Bernabé Cobo’s Recreation of an Authentic America in Colonial Peru

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The beginning of “the” Enlightenment in the Andes is usually placed in the late eighteenth century. Its origin is tied to a Creole search for identity or considered an import from Europe. Bernabé Cobo was a Peruvian Jesuit Creole whose intellectual pursuits in the seventeenth century support the claim that an early Enlightenment in Peru originated on American grounds as Old World techniques confronted New World realities. Practices and concepts that hint at those later taken up by scholars in Peru who are commonly labeled “Enlightened” found their expression in Cobo. Cobo, rooted in a humanist and antiquarian tradition, wanted to resurrect “the” authentic America, freeing it from the physical and intellectual ballast Spaniards had brought to American soil and culture. Cobo resurrected indigenous knowledge and culture from antiquated European paradigms. He treated Andean religion in a nonconformist way and spared it—as he saw it—from Spanish misinterpretation, oblivion, and eradication.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGod in the Enlightenment
EditorsWilliam J Bulman, Robert G Ingram
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780190267070, 9780190267087
StatePublished - May 23 2016


  • Colonial Peru
  • Antiquarian
  • humanist
  • early Enlightenment
  • Jesuit
  • heresy
  • indigenous knowledge
  • Andean religion


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