Indigenous Religions

Thomas Aquinas’s Body-Soul Dualism And The Hierarchy Of Human Dignity in Brazil – Theological Origins Of A Nation’s Self-Understanding, Part 1 (Vinicius Marinho)

The following is the first of a three-part series.

Brazil: One Soul with Varied Degrees of Human Dignity

“Manda quem pode, obedece quem tem juízo”[1] is an old Brazilian proverb. It synthetizes, in two clauses, the dominant value of the Brazilian political culture: hierarchy. I claim that the Brazilian dominant cultural conception of human dignity is hierarchical because it is premised on the Thomist dualist view of the human person. Specifically, I argue that the Brazilian people has a hierarchical self-understanding because dignity is grounded in the soul.

People believe the soul has one nature but varied “modes of existence,” each with a different value. But Brazilians also believe in a Biblical notion of the human being. People are formed in relationships and have the capacity for overcoming social limitations, i.e., humans have agency. Thomas’s embrace of Aristotle’s dualism contrasts with the Biblical notion, in which body and soul are united. While Brazilian culture has elements from the Thomist and the biblical traditions, Thomas’s ontotheological theory of the person determines the grounds of dignity, which is the soul. Not only the soul is superior to the body, but the soul’s disembodied life is metaphysically superior to its embodied existence. As the body obeys the soul, so the inferior obeys the superior. Compared and calculated, unchosen and undeserved social factors decide one’s actual level of dignity and dictate what is personhood.

I conclude that body-soul dualism and hierarchical relations forge a hierarchical human person and dignity. Because it is grounded in the soul, human dignity is the value a person has according to the person’s social condition. And the person is a value unit within hierarchical relations. People exist to one another in hierarchical ways because the human soul has one nature but varied modes of existence, each with a specific degree of dignity. Consequently, Brazilians believe that God wills and nature shows that human societies ought to live hierarchically. Thus, dualism also foregrounds a flawed conception of the common good. The national unity demands a hierarchy of dignity which prompts the maximization of inequality. Brazil is a “unity-in-hierarchy.”[2]

To ask what is the dignity of the human person is to ask three questions: “What is human dignity? What is the human person? And why do persons have human dignity?” The third question directs the entire inquiry because it constitutes the others. There is no human dignity without personhood and no person without human dignity. Dignity, personhood, and the rationale for dignity interact to sketch a tentative definition within a minimally cohesive cultural environment.

In this essay, the Brazilian “people” and “culture” compose such a nominally shared semantic environment.[3] “The people” serves the analytical function of connecting the political and cultural origins of dignity in Brazil.[4] And “culture” represents the shared environment in which moral, social, and political interactions take place. Culture mediates all contacts through institutes, and these organize life affairs. My argument evolves from a macro to a micro analysis of dignity in culture and theology. The first section presents three definitions of the Brazilian people as a “unity-in hierarchy.” The second contrasts two notions of personhood that predominate in Brazilian culture. Thomas’s idea that the soul has one nature but two modes of existence connects the national self-understanding to a dualist view of personhood.

Each theological definition of the people discussed in the first section presents a hierarchical political project. They show that hierarchy is a founding cultural value and that it projects intrinsically unequal institutes. The three definitions of Brazil also define dignity, through “naturalistic” comparisons among human “modes of existence.” The first one is the Jesuit deployment of the Thomist natural-law institute of dominium to justify and normalize the belief that the Indigenous peoples had the “option” to sell their freedom and were in a state of nature.

The second case is ecclesial. Brazil’s colonial Church was Roman in structure and Thomist-Scholastic in doctrine. It apportioned varied degrees of dignity based on the clergy’s sacra potesta and the official mater et magistra attitude. The Jesuit Ratio Studiorum was a remarkable example of how doctrine reinforced the pyramidical organization. The third definition is an anti-Thomist response. The sociologist Gilberto Freyre popularized the idea that Brazil originates from harmonious racial mixtures, so the Thomist “inflexibility” could not have worked there. But while the “racial democracy myth” tells a redemptive narrative of mixture, it veils Brazil’s sweeping socioeconomic and racial disparities.

