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Needs of the Heart: A Social and Cultural History of Brazil's Clergy and Seminaries

Needs of the Heart: A Social and Cultural History of Brazil's Clergy and Seminaries (Hardback)

£128.00
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Synopsis

"Needs of the Heart" traces five centuries of conflict and change in the life of the clergy in Brazil, home to the world's largest and arguably the most dynamic branch of the Roman Catholic Church. Serbin examines how priests participated in the colonization of Brazil, educated the elite and poor in the faith, propped up the socioeconomic status quo, and reinforced the institution of slavery, all the while living in relative freedom from church authority. Earthy men, many flouted the rule of celibacy and became embroiled in politics. Serbin also describes the conservative modernization of the clergy, effected through seminary education, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Emphasizing discipline, the seminaries aimed to mold a new kind of priest - moral, isolated from politics and social entanglements, and, above all, obedient and celibate. However, the social, cultural, and religious upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s led students to reject the seminary. Seminarians worked to form a national union, and many left seminaries to establish greater contact with the people.

The seminarians' movement sparked the practice of liberation theology; it also reflected the quest for professional and individual development, including optional celibacy. The Church responded to its seminarians' demands for personalized education by attempting to build an ambitious program in liberation psychology, a phenomenon as important as liberation theology. Seminaries necessarily dealt in the psychology of sexuality, friendship, and other basic human tendencies - what historian Marc Bloch has called the "secret needs of the heart." Serbin argues that the "needs of the heart" were a cause of the political transformation of the Brazilian church, a transformation catalyzed by the profound identity crisis experienced by clergymen and seminarians in the 1960s and 1970s. The story of this generation of seminarians and priests is intermingled with the challenges and fears present during the repressive military dictatorship (1964 to 1985) and its aftermath. Serbin's definitive history of the Brazilian clergy combines social science research, including over one hundred interviews, with cultural and social theory and a sweeping historical perspective.

Through his history of the clergy and seminaries, he provides a history of modern Brazil itself.

History & PoliticsHistory: specific events & topicsSocial & cultural historyPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesReligion & BeliefsChristianityChristian Churches & denominationsReligion & BeliefsChristianityChristian institutions & organizations Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press Publication Date: 15/05/2006 ISBN-13: 9780268041199  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: To Order. Estimated despatch in 1-3 weeks.  

KENNETH P. SERBIN is an associate professor of history at the University of San Diego.

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