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Reviewed by:
  • San Francisco Javier entre dos continentes
  • J. Michelle Molina
San Francisco Javier entre dos continentes. Edited by Ignacio Arellano, Alejandro González Acosta, and Arnulfo Herrera. [Biblioteca Indiana, Publicaciones del Centro de Estudios Indianos, 7.] (Madrid: Iberoamericana. 2007. Pp. 269. €28,00 paperback. ISBN 978-8-484-89290-8.)

The editors of San Francisco Javier entre dos continentes have put together a very interesting collection of largely descriptive essays that provide details about the events, paintings, prayers, poems, relics, comedies, and songs that celebrated St. Francis Xavier in the early-modern Iberian world. Taken together, the collection offers impressive detail about devotion to the saint that specialists of the period can mine for indications as to how religious material culture sustained early-modern Catholicism. Scholars working on the earlymodern Jesuits will also appreciate what can be construed as a multifaceted approach to understanding Jesuit influence via the spread of material culture. Readers will come away with a more comprehensive notion of the place that Xavier occupied in the early-modern Catholic imagination. The essays also implicitly contribute to scholarship on the Jesuit desire for a universal Christian empire, for although the title makes clear that the contributors are telling a transatlantic story (“between two continents”), it is important to note that almost all essays deal with materials that illuminate how Francis Xavier, as “the Apostle of the Indies,” opened a window in the mind’s eye to Asia, animating the imaginations and the vocations of Jesuits like the German Eusebio Kino (who wanted to go to Asia but ended up in northern New Spain), as well as the devotional desires of laity who belonged to religious congregations dedicated to Xavier. The terms implicitly and can be construed signal the shortcomings of the collection. The individual essays vary in quality. Most lamentable is that, although the work is full of rich description, there is no sustained analysis either within the essays or in an introductory essay that could have tied together the various threads that beg for deeper scrutiny. [End Page 619]

J. Michelle Molina
Northwestern University


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