The second section contrasts two views of personhood that are present in Brazilian culture. One view draws from the theological anthropologies of Ivone Gebara and Leonardo Boff. Together, they suggest that humans are hearer of God (relational) and capable of overcoming social limitations (agents) through an attitude of love. The other view is Thomas Aquinas’s dualist concept. Here, the superior ontological status of the soul impart the person and human dignity. The soul’s disembodied existence is superior because it is supernatural. Because personhood is relational and dignity is grounded in the soul, everybody has a human dignity but not to the same degree.

In the first section, I deploy analytical tools from Marilena Chaui’s sociology of knowledge and Leonardo Boff’s ecclesiology. Chaui’s systematic critique of Brazil’s authoritarian culture derives from the Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza’s “theological-political power.”[5] Brazil’s authoritarian culture is distinctly hierarchical because it develops from a classical view of “nature.” Boff’s critical ecclesiology complements Chaui’s method. Specifically, he compares two models of church to analyze the conceptual and practical apparatus of the ecclesial hierarchy. In the second section, Ivone Gebara’s and Boff’s non-oppositional body-soul dialects and their view of the human-divine dialogue facilitate my comparison of two models of personhood. The body and the soul relate horizontally because they form the indissoluble locusof divine presence.Human Weight in a Naturalist Culture

Brazilian children learn early on that “Brazil is a gift of God and nature.”[6] Since 1834, the topics of nature and nation have been merged in the public school’s curriculum.[7] Children learn to feel proud of Brazil while learning about the country’s natural riches. They hear that God has spared their land from natural catastrophes and blessed it with unsurpassed natural abundance. The national anthem boasts that Brazil is a “giant by nature.”[8] In 1997, a nationwide poll indicated that “nature” is the most common reason Brazilians feel proud of being Brazilians.[9]
Many Brazilians also think of themselves as a “natural” people. An example is Emiliano Di Cavalcanti’s paintings Nú Deitado.[10] It accommodates the curvy body of a Brazilian mulata (Black woman) within the perspective of a chain of mountains. Her body and the mountains have similar shapes, suggesting the intimate connection between the country’s topography and the woman’s body. Martinho da Vila’s latest CD shows on the cover Rio’s most iconic mountains, the Sugarloaf and the Corcovado, but they are painted to suggest a mulata’s body.[11] Black Brazilian women are proud of themselves, but not because their bodies supposedly resemble the country’s topography. Superbia is an expression of self-esteem.[12] It implies an intimate bond to something that genuinely represents the person.

Brazil’s most revered writer, the mulato (Black man) Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, never understood how a people could be proud of something it had not created. The Amazon and the Pantanal were “already there.” To him, the pays féerique sentiment belittles the human hand in a people’s history.[13] A century later, the writer Nelson Rodrigues endorsed de Assis’s critique by ironically defining Brazil as a landscape.[14] More recently, the literary scholar Antônio Cândido has suggested that two words synthetize how Brazil understands itself—“law” and (natural) “evolution.”[15]

The thrust of their critique is the misuse of nature as a constituent of the people’s national identification. Naturalism can diminish or occlude human accomplishment. Understandably, this has had an impact on the country’s view of dignity. In the eighteenth century, jurists had a dominant role in defining the state and economic organization. In the second half of the nineteenth century, evolutionist biologists took over. The so-called “natural” truths of modern society, such as order, hierarchy, and race, interacted with juridical theories to formulate new national ideologies.[16] For Cândido, the incoming social-biological speculations were intended to minimize the national tensions between the victims of colonization and slavery and the desire for progress.[17]

Nature is relevant in definitions of dignity for two reasons. One is the differentiation between human and other natural beings. The other is the human capacity for self-transcendence. They go hand-in-hand for those who believe that some intrinsic aspect of the human life, existence, or being elevates all of humanity. No less frequently, being superior assumes the capacity to overcome social limitations. Modernity depicts humans as agents of improvement or progress. This implies the potential to revert material and psychological constraints through self-determination, morality, the intellect, etc. Though self-transcendence does not necessarily presume a supernatural power, it does suggest that humanity is an “open” project.[18]

There are multiple valid representations of the (open) human person, purpose, and dignity. Indeed, theologians and humanists attach different meanings to dignity according to its source. Kant thought it was an intrinsic value and a human constituent.[19] Pico thought it was the absolute value of a self-defining being.[20] But dignity is first a cultural precept and only second a law-like principle. On the “ground,” it refuses uniformity and absoluteness.[21] For example, South Africans and Germans perceive the content and contours of dignity differently, even though it is the constitutional meta-principle of both countries.[22]

Since dignity is a variable, it can be compared. Brazilian culture defines dignity in the ambiguity of natural difference and similitude. The dignity of some persons is grounded in commonalities between nature and humanity. The dignity of others emanates from “self-evident” differences between human and non-human beings. Certain people resemble non-human natural beings more than do others because some are deemed to be more capable of overcoming limitations. Brazilians perceive dignity comparatively, like Thomas, Pico, and Kant do. But they also measure dignity whereby interpersonal relations. Comparisons are ambiguous and shift according to the person’s social “mode of existence.” I now present three conceptions of dignity that derive from “natural” comparisons. They show that dignity is the value a person has according to the person’s social “mode of existence.”

The Jesuit Endeavor to Define the Brazilian Soul with Thomas Aquinas’s Natural Law: The State of Nature and Voluntary Servitude of the Indigenous Peoples

The state of nature is a theological construct which justifies slavery and postulates that Indigenous people have an inferior human status. The first Jesuit Providential of Brazil, Manuel da Nóbrega, affirmed that the Indigenous souls had the human faculties of understanding, memory, and will[23] but lacked faith in a disembodied and supreme sovereign. Their “natural” mode of existence indicated to him that their souls were good, but their ways were primitive. Eventually, the state of nature became an obstacle to conversion.

As Nóbrega said, a people without “faith, law, and king” did not know how to obey God. And a forced conversion is void in Canon Law. So the Jesuits sought an alternative justification for Indigenous slavery in the institute of voluntary servitude. They debated the transference of dominium in Thomas’s natural law, whence it is “rational” and lawfully to “sell” one’s own freedom in extraordinary situations. The hinging question of the debate was how much worthwhile were the Indigenous souls for European Christians.

“All is worthwhile if thesoul is not small.” [24] The great Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa at once glorifies and bemoans the seafaring voyages. Portugal could have been the greatest empire, even though the seafaring explorations were a heavy burden. “Was it worthwhile?,” Pessoa asks. Yes, he insisted, “all is worthwhile if the soul is not small.” Only an extraordinary soul could cross the Atlantic, dominate other peoples, and find a New World.

The New World was “new” because it was “original,” in the biblical sense. It was found, not discovered. The explorers thought they had found the Edenic Paradise.[25] The New World invasion signified to the voyager the opportunity to return to the “original” human nature. The navigator’s monocular showed flabbergasting vegetation, sealike rivers, exuberant beasts, pure air, and an “eternal Spring.”[26] The Paradise which theologians had always visualized in the Bible sea explorers actually saw through their physical retinas.

Brazil was the original earthly topos of the heavenly Garden also because it hosted an innocent people. The explorers immediately compared the Indigenous innocence to Adam’s and Eve’s.[27] Nóbrega even suspected that the absence of private property and their material generosity was a sign of obedience to natural law.[28] In a time when the Iberian nations were so enticed by the lofty aspirations of the Renaissance, the conquest of a pristine land signified nothing short of a ticket to human rebirth and signalized the imminence of the New Millennium.[29]

The “primitive state” of Brazil’s original souls reassured the Edenic perception of Brazil. A debate ensued on the Aristotelean belief that tropical lands are inhospitable for the soul.[30] Fernandes Tomás challenged the nobility of the land by pointing to the primitivity of its beings, who were “wild” and living on “a land of monkeys, blacks, and snakes.”[31] Others, like Vicente de Salvador, insisted that the Indigenous “primitivity” reiterates the Edenic hypothesis.[32] The “Cantino Planisphere” of 1502[33] is a stronger example of the winning argument. The Planisphere acknowledges the South American continent but effaces its peoples. The Natives were virtually indistinguishable from the other beings of the land. Nóbrega well summarized the conflation: “this land is at once our enterprise and the World’s foremost Pagan.”[34]

The Indigenous primitivity also helped them explain why God had sent the Portuguese caravels to Paradise. Caminha’s first letter narrates that immediately after the first mass in Bahia, a priest began explaining the significance of the Portuguese presence among the Native. God had a magnanimous plan for the Christians to save their souls. An innocent and primitive people, Caminha ruminates, would easily become Christian because they lack a faith.

