Teixeira Pinto, Bento

views updated


TEIXEIRA PINTO, BENTO (c. 1545–1600), Portuguese Marrano author and martyr. The son of a New *Christian, Manoel Alvares de Barros, Teixeira Pinto was born in Oporto and educated at a Jesuit college. He evidently left Portugal as a youth and spent about 30 years in Brazil, where he became a teacher. In 1565 he accompanied Jorge de Albuquerque Coelho, the governor of Pernambuco (Recife) on a voyage to Lisbon in the course of which the two men were shipwrecked. This experience is described in Teixeira Pinto's Relaçâo do naufrágio… (1601), which was later republished in the História Trágico-Marítima, 2 (1736), and again in 1872. From 1584 he lived in Ilheús, Bahia. Teixeira Pinto was first denounced to the Inquisition in 1591–92 and again in January 1594, the charges including Judaizing and possessing of a copy of the pastoral novel Diana by the Converso author Jorge de Montemayor (see *Spanish and Portuguese Literature). After his arrest in August 1595, Teixeira Pinto was sent from Brazil to Lisbon. He appeared at an auto-da-fé in 1599 and died at the hands of the Inquisition the following year.

Teixeira Pinto is best known for his epic poem glorifying the city of Pernambuco, Prosopopéa (1601; ed. A. Peixoto, 1923). Though clearly influenced by the Portuguese poet Camões, it was the first literary work of note to be written in Brazil and was dedicated to Teixeiro Pinto's old traveling companion, the governor of Recife. Printed at the end of this volume is the emblem of a phoenix and a telling quotation from Song of Songs 8:6. The phoenix arising from its own ashes was the symbol of the Portuguese synagogue Neveh Shalom in Amsterdam, and its use in this book, published in Lisbon a year after the writer's death, would seem to have been intended as a gesture of defiant mockery of the Inquisition. Teixeira Pinto has been falsely credited with the authorship of the Diálogos das Grandezas do Brasil, which was probably the work of his contemporary and fellow-Marrano, Ambrósio Fernandes *Brandão.


A. Wiznitzer, Jews in Colonial Brazil (1960), 20, 25, 28–32.

[Godfrey Edmond Silverman]