Parution : To heaven or to hell : Bartolomé de las Casas’s Confesionario

To heaven or to hell


  • Casas, Bartolomé de las (1474-1566)
  • Orique, David Thomas (1959-….)

David Thomas Orique, O.P., is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program at Providence College.


This volume is the first complete English translation and annotated study of Bartolomé de Las Casas’s important and provocative 1552 treatise commonly known as the Confesionario or Avisos y reglas. A text that generated controversy, like Las Casas’s more famous Brevísima relación, the Confesionario outlined a strikingly novel and arguably harsh use of confession for those administering the sacrament to conquistadoresencomenderos, slaveholders, settlers, and others who had harmed the indigenous people, thus using magisterial authority and jurisdictional power to promote restitution.

David Orique addresses how, from 1516 to 1547, Las Casas subscribed to and wrote about the theory and practice of the doctrine of restitution. He then presents the specific historical context of the development of the initial manuscript of the Confesionario in 1547 as Doce reglas (Twelve Rules), which later became the augmented Confesionario manuscript. Orique’s commentary on the 1552 Confesionario treatise highlights how Las Casas’s Argumento, and its approval by theologians, legitimates his work. Orique outlines the various guidelines proposed to confessors to identify, investigate, and seek restitution from offending Spaniards based on their possessions and circumstances. He also explores Las Casas’s use of the Thomistic tripartite scheme of divine, natural, and human law.

With insightful analysis and commentary accompanied by an eminently readable translation, To Heaven or to Hell will be especially useful to students and scholars of Latin American colonial history, early modern religion, and Catholic studies.


  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Las Casas’s Road Map to Temporal Justice and Eternal Life
  1. “I, Bartolomé de Las Casas or Causas . . .”:
  • An Encounter with Temporal Justice’s Rough Terrain
  • 2. “I Absolve . . .”: A First Brush with the Eternal Flames of Hell
  • 3. “I Guarantee . . .”: A Passage to Heaven or a Ticket to Hell
  • Bartolomé de Las Casas’s Confesionario: “I Mandate Justice . . .”; The Last Fork in the Road to Heaven or Hell
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Informations pratiques

  • Éditeur : University Park (Penn.) : The Pennsylvania State University Press
  • Date de parution : cop. 2018
  • Description matérielle : 1 vol. (XIV-127 p.) : ill., carte ; 22 cm
  • Collection : (Latin American originals ; 13).
  • Bibliogr. p. 109-116. Index. – Contient la traduction en anglais de : Confesionario / Bartolomé de las Casas
  • ISBN 978-0-271-08098-7 (br.) : 26,95 $


  • PARIS-BnF : 2019-204551

Citer ce billet
Olivier Jacquot (2023, 18 mai). Parution : To heaven or to hell : Bartolomé de las Casas’s Confesionario. Amoxcalli. Consulté le 21 avril 2024, à l’adresse

Olivier Jacquot

Chargé de collections : manuscrits des fonds américains, Service des manuscrits ORientaux (SOR), département des Manuscrits (MSS), Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

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