Missionaries heightened the Indigenous innocence at the expense of their lack of faith. Although the Portuguese did not speak Tupi, they could somehow tell the Tupian peoples lacked faith.[35] By 1500, faith had nothing to do with some inward “feeling.” Rather, faith was a totalizing rule with comprehensive social and political scopes, and reinforced from above.[36] To the Jesuits, faith implied the dominium of a people by the representatives of a super-natural sovereign. The Indigenous lack of faith implied a lack of law and king because a faith entails a political-juridical order.

It was no coincidence that Nóbrega, the Jesuit Provincial for Brazil, arrived there in 1559 together with the first appointed governor-general, Tomé de Souza. Their civilizing mission was simultaneously spiritual and political.[37] Nóbrega conceptualized “primitivity” with the threefold lack.[38] He thought the greatest obstacle to conversion was not an opposed doctrine, but its absence, i.e., the state of nature.[39] Above all, it was difficult to convert a people who did not believe in anything like a supreme God.

For example, the Tupinambá people lacked “faith” because they could not understand, even less obey, a disembodied deity.[40] Their primitivity was assumed from their belief that deities are consubstantial with humans.[41] The Jesuits thought the Tupinambá appreciated the Eucharist because they practiced cannibalism and that they accepted the immortality of the soul because they believed that the soul reincarnates. But the Tupinambá did not know how to obey a soul whom they could not eat, smell, hear, touch, and see. How could a disembodied soul exist?

The Jesuits saw in the Indigenous threefold lack two signs of the statu innocentiae.[42] In the natural law, the state of nature is the combination of a primitive existence and a situation of moral incorruptibility. Primitive people are prima facie incorruptible because they lack a conscience. Thomas Aquinas defined “conscience” as the application of knowledge to human action.[43] He classified this kind of knowledge as “synderesis,” the natural inclination of the soul by which we understand the natural rules of behavior. “Always do good,” for example, is a basic principle of synderesis. The regular conscience applies such basic rules to concrete instances.

The Jesuits adopted Thomas’s premise to claim the Indigenous lacked conscience but not synderesis. They claimed that the Indigenous knew what is fundamentally good but often miscomprehended right conduct according to the good. As Thomas wrote, “it is not the universal but only the evaluation of the sensible which is not so excellent.”[44] Again, the Native had an abridged capacity to evaluate the sensible and act according to the good because they lacked a faith. Since they cannot assess the right conduct, they are “innocent,” i.e., cannot be fully responsible for their conduct.

But their statu innocentiae became an obstacle to conversion. Initially, missionaries “evangelized” by force. José de Anchieta for example advocated conversion under “the sword and the iron bar.”[45] Hypothetically, the state of nature would suggest that innocent souls shall voluntarily submit to those living by the Christian faith. After all, Christians had been encumbered with a duty to save the gentiles and such duty entails the power of dominium. But a forceful conversion violates the free will and is therefore null in the Canon Law.

To solve the impasse, some Jesuits raised the Thomist notion of voluntary servitude. Thomas accepted only two lawful ways for a person to obtain dominium over another: by winning a just war and by consent. The transference of the human dominium became the fulcrum of the Jesuitical debates. A set of laws called Monitoria specified in the 1560s that a person could lawfully gain dominium over another when the latter is a just war captive, or by consent, in exceptional cases of “extreme necessity.”

