Abstract

This article examines how the 1705 Guaraní translation and publication of Juan Eusebio Nieremberg’s On the Difference between the Temporal and Eternal in Río de la Plata’s colonial missions provides evidence of Jesuit instruction in advanced spiritual formation as well as more limited forms of devotional training among Guaraní Indians. The book was translated for a growing population of elite Indigenous readers and for public readings among Indians without preparation in literacy in the missions. Introducing mission residents to the practice of spiritual exercises similar to those originally designed by Ignatius Loyola in his sixteenth-century handbook, the Guaraní Nieremberg imprint and its accompanying engravings reveal Jesuit methods of training in spiritual formation as well as efforts to provide for the development of Guaraní-Christian subject formation. The article also examines how the Guaraní brought their own knowledge of the soul-word and its close connections to language, dream songs, and speech to the Jesuit project of spiritual discernment and Guaraní-Christian subject formation.

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