Jesuit Mathematical Practice in Portugal, 1540–1759

  • Henrique Leitão
Part of the Archimedes book series (ARIM, volume 6)


Divine providence — as a contemporary Jesuit would undoubtedly have called it — or the more prosaic historical coincidence caused the Society of Jesus to be founded at the height of Portuguese and Iberian overseas expansion. And while Ignatius Loyola’s original wish to serve God and spread Christianity to Jerusalem had been both the dream and (mythical) locus of consummation, as things turned out “the Indies” became their quotidian embodiment.


Eighteenth Century Seventeenth Century Sixteenth Century Mathematical Practice Competent Teacher 
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  1. 1.
    Easily accessible to English-speaking readers are the somewhat dated, but still balanced, works by Charles R. Boxer: The Portuguese Seaborne Empire, 1415–1825 (London, 1969); The Golden Age of Brazil, 1695–1750 (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1969); The Christian Century in Japan, 1549–1650 (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1967). See also Bailey W. Diffie and George D. Winnius, Foundations of the Portuguese Empire, 1415–1580 (Minneapolis, 1977); A. J. R. Russell-Wood, A World on the Move: The Portuguese in Africa, Asia, and America, 1415–1808 (Manchester, 1992); Sanjay Subrahmanyam, The Portuguese Empire in Asia, 1500–1700 (London, 1993).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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  3. 3.
    The fundamental study of the Portuguese Assistancy, although dated and sometimes apologetic, is Francisco Rodrigues’ massive História da Companhia de Jesus na Assistência de Portugal, 7 vols. (Porto, 1931–1950). Equally important is Serafim Leite’s monumental História da Companhia de Jesus no Brasil, 10 vols. (Rio de Janeiro, 1938–1950). For all their deficiencies these two works have not been superseded. The recent work by Dauril Alden, The Making of an Enterprise: The Society of Jesus in Portugal, Its Empire, and Beyond, 1540–1750 (Stanford, 1996), includes much new information but is weak on the cultural dimension. For the educational and cultural aspects, Francisco Rodrigues S.J., A Formaçdo Intellectual do Jesuíta. Leis e Factos (Porto, 1917) is still useful, while João Pereira Gomes’ Os Professores de Filosofia da Universidade de Évora (Évora, 1960) is a mine of information and an excellent guide to primary sources.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See, for example, Teófilo Braga, História da Universidade de Coimbra, 4 vols. (Lisbon, 1892–1902). The most influential synthesis of the history of mathematics in Portugal, by Francisco Gomes Teixeira, História das Matemáticas em Portugal (Lisbon, 1934), is also violently anti-Jesuit. Subsequent historiography has moderated many of these evaluations, but there is still much investigation to be carried out before a more balanced iudgement can be made.Google Scholar
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  6. 6.
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    Roman Malek (ed.), Western Learning and Christianity in China. The Contribution and Impact of Johann Adam Schall von Bell, SJ (1592–1666), 2 vols. (Nettetal, 1999). However, speaking from the more restricted point of view of the Portuguese Jesuits in China, it is necessary to emphasize that much is still to be studied and understood.Google Scholar
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    Most scholars accept 1288 as the year that the University in Lisbon, the first in Portugal, was founded. See Artur Moreira de Sá, “La fondation de ĺUniversité à Lisbonne en 1288 et son role dans le developpement de la culture portugaise jusqúau milieu du XVe siècle,” Revista da Faculdade de Letras (Lisbon), 12 (1970), 29–36;Google Scholar
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  17. 13.
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  33. 28.
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  34. 29.
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  35. 30.
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  39. 34.
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  41. 36.
    The Congregation of the Oratory was founded in Rome by S. Filipe de Neri in 1565 and approved by Pope Gregory XIII in 1575. Its introduction into Portugal is due to Fr. Bartolomeu do Quental (1627–1698). For the history of this congregation in Portugal, see Eugénio dos Santos, O Oratório no Norte de Portugal (Lisbon, 1982).Google Scholar
  42. 37.
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  50. 42.
    A comprehensive study of this Jesuit is still a desideratum. A good starting point is Bernardino Ferreira Cardoso, O P. Jodo Carbone na Corte do Magnânimo. Subsídios para uma história diplomática do reinado deD.Jodo V, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Lisbon (1956).Google Scholar
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    Mostly due to G. B. Carbone. See Rómulo de Carvalho, “Portugal nos Philosophical Transactions, nos séculos XVII e XVIII,” Revista Filosófica, 15–16 (1955–56).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henrique Leitão
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LisbonPortugal

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