The Jesuits discussed whether the Portuguese had won a just war. Thomas follows the ius gentium, on the matter. A captive is not naturally a slave, but can become one by virtue of the winner’s natural right[46] to enslave the conquered. To be considered “just,” a war must ensue from a prior offense, include a declaration by a just authority, and have a just cause.[47]

Following Thomas, da Nóbrega refuted the automatic dominium of the Portuguese over the Indigenous. He could not find in the Portuguese invasion the three just war prerequisites. He also rejected the Aristotelean natura servi, i.e., the belief that those living in a state of nature are natural slaves.[48] He conceded that the Indigenous primitive mode of existence violates the law, but disproved of their condemnation for ignoring it. Listening to Thomas, he reasoned that it would be unfair to punish the Natives for not following a faith which was not in their “conscience.”[49] Moreover, it was a contradiction to say that those in the state of nature were natural slaves. After all, Adam and Eve were free.

Consent is the other way a person can lawfully gain dominium over somebody. Francisco de Vitoria’s Relectio De Indis (1539) proposes that the Spanish could legitimately occupy the New World subject to Indigenous consent.[50] It is telling that Vitoria debates the consent for domination in terms of land-grabbing.[51] At the basis of the institute of dominium rests the idea of control, whether over a person or a thing. Dominium was in Roman Law the absolute ownership of corporeal property by a person, subject only to statal power and inclusive of the private rights to use, enjoy, take profit therefrom, and dispose.

Roman citizens displayed these privileges by laying a hand (manus) over their property. Hence the etymology of “manumission” (manumittere). In Old English, mund meant hand and guardianship. Thomas accepted two exceptions to private dominium: the natural right to appropriate the things that are essential for life (dominium utile), and the right of the superior to control the inferior for the latter’s benefit.[52] The right to steal is condoned when it restores the human natural condition because in the state of nature all have the means for survival.[53]

The kind of dominium that the superior person exercises over the inferior is different but conversant with the dominium of things. Parental and proprietary forms of dominium have similar effects. The difference is that children and other “inferior” persons have freedom, though only to a limited degree. Freedom is an inalienable right. The law can easily justify control over things but not so much over a free being.

The Jesuits then asked whether Indigenous persons could sell their share of the divine freedom. Ultimately, a wager on the automatic dominium hypothesis would preclude all conversions because to be human is to be free and only humans can be converted. To convert the Indigenous, the Jesuits had to acknowledge their freedom. But there was, some argued, a leeway for the joint application of the two kinds of dominion. Albeit different in kind, the dominium over things and over persons have similar practical effects.

The most remarkable similitude is in the power of the Roman father to sell his children. In some situations necessity could abate freedom and children function as though they were property for legal purposes. Also exceptionally, someone may steal the means for personal subsistence. The problem, then, was to arbitrate what needs constitute such an “extreme necessity.”

Caxa argued that the Indigenous were sufficiently free to sell their freedom in any case. His rationale was that Thomas connected the two exceptional kinds of dominium transference. Nóbrega, however, insisted on the stricto sensu interpretation of “extreme necessity” and that it should be made evident in each case.[54] Extreme necessity implies a state of severe poverty or famine, leaving a father with no alternative but to sell his children.[55] For the Jesuits on both sides, the exceptionality which permits the violation of private property also permits the violation of human freedom: survival.

Caxa intentionally departed from Thomas. He argued that for the Indigenous to be truly free, they had to have the freedom to sell themselves.[56] For Caxa, individuals have the direct dominium of their natural freedom. Consequently, in the state of nature the institutes of dominium and libertas merge.Yet Caxa’s conflation of freedom and dominium transforms freedom into a tradeable object and misses a legal nuance: that the right to appropriate goods in extreme necessity does not include the right to sell those goods. The jeopardized can appropriate goods to satisfy their subsistence only, just as the father can relinquish his parental power only to keep his children breathing.

Nóbrega’s response uses a Thomist solution. He ponders that the consent to sell one’s personal freedom is only lawful when rational. The natural law protects the sale of freedom because it is rational to do whatever necessary to keep oneself alive.[57] Thomas and Nóbrega place reason above freedom. For them, reason is inalienable by divine design and freedom is inalienable by the human reason. The first is unexceptionable, the second is not. And reason is more inalienable than freedom. While the sale of reason is unacceptable, the sale of freedom is exceptional. Nóbrega concludes that the rational consent to enslavement was the only way the Portuguese could lawfully gain control of the Indigenous.[58]

In fact, Nóbrega decrees the right to sell one’s own freedom, even when the “buyer” is the one who poses the life-threatening situation that qualifies the sale as rational. For him and for Thomas, it is more rational to submit than resist.  The state of nature and the voluntary servitude established in Brazil a type of legal relationship based on dominium. They forcefully “united” people in the Christian faith through hierarchy. The Indigenous souls are human but had to overcome their state of nature by converting to a supposedly superior mode of existence. Alternatively, they could consent to sell their freedom in order to survive—only without dignity. The Indigenous soul was deemed worthwhile only insofar as it could serve the Christian.

