Simão Gomes S.J. and God’s Human Avatāra: Religious language use in Sarveśvarācā Gnāna Upadeśa

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Pär Eliasson

Abstract

Sarveśvarācā Gnāna Upadeśa, written in Marathi by the Portuguese Jesuit Simão Gomes in the early 18th century, is a philosophical text, presenting and arguing for Christianity and arguing against various Hindu ideas. The text is unusual in the rich early modern Christian Marathi/Konkani literature as it was written after its 17th century peak, in Devanagari (as opposed to Roman) script, and outside the Portuguese territory of Goa in Marathi speaking Deccan. It shares some features with one particular manuscript of Thomas Stephens’ Kristapurāṇa, suggesting that Gomes’ intervention is part of the reason for some peculiarities of that better-known work. The aim of this paper is to analyse the use of Christological terminology in Sarveśvarācā Gnāna Upadeśa. I will identify probable sources of inspiration for using particular words, similes and imagery, for example Hindu sources that are recorded to have been known by Jesuits in Goa in the 17th century. I will also try to identify principles for choosing certain terms instead of others, principles that could explain for example the reference to the Holy Spirit as spīrītu sāṁtu although almost all other words for God, the Trinity and the intricacies of the doctrines of Christology are of Sanskrit origin.

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How to Cite
Eliasson, P. (2019). Simão Gomes S.J. and God’s Human Avatāra: Religious language use in Sarveśvarācā Gnāna Upadeśa. International Journal for Indian Studies, 4(1), 104-123. Retrieved from https://journals.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/Nidan/article/view/1191
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