The Jesuit Missions of Paraguay and a Cultural History of Utopia (1568–1789) explores the religious foundations of the Jesuit missions in Paraguay, and the discussion of the missionary experience in the public opinion of early modern Europe, from Montaigne to Diderot. This book presents a wealth of documentation to highlight three key aspects of this debate: the relationship between civilisation and religion, between religion and political imagination, and between utopia and history. Girolamo Imbruglia's analysis of the Jesuits' own narrative reveals that the idea and the practice of mission have been one of the essential features of the European identity, and of the shaping modern political thought.
Girolamo Imbruglia, is professor of Modern History at the University of Naples “l’Orientale”. He has published monographs, and many articles on history of historiography, the European culture of the Enlightenment and the history of the Society of Jesus.
"This is an excellent and well-read piece of thinking, and an interesting approach to the longue durée of belief and practice." Sarah Barber, in: Journal of Ecclesiastical History Volume 70 (2019).
"The invaluable contribution of Imbruglia’s monograph is obvious: While the numerous tracts, reports and pamphlets about the Jesuit missions in Paraguay were used until recently only as arsenals for isolated pro-Jesuit or anti-Jesuit arguments, Imbruglia has instead analysed them as part of a dialogue which reaches far beyond mission history, deep inside the history of the underlying ideas that informed it. Paraguay has once more moved closer to Europe." - Fabian Fechner, Fernuniversität, Hagen, in: Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu Volume LXXXVII.174, 2018-II, pp. 517-518.
"The concept of utopia belongs to a very long tradition, and the Christian and civic humanist—not only Platonic but also Ciceronian—contexts would have benefited from a more in-depth exploration. This of course does not deny the impressive contribution of this book in correcting the tendency in the historiography to ignore the broader horizons of European political thought; it is a valuable addition for anyone interested in the history of the Jesuit missions and ideal-society tropes." - Catherine Ballériaux, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, in: Renaissance Quarterly Volume LXXII.1, pp. 317-318.
Introduction The Hybrid Society of the Missions
The Indians Life in the missions Religion Institutions The end Missions and Modern Public Opinion: The Cultural History of Utopia
1 Europeans and Religious Orders in America The Jesuit Reducciones of Paraguay
De Vitoria Fray Martin de Valencia Las Casas Quiroga and Cabrera The Barbarians from Europe
The First Jesuit Missions in Peru
Acosta and the Jesuit Strategy of Accommodation
A ‘new type of mankind’ Religion and Superstition The Missionary Strategy of Accommodation
2 The Society of Jesus – Missionaries and Missions Religion
Preaching Beyond Millenarism The Jesuit Missionary The ‘State’ of Paraguay
Reason of State Suárez The People of the Missions
The Litterae Annuae The Missions and Their Nations The Imago primi saeculi Societatis Jesu Miracles, Missionaries, and Sanctity
3 The Missions and Public Opinion in the Crisis of European Conscience – Utopias and Republicanism Religion and Public Opinion
The Lettres édifiantes et curieuses and the Missions
The Mémoires de Trévoux The ‘real’ Paraguay at the Start of the Eighteenth Century Ludovico Antonio Muratori The Metamorphosis of the Missions into Utopia
The Apostolic Community Theocracy The Missions as Utopia – A Literary Genre After More’s Utopia Utopia between Police and Sovereignty
4 Montesquieu, Republican Utopia and Civilisation Montesquieu and the Political Theory of Utopia
Republic and Freedom in the Jesuit Missions; Montesquieu’s Silence Republics without Virtue The Birth of the State Colonisation Montesquieu and the Jesuits After the Esprit des Lois
Civilisation Civilisation and Colonisation Morelly’s Ideal Republic
5 The Age of the Encyclopédie and Rousseau: New Paths and New Needs to Rethink Utopianism The Encyclopédie Paraguay Theocracy Rousseau
6 1750s–1770s: Political and Social Conflicts News from Paraguay
Voltaire – Politics without Utopia
The Parliaments and the End of the Society of Jesus
The Social Problem of Utopia: A Debate at the End of the 1760s
The People of the Missions and the People of Paris – Mably Physiocracy’s Opposition to Mably Linguet The Reformist Utopia of Helvétius
7 Utopias and Human Sciences – Diderot’s Analysis of Society Echoes of Travel
Bessner and Malouet
The Histoire des deux Indes Raynal Diderot. Happiness and Politics The Society of Jesus and the Science of the Legislator
8 Beyond the Lumières History, Civilisation, and the End of Utopia
Communities and Rebels without a Revolution
All interested in the history of Christianity and of Christian missions; and all interested in history of political ideas from Renaissance to the Age of Enlightenment, especially utopian tradition.