Vinicius Marinho is a PhD student at the University of Chicago. He specializes in economic and racial inequality, production, liberation theology, and critical legal studies.


[1] “The powerful commands, the prudent obeys.”

[2] My own expression.

[3] Despite our fragmented reality. David Tracy, Fragments: The Existential Situation of Our Time: Selected Essays vol. 1 (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2020); Paul Mendes-Flohr, Cultural Disjunctions: Post-Traditional Jewish Identities (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2021).

[4] I assume the “Brazilian people” is a demosthat assumes an ethnos. Cicero, De Re Publica Frontonis, 1. 25, 62, 44; Étienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein, Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities 2nd ed. (London: Verso, 2010).

[5] Marilena de Souza Chaui, Manifestações Ideológicas do Autoritarismo Brasileiro 2nd ed. (São Paulo, Brazil: Perseu Abramo, 2013).

[6] Marilena de Souza Chaui, Brasil: Mito Fundador e Sociedade Autoritária (São Paulo, Brazil: Perseu Abramo, 2000), 8.

[7] Niemeyer Bellegarde’s Resumo da História do Brasil was the official textbook. José Murilo de Carvalho, “O Motivo Edênico no Imaginário Social Brasileiro,” Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais 13, n. 38 (1998).

[8] An adaptation of Gonçalves Dias’s “Canção do Exílio.”

[9] de Carvalho, “O Motivo Edênico.”

[10] Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, Nu Deitado, 1930-1935, wood, Museus Castro Maia, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

[11] Martinho da Vila, Rio: Só Vendo a Vista,(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, November, 2020),

[12] Baruch Spinoza, Ethics (London: J. M. Dent and Sons, 1955) 3.26; 102; Avishai Margalit, The Decent Society (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), 51.

[13] Machado de Assis, A Semana, August, 20, 1893.

[14] Nelson Rodrigues, A Cabra Vadia: Novas Confissões (São Paulo, Brazil: Cia das Letras, 1997).

[15] Antônio Cândido, “A Sociologia no Brasil,” Tempo Social: Revista de Sociologia da USP 18, n. 1 (2006): 271–301.

[16] For example, jusnaturalismo and juspositivismo.

[17] Cândido, “A Sociologia no Brasil.”

[18] Leonardo Boff, Tempo de Transcendência: O Ser Humano Como um Projeto Infinito (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Sextante, 2000), 37.

[19] Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998) 43; 4:436.

[20] Giovanni Pico della Miradola, On The Dignity of Man (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1965).

[21] Elsa Tamez et al., The Discourse of Human Dignity (London: Concilium-SCM Press, 2003/2); Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Se Deus Fosse um Ativista dos Direitos Humanos (São Paulo, Brazil: Cortez, 2013).

[22] Drucilla Cornell, Law and Revolution in South Africa Ubuntu, Dignity, and the Struggle for Constitutional Transformation (New York: Fordham, 2014); Michael Rosen, Dignity: Its History and Meaning (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012).

[23] Manuel da Nóbrega, “Diálogo Sobre a Conversão do Gentio”in Cartas dos Primeiros Jesuítas do Brasil, ed. Serafim Leite(São Paulo, Brazil: Comissão do IV Centenário da Cidade de São Paulo, 1954), 332.

[24] Fernando Pessoa, “Mar Português” in Mensagens (Lisbon, Portugal: Antonio Maria Pereira, 1934).

[25] Antônio Cândido, Formação da Literatura Brasileira, 1750–1836 vol. 1, 9th ed. (Belo Horizonte: Itatiaia, 1975),ácios%20e%20Introdução.pdf; Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, A Visão do Paraíso: Os Motivos Edênicos no Descobrimento e Colonização do Brasil 2nd ed. (São Paulo, Brazil: EDUSP, 1969).

