Rites Controversies in the Early Modern World is a collection of fourteen articles focusing on debates concerning the nature of “rites” raging in intellectual circles of Europe, Asia and America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The controversy started in Jesuit Asian missions where the method of accommodation, based on translation of Christianity into Asian cultural idioms, created a distinction between civic and religious customs. Civic customs were defined as those that could be included into Christianity and permitted to the new converts. However, there was no universal consensus among the various actors in these controversies as to how to establish criteria for distinguishing civility from religion. The controversy had not been resolved, but opened the way to radical religious scepticism.

Ines G. Županov, is director of the Centre d’Études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud in Paris. She has published monographs and articles on social and cultural history of the missions in South Asia and the Portuguese empire. Her latest book co-written with Ângela Barreto Xavier is Catholic Orientalism; Portuguese Empire, Indian Knowledge (16th-18th centuries) (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Pierre Antoine Fabre, born in 1957, is directeur d’études at the École des Hautes Études en Science Sociales in Paris. He has published five books and more than 150 articles, and edited 30 books, including the most recent, The Acquaviva project : Claudio Acquaviva's generalate (1581-1615) and the emergence of modern Catholicism. (coedited with Flavio Rurale, Institute of Jesuit Studies, Boston College, 2017).

List of Maps and Illustrations
List of Frequently Used Abbreviations
List of Contributors

The Rites Controversies in the Early Modern World: An Introduction
Ines G. Županov and Pierre Antoine Fabre

Part 1: Chinese Rites and Jesuit Missions

1. Chinese Voices in the Rites Controversy: From China to Rome
Ronnie Po-chia Hsia

2. Chinese Voices in the Rites Controversy: The Role of Christian Communities
Nicolas Standaert

3. Atheism: A Word Travelling To and Fro Between Europe and China
Michela Catto

Part 2: Malabar Rites between Mission and History

4. Śivadharma or Bonifacio? Behind the Scenes of the Madurai Mission Controversy (1608–1619)
Margherita Trento

5. Revisiting the Malabar Rites Controversy: A Paradigm of Ritual Dynamics in the Early Modern Catholic Missions of South India
Gita Dharampal-Frick

Part 3: Mission and Inquisition

6. Rites and Inquisition: Ethnographies of Error in Portuguese India (1560–1625)
Giuseppe Marcocci

7. Jesuits and Oriental Rites in the Documents of the Roman Inquisition
Sabina Pavone

Part 4: Rites Controversies: Far and Near

8. Accommodationist Strategies on the Malabar Coast: Competition or Complementarity?
Istvan Perczel

9. Orthodoxy and Politics: The Patriarch Nikon of Moscow, the Prince Mihnea III Radu of Walachia and the Great Church of Constantinople
Ovidiu Olar

Part 5: Idols, Idolatry and Catholic Mission

10. Writing Rites in the Borderlands: Appropriation, Mimesis and Interaction between Jesuits and Indians in Colonial South America
Guillermo Wilde

11. “Secularizing” the Andes: The Effects of Transcultural Processes on Colonial Andean Rituals
Claudia Brosseder

12. Dios, Dio, Viracocha, Tianzhu: “Finding” and “Translating” the Christian God in the Overseas Jesuit Missions (16th–18th Centuries)
Ana Carolina Hosne

Epilogues: Rites Controversies as Cultural Resources

13. A Cross Concealed Among Flowers: Interpreting a Secret Ritual in Seventeenth Century Chinese Christian Communities
Pierre Antoine Fabre

14. Against Rites: Jesuit Accommodatio as Pietist Preparatio Evangelica in Eighteenth Century South India
Ines G. Županov


"This collection of essays is a welcome contribution to the study of missionary and indigenous debates regarding non-Christian rites, precisely because this volume widens its purview to include the missionary enterprise beyond China. (...) Županov and Fabre have managed to solicit and inspire contributors who have produced a remarkably interrelated collection of chapters. (...) This volume is an important contribution to the dialogue between cultures, and between scholars of the past and present."
Anthony E. Clark, Whitworth University, Spokane, WAJournal of Jesuit Studies Volume 6 (2019), pp. 327-330.


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