Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Theology

First Advisor

Paul Robinson

Scripture References in this Resource

Mark 24:30; John 14:3; Exodus 3:7–8


Vieira, Celiane da Rocha Witt, “A Messianic-Millenarian Movement in Brazil: Canudos/BA: 1893–1897” Master of Arts Thesis. Concordia Seminary,” Master of Arts Thesis. Concordia Seminary, 2018. 78 pp.

The Brazilian backland is a place where religion plays a huge part in the lives of the population. At the end of the 19th century an important episode takes place amidst the turmoil the nation was facing, the small community of Canudos/Bahia became part of the news nationally and internationally as a rebel and religious fanatic settlement under the authority of one man, Antônio Conselheiro. Taking into account the fact that the terms millennial and messianic themselves label a variety of movements that arose organically within the history of the church, this study analyzes the origin of these terms and their development through time, identifying Canudos as a messianic-millenarian movement. Most scholars who have studied the movement of Canudos over the years have viewed the religious elements as little more than ancillary to what they see as the more fundamental concerns of economics and politics. This is especially true when they discuss the tragic events of the community’s commotion and its suppression by the government. In this connection, the analysis of Conselheiro’s notebook and oral testimonies about the community and its leader allowed this study to better comprehend the complexity of Canudos. The purpose of the present thesis is an analysis of the theology of this movement using the lens of research on messianism and millennialism, placing the religious life and belief of the community at the center of its existence, and as the foundation of everything its members thought and did. Centering religious belief and life in this way offers a better explanation of the community’s reaction to contemporary events and to the government than economic or political considerations alone.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.