[26] Over the centuries, the Edenic idea gained traction in the writings of Magalhães Gandavo, Rocha Pita, Sílvio Romero, Olavo Bilac, Manoel Bomfim, Afrânio Peixoto, and Afonso Celso.

[27] “A Carta de Pero Vaz de Caminha,”; Simão de Vasconcelos, Crônica da Companhia de Jesus do Estado do Brasil (Lisbon, Portugal: Henrique Valente de Oliveira, 1663); Amerigo Vespucci, “Carta a Lorenzo di Médici, 1501” in Luis Nicolaud’Olwer, Cronistas de las Culturas Precomlobianas (Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1963), 542.

[28] da Nóbrega, “Diálogo,” 100; 344–45.

[29] Boff, América Latina, 12; Chauí, Brasil, 46.

[30] Vicente do Salvador, História do Brazil: 1500-1627  7 ed. (São Paulo, Brazil: Itatiaia/EDUSP, 1982), 61-62.

[31] Manuel Fernandes Tomás, Reflexões Sobre a Necessidade de Promover a União dos Estados de Que Consta O Reino-Unido de Portugal, Brazil, e Algarve nas Quatro Partes Do Mundo, (Lisbon, Portugal: Antonio Rodrigues Galhardo, 1822), 467.

[32] do Salvador, História do Brasil, 61–62.

[33] Cantino Planisphere, Biblioteca Estense, Modena, Italy,

[34] da Nóbrega, Cartas do Brasil (São Paulo, Brazil: EDUSP, 1988), 179.

[35] de Holanda, A Visão do Paraíso, 181.

[36] Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, A Inconstância da Alma Selvagem (São Paulo, Brazil: Cosac y Naify, 2002). De Acosta’s classification confirms the idea. José de Acosta, De Procuranda Indorum Salute: Pacificacion y Colonizacion, vol. 2 (Madrid, Spain: CSIC, 1984), 108.

[37] José de Anchieta, “Cartas,” in Obras Completas,ed. Hélio Viotti (São Paulo, Brazil: Loyola, 1984),2.

[38] da Nóbrega, “Diálogo,” 320.

[39] Ibid.,328.

[40] Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, “O Mármore e a Murta: Sobre a Inconstância da Alma Selvagem” Revista de Antropologia 35 (1992): 21-74.

[41] de Castro, A Inconstância, 30.

[42] Chaui, Brasil, 63.

[43] Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, 1.2.1.

[44] Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, 7.3.1352.

[45] de Anchieta, “Cartas,” 197.

[46] Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 2.2.57; 3.2; Digest of Justinian,1.5.4.

[47] Aquinas, Ibid.

[48] Juan Gines de Sepúlveda, Democrates Segundo, o De La Justas Causas de la Guerra Contra los Indios trans. Angel Losada (Madrid, Spain: CSIC, 1984); Anthony Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 27.

[49] Simão de Vasconcellos, Notícias Curiosas e Necessárias das Cousas do Brasil (Lisbon, Portugal: Ioam da Costa, 1668), 132.

[50] Luis N. Rivera Pagán, Evangelización y Violencia: La Conquista de América (San Juan, Puerto Rico: CEMI, 1991), 82; Francisco de Victoria, Relectio De Indis, J.M.P. Prendes and L. Perena eds. (Madrid: CSIC, 1984), 76-99.

[51] Francisco de Vitoria, On Homicide & Commentary on Summa Theologiae IIa-IIae Q. 64 trans. John P. Doyle (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 1997), 160.

[52] Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 1.2.94, a5.

[53] Ibid.,2.2.66, a7.

[54] Manuel da Nóbrega, “Se o Pai Pode Vender a Seu Filho e se Hum se Pode Vender a Si Mesmo,” in Serafim Leite, Cartas do Brasil, 391–401.

[55] William Warwick Buckland, The Roman Law of Slavery: The Condition of Slave in Private Law from Augustus to Justinian (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1970), 402.

[56] Da Nóbrega, “Se o Pai,” 392.

[57] Ibid., 406.

[58] Ibid., 407.

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