Constanzo Giuseppe Beschi’s (1680–1747) Literary Works in Tamil as Historical Documents

03.06.2022 15:15 - 17:00

13. Jahresvortrag des Vereins Sammlung De Nobili

Literature is to be read not merely as literature, but also as a historical document. This is especially true in the case of the Jesuit missionary Joseph Beschi who worked in Tamilakam in South India in the eighteenth century amidst a situation of political conflict. He established himself as a Tamil poet and scholar, and was honored by the erection of statues of him, by the Government of Tamilnadu at Marina beach in Chennai and by the Saiva community in their temple in Nungampākkam, Chennai.
Beschi’s poetical works in Tamil include a major epic called Tempāvani (3615 verses), with St. Joseph as hero, a semi-epic in folk style (1136 verses) on St. Quiteria, and two poems on Mother Mary (100 verses each). These are beautiful and imaginative poetical creations, but they also reflect the historical situation at Beschi’s time.
In this lecture we shall identify four major examples from his works in order to show how Beschi couches the actualities of his time in poetical words, apart from some minor historical references.

Anand Amaladass, S.J., is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Satya Nilayam Jesuit Faculty, now part of Loyola College (Autonomous), Chennai. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Vienna from 1990 onwards, and has also been teaching at the Universities of Würzburg and Frankfurt and at the Gregorian University, Rome. He was founder–editor of Satya Nilayam Chennai Journal of Intercultural Philosophy for six years, and co-editor of the Journal of Hindu–Christian Studies for twenty years.

His main research areas are Indian philosophy and aesthetics, and Jesuit history. Recent major publications include Kunst und Religion (2020), Intercultural Encounter and the Jesuit Mission in South Asia (16th–18th centuries) (2014), co-edited with Ines G. Županov, and, written together with Gudrun Löwner, Christian Themes in Indian Art (2012), a documentation of how Hindu, Muslim and Christian artists in India interpret Christian themes.

Prof. Amaladass has also translated three poetical works of Joseph Beschi from Tamil into English: Tirukkāvalūr Kalampakam – The Gift of the Virgin Conch-Shell (2018), Annai Alunkal Antāti – Mother Mary’s Song of Affliction (2018), and Kitteri Ammāl Ammānai (forthcoming in 2022).


Der Vortrag wird direkt aus Chennai in den Seminarraum übertragen. Für eine Teilnahme vor Ort melden Sie sich bitte an unter 

Die Online Teilnahme ist über folgenden Link möglich:






Verein Sammlung De Nobili - Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Indologie und Religionsforschung
Seminarraum 1 des ISTB | online: