This book examines the nature of messianic movements by studying a specific case history. Carole Myscovski argues that underlying any single messianic movement is a messianic tradition that draws together messianic and related religious beliefs, rituals, and social structures. She traces the Luso-Brazilian messianic tradition from its origins in sixteenth-century Portugal to its flowering in colonial Brazil to its expression in three nineteenth-century messianic movements. Challenging sociopolitical and psychological analyses that reduce religious activity to proto-nationalism or psychosis, Myscofski establishes a historical model for investigating messianic movements in general, while providing new information about a little known Brazilian religious tradition.
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