Jesuite missionaries in Ethiopia: their role as exorcists, healers and miracle-makers (1603-1632)
The present article focuses on certain activities engaged in by both Jesuit missionaries and Ethiopian holy men, as for example, when missionaries acted as intermediaries between God and men, conjuring evil forces, exorcising demons and performing miracles through the use of holy water, relics or images of saints. In Ethiopian society, healing was not perceived as a secular activity. As we show here, the Jesuit point of view was not so different. In the eyes of the Jesuits, the success of Catholicism in Ethiopia depended on proving not only its intellectual or political superiority but also its worldly effectiveness. In sum, the present article reveals that demonstrating their superior power was an important part of the Jesuits' attempt to win converts to Catholicism in Ethiopia during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
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