Sacrifice and Regeneration


Sacrifice and Regeneration

Seventh-day Adventism and Religious Transformation in the Andes

Yael Mabat

318 pages
2 photographs,  6 maps, 1 table, 8 graphs, index


December 2022


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December 2022


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December 2022


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About the Book

At the dawn of the twentieth century, while Lima’s aristocrats hotly debated the future of a nation filled with “Indians,” thousands of Aymara and Quechua Indians left the pews of the Catholic Church and were baptized into Seventh-day Adventism. One of the most staggering Christian phenomena of our time, the mass conversion from Catholicism to various forms of Protestantism in Latin America was so successful that Catholic contemporaries became extremely anxious on noticing that parts of the Indigenous population in the Andean plateau had joined a Protestant church.

In Sacrifice and Regeneration Yael Mabat focuses on the extraordinary success of Seventh-day Adventism in the Andean highlands at the beginning of the twentieth century and sheds light on the historical trajectories of Protestantism in Latin America. By approaching the religious conversion among Indigenous populations in the Andes as a multifaceted and dynamic interaction between converts, missionaries, and their social settings and networks, Mabat demonstrates how the religious and spiritual needs of converts also brought salvation to the missionaries. Conversion had important ramifications on the way social, political, and economic institutions on the local and national level functioned. At the same time, socioeconomic currents had both short-term and long-term impacts on idiosyncratic religious practices and beliefs that both accelerated and impeded religious change. Mabat’s innovative historical perspective on religious transformation allows us to better comprehend the complex and often contradictory way in which Protestantism took shape in Latin America.

Author Bio

Yael Mabat is a research fellow at the Sverdlin Institute for Latin American Studies and a lecturer of history at Ben-Gurion University.


"[Sacrifice and Regeneration] is very well written and meticulous in its use of archival sources. . . . Every university library should have Sacrifice and Regeneration, and every Andes expert should buy it."—Henri Gooren, Hispanic American Historical Review

Sacrifice and Regeneration provides a novel perspective on religion, Indigenous movements, and race in Latin America more broadly, and one that is attentive to evangelism’s role in the integration and dissolution of caste systems in the first half of the twentieth century. This perspective is pathbreaking.”—Waskar Ari, author of Earth Politics: Religion, Decolonization, and Bolivia’s Indigenous Intellectuals

Sacrifice and Regeneration opens a window into global transformations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that brought together two very different groups. Yael Mabat complicates the story of colonialism, demonstrating how North American Seventh-day Adventist missionaries and Andean army veterans together transformed the political and cultural landscape in the Andean highlands.”—Joan Meznar, professor emerita of history at Eastern Connecticut State University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Part 1. Converts
1. Wars, Indians, and the Peruvian Nation
2. Army Veterans Return to the Highlands
3. Religious Conversion and Racial Regeneration in an Indian Community
4. Religious Conversion and Communal Cohesion
Part 2. Missionaries
5. Seventh-day Adventism and the Foreign Missionary Enterprise, 1850–192
6. Seventh-day Adventists and the Challenge of Modern Times
7. Everyday Sacrifices and Missionaries’ Experiences in the Andean Highlands
Part 3. The Mission
8. Building an “Indian” Mission on the Top of the Andes
9. From the Lake Titicaca “Indian Mission” to “the Lake Titicaca Mission”

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