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Millennial Literatures of the Americas, 1492-2002$
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Thomas O. Beebee

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195339383

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195339383.001.0001

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The New Jerusalem: Land without Evil

The New Jerusalem: Land without Evil

(p.24) 1 The New Jerusalem: Land without Evil
Millennial Literatures of the Americas, 1492-2002

Thomas O Beebee (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Within a few decades of the Spanish and Portuguese arrival on the mainland of the Americas, a process of mutual translation of millennial expectations was at work. No better example of the need for revitalization can be found than in the defeated First Nations, whose values and beliefs had been shattered by military defeat. At the same time, simply winning the “ground war” in the New World was not sufficient for the Europeans, who still needed to account for the apparent absence of the American continents and their aboriginal cultures from the Biblical narrative. Hence, the two sides held complementary ends of the tesseron of millennial expectations. For the Indians, the eschaton was something recently experienced; for the Europeans, it was something prophesied. The process of joining the two ends of this tesseron through a mutual belief in the end of the world is reflected in the double title of this chapter, where the New Jerusalem is posited as the translation for the Guarani concept of “Land Without Evil.” This chapter follows this translation process through its many twists and turns in the early colonial period, using as sources accounts by Franciscan and Jesuit missionaries and by early Puritans.

Keywords:   Native Americans, First Nations, New Jerusalem, translation, Franciscan order, Jesuit order, Puritans

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