Missionary, b. in Graz, Styria, 7 Sept., 1717; d. in Vienna, 17 July 1791. He became a Jesuit in 1736, and twelve years later set out for the missions of South America, where he laboured among the Guaranis and the Abipones for eighteen years. On the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Spanish possessions in 1767, he returned to his native land. The Empress Maria Theresa frequently sent for Dobrizhoffer that she might hear his adventures from his own lips; and she is said to have taken great pleasure in his cheerful and animated conversation. He is the author of a work in three volumes entitled "Historia de Abiponibus, equestri bellicosaque Paraguaina natione" etc. (Vienna, 1783-1784), a German translation of which, by Professor Keil of the University of Pesth, was published in Vienna the same year. This work is of great ethnological value. In the preface he says, "A seven years residence in the four colonies of the Abipones has afforded me opportunities of closely observing the manners, customs, superstitions, military discipline, slaughters inflicted and received, political and economical regulations, together with the vicissitudes of the colonies". He further declares that what he learned amongst the Paraguayans in the course of eighteen years, what he himself beheld in the colonies of the Indians and the Spaniards, in frequent and long journeys, through woods, mountains, plains and vast rivers, he sets forth, if not in an eloquent and brilliant narrative, certainly in a candid and an accurate one, which is at least deserving of credit. In the course of the work, Dobrizhoffer frequently takes occasion to refute and expose the erroneous statements of other writers respecting the Jesuits in Paraguay, and the malicious calumnies by which the ruin of their institutions in that country was unhappily effected. The English translation (An Account of the Abipones, an Equestrian People of Paraguay, London. 1822), commonly ascribed to Southey, is the work of Sara Coleridge, daughter of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who judged it a performance "unsurpassed for pure mother-English by anything I have read for a long time ". Dobrizhoffer in 1733 was appointed preacher to the Court in Vienna, a post which he held till his death.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online