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Confession, Conversion, and Reciprocity in Early Tagalog Colonial Society

  • Vicente L. Rafael (a1)

If one were a Tagalog convert to Christianity in the seventeenth or early eighteenth century, one would have probably been compelled to go to confession at least once a year. Confronting the Spanish priest, one would be subjected to his anxious probing in the vernacular as he proceeded through a checklist of possible transgressions against each of the Ten Commandments. Such checklists in the local language, called confessionarios, were common throughout the colonial period. Compiled by missionaries skilled in the Tagalog, they were designed to serve as mnemonic devices to aid Spanish clerics in eliciting the confessions of their native flock.

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Charles Kaut , “Utang na Loob: A System of Contractual Obligations among the Tagalogs,” Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 17:3 (1969), 256–72

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Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
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