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Geographies of Embodiment in Early Modern England$
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Mary Floyd-Wilson and Garrett A. Sullivan

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198852742

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198852742.001.0001

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Hi Mho Ji Kudd

Hi Mho Ji Kudd

The Transformation of Thomas Stephens in Goa

(p.39) 3 Hi Mho Ji Kudd
Geographies of Embodiment in Early Modern England

Jonathan Gil Harris

Oxford University Press

Harris tells the story of Father Thomas Stephens, whose interactions with the landscape, language, and food of India refashioned his English body. By unpacking the phrase ‘hi mho ji kudd’, a Konkani translation of ‘hoc est corpus meum’ (which is inscribed beneath the altar in a Jesuit church in Goa), Harris provides an account of a more worldly transformation than that offered by the Eucharist. As the author of the epic poem Kristapurana (Story of Christ), Stephens participated in the ‘Jesuit tradition of inculturation’. And yet, Stephens’s love of the Marathi language ‘Indianized’ not only the Christianity he preached but also his own body. Stephens’s poetic use of the kalpataru, the coconut tree, as Eden’s Tree of Life, invokes a daily experience of interacting with Goan coconuts, underscoring the recalibration of Stephens’s flesh ‘into something Indian’.

Keywords:   Thomas Stephens, body, environment, India, translation, travel, Jesuit, Kristapurana, coconut, transformation

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