Skip to main content

Sepp, Anton (1655–1733)

Sepp, Anton (1655–1733)

Anton Sepp (b. 21 November 1655; d. 13 January 1733), Tyrolean-born Jesuit active in the missions of Paraguay. Of noble birth, Sepp dedicated himself early to various scholarly pursuits. For a time, he taught rhetoric at Augsburg. Then, in 1674, he entered the Society of Jesus, hoping to be sent to missionary fields in South America. Being a non-Spaniard, however, Sepp encountered many obstacles in securing permission to travel in the New World. Only in 1690 was permission finally granted.

A cloud of unwarranted suspicion followed Sepp throughout his labors. He spent forty-one years in the Jesuit reducciones of Paraguay, yet he never held high office, nor was his ordination as priest ever confirmed. Still, he had a claim on being the most important cleric in the lives of thousands of Guaraní Indians. His talent and energy seemed boundless. He founded one major mission, San Juan Bautista, in 1698. He designed buildings for several more missions, and organized workshops for the manufacture of musical instruments. He wrote poetry, sermons, and musical compositions that became well known in the region. The schools that he operated at Yapeyú gave the Indians access to many aspects of Western culture. The Indians, in turn, made the Jesuit missions so prosperous and so famous that Voltaire later described them as a sort of Utopia in his classic, Candide.

Sepp's own role in giving life to this image was revealed in a series of copious letters he wrote to European relatives. These were published in two volumes between 1696 and 1709, and still constitute a key source for historians studying the Jesuit missions. Sepp died at San José, in what later became the Argentine Misiones.

See alsoMissions: Jesuit Missions (Reducciones) .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Efraím Cardozo, Historiografía paraguaya (1959), pp. 263-270.

Philip Caraman, The Lost Paradise (1976), pp. 120-122, 134-136, 140-143, 150-155, and passim.

Additional Bibliography

Abou, Sélim. The Jesuit "Republic" of the Guaranís (1609–1768) and Its Heritage. New York: Crossroad Pub. Co., 1997.

Reiter, Frederick J. They Built Utopia: The Jesuit Missions in Paraguay, 1610–1768. Potomac: Scripta Humanistica, 1995.

Techo, Nicholás del, Manuel Serrano y Sanz, and Bartomeu Meliá. Historia de la provincia del Paraguay de la compañía de Jesús. Asunción: Centro de Estudos Paraguayas Antonio Guasch: FONDEC, 2005.

                                    Thomas L. Whigham

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Sepp, Anton (1655–1733)." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Sepp, Anton (1655–1733)." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 15, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sepp-anton-1655-1733

"Sepp, Anton (1655–1733)." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Retrieved November 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sepp-anton-1655-1733

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.