The Devil and the Land of the Holy Cross: Witchcraft, Slavery, and Popular Religion in Colonial Brazil by Laura de Mello e SouzaThe Devil and the Land of the Holy Cross: Witchcraft, Slavery, and Popular Religion in Colonial Brazil by Laura de Mello e Souza

The Devil and the Land of the Holy Cross: Witchcraft, Slavery, and Popular Religion in Colonial…

byLaura de Mello e SouzaTranslated byDiane Grosklaus Whitty

Paperback | February 1, 2004

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Originally published in Brazil as O Diabo e a Terra de Santa Cruz, this translation from the Portuguese analyzes the nature of popular religion and the ways it was transferred to the New World in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Using richly detailed transcripts from Inquisition trials, Mello e Souza reconstructs how Iberian, indigenous, and African beliefs fused to create a syncretic and magical religious culture in Brazil.

Focusing on sorcery, the author argues that European traditions of witchcraft combined with practices of Indians and African slaves to form a uniquely Brazilian set of beliefs that became central to the lives of the people in the colony. Her work shows how the Inquisition reinforced the view held in Europe (particularly Portugal) that the colony was a purgatory where those who had sinned were exiled, a place where the Devil had a wide range of opportunities. Her focus on the three centuries of the colonial period, the multiple regions in Brazil, and the Indian, African, and Portuguese traditions of magic, witchcraft, and healing, make the book comprehensive in scope.

Stuart Schwartz of Yale University says, "It is arguably the best book of this genre about Latin America...all in all, a wonderful book." Alida Metcalf of Trinity University, San Antonio, says, "This book is a major contribution to the field of Brazilian history...the first serious study of popular religion in colonial Brazil...Mello e Souza is a wonderful writer."

Laura de Mello e Souza is Professor of History at the Universidade de São Paulo. Diane Grosklaus Whitty is a freelance translator specializing in Brazilian works.
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Title:The Devil and the Land of the Holy Cross: Witchcraft, Slavery, and Popular Religion in Colonial…Format:PaperbackDimensions:374 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:February 1, 2004Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292702361

ISBN - 13:9780292702363

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Table of Contents

  • Preface to the English Edition
  • Preface to the First Edition
  • Acknowledgments
  • Translator's Note
  • Part I. A Wealth of Impieties: The Colony's Lot
    • 1. The New World between God and the Devil
    • 2. Popular Religiosity in the Colony
  • Part II. Sorcery, Magical Practices, and Daily Life
    • 3. Material Survival
    • 4. The Onset of Conflict
    • 5. Maintaining Bonds of Affection
    • 6. Communicating with the Supernatural
  • Part III. Culture, Imagination, and Everyday Life
    • 7. Intertwined Discourses
    • 8. Remarkable Stories: Where Their Roads Led
    • Conclusion. Sabbats and Calundus
  • Appendix: Tables
  • Notes
  • Glossary
  • Sources and Bibliography
  • Index