Antonio Vieira was a Jesuit born in Lisbon in 1608 who lived and worked in both Europe and Brazil in the service of the church and the Portuguese crown. His sermons are among the most renowned pieces of baroque oratory in the Portuguese language. This volume translates six of them into English, fully annotated, for the first time. Viera was an outspoken critic of both religious and political practices and institutions. He defended the Brazilian Indians from the
abuses of colonists, the New Christians from the persecution of the Inquisition, and the poor and vulnerable in general from the oppression of the powerful. He was both a man of words and a man of action, a prolific writer and a tireless diplomat.
These texts offer insight into Vieira's visionary thought on social and spiritual matters. In the Sermon for the Success of Portuguese Arms against the Dutch, Vieira inveighs against God for His apparent abandonment of the Portuguese and begs for divine intervention. His Sermon of St. Anthony is an allegory that addresses the inequities that he witnessed in Brazil. The Sexagesima Sermon parodies literary cliches from his time while prescribing a more effective, if harsher, style of
preaching. The Sermon of the Good Thief is a rebuke to the imperial officials who used their positions for personal enrichment and a warning to kings against complicity with corruption. Vieira's Sermon XXVII addresses African slaves and their Brazilian masters, attempting to comfort the first group in their
trials and to admonish the second for their brutality. Finally, the Sermon Arm tells the story of the relic of Francis Xavier's arm sent from India to Italy in 1614, and pays tribute to the obedience of Viera's Jesuit predecessor.