Discovering the Holy in the Americas, 1500–1800
Edited by Allan Greer, Jodi Bilinkoff
Routledge – 2003 – 288 pages
From the cult of Saint Anne to the devotees of the Virgin of Guadalupe, from Saint Anthony who competed with Christ for popularity in Brazil, to Jesuits who mixed freely with shamans that talked with the gods, this exciting new anthology examines the conversion of the colonized. The essays examine how New World spirits transformed into Old World saints - for example, the spirit of love transfigured into the Virgin Mary - as well as the implications of the canonization of the first American saint. Colonial Saints illustrates the complex and intimate connections among confessional life writing, canonization, and the practices of the Inquisition. There was a dynamic exchange involving local agendas, the courts in Spain and France, and, of course, Rome. This bold collection clearly shows the interplay between slavery and spirituality, conversion and control, and the links between the sacred and the political.
"This important and fascinating collection ranges from New France through Massachusetts, Mexico, the Caribbean into Peru and beyond. The methodological and topical ranges--voodou, child-bearing, race, art, devotion, to name a few--are truly impressive. The book fulfills its promise of transporting the reader beyond the saints into "the mysteries of colonial culture." -- John W. O'Malley, Professor of Church History, Weston Jesuit School of Theology
"These pathbreaking essays move us beyond the metaphor of "spiritual conquest" to a more complex understanding of colonial American religious cultures in the making. Colonial Saints gives close, convincing readings of its agents, gender politics, visual economies, and much more." -- Kathryn Burns, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"Greer and Bilinkoff have organized a project both novel in its goal and ambitious in its scope, providing a tantalizing and kaleidoscopic picture of sanctity and its cult in the colonial Americas. Colonial Saints marks the first steps in what will clearly be a long and important new scholarly journey." -- Thomas Head, Hunter College and The Graduate Center, The City University of New York
"This important collection of essays provides a superb account of the emergence of distinctive new forms of hagiography in the Americas… [and] provides an invaluable demonstration of the importance of a comparative approach to the religious history of the Americas.
." -- American Historical Review
"It is usefull and informative for any type of researcher." -- Alejandra Rengifo, Central Michigan University,Sixteenth Century Journal
Allan Greer is Professor of History at the University of Toronto. His areas of expertise include Canadian social history, colonization of the Americas, and cultural encounters between Native Americans and Europeans.
Jodi Bilinkoff is Associate Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She was a Fellow at the National Humanities Center. She has published widely on the social history of women and religion.