Maxime Haubert’s volume on the Jesuits in Paraguay, which has appeared in the well-known series “La vie quotidienne,” emphasizes the process of Christianization and the humane relationship between missionaries and Indians. This approach makes for extensive but often amusing accounts of the images that missionaries and Indians held of each other. In his analysis of how the Jesuits succeeded in replacing the Indian shamans, Haubert follows Alfred Métraux. The miracles that he relates from the Jesuit Cartas Anuas show Jesuit ideals, but they make a somewhat strange impression since he has left them without critical comments. Perhaps he takes it for granted that every twentieth-century reader makes these comments himself.
Haubert is, of course, aware of the fact that the seventeenth-century Christianization of the Guaraní agriculturists and the eighteenth-century Christianization of nomadic tribes such as the Abipones and the Mocobies required different missionary methods and implied partly different problems. Instead of clarifying this point, however, he spreads some confusion by mixing references to Fathers Diego de Torres and Antonio Ruiz de Montoya (seventeenth-century missionaries among the Guaraníes) with referencies to Jesuits Paucke and Dobrizhoffer (eighteenth-century missionaries to the nomads). His treatment of missionary methods and problems might have gained in lucidity if he had consulted, for instance, the excellent work by Pedro Borges, Métodos misionales en la cristianización de América. Siglo XVI (Madrid, 1960).
It is not until page 183 that Haubert abandons the theme of Christianization to describe life in the reducciones—that is, both the famous thirty Guaraní communities and the more ephemeral eighteenth-century missions established among the nomadic tribes. He rightly stresses that the organization of the reductions largely implied the mere application of royal legislation. It is Haubert’s view that the Jesuits devoted more energy to material concerns than to their purely spiritual task, because they realized that the former was a prerequisite for the latter. He gives some interesting examples of the Jesuits’ realistic, even cynical opinion of the neophytes. In 1644 the Jesuit Provincial in a report to the Father General referred to the Indian cabildo in the following terms: “Every year magistrates are elected and are given splendid titles nominally to direct the reduction, but they are unable to innovate, to punish, or to order anything without explicit permission of the Fathers. One may even say that they feel glorified by having received this useless power and the authority of carrying varas. In this way God made us Princes of this land. . . .”
Haubert has consulted unpublished Jesuit materials from the Roman archives. Many interesting details from the regulations laid down by the Jesuit provincials, for instance, are being used apparently for the first time. From a scholarly point of view, it is a pity that his footnotes provide no detailed references to these sources. The author’s selection of published sources and literature on the “Jesuit State” seems quite adequate for the purpose, but regrettably he was unable to consult Furlong’s important work, Misiones y sus pueblos de guaraníes (Buenos Aires, 1963). The book lacks a map, and a few illustrations would have added to its attractiveness, if the publisher had afforded them. To summarize, Haubert, though a bit long-winded, has produced a competent and well-informed addition to the abundant literature on the “Jesuit State” with quite a few entertaining and new features.