The First Jesuits

The First Jesuits

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This text provides an account the Society of Jesus in its founding years, with the aim of improving the understanding of the Jesuits in history and today. Following the Society from 1540 through 1565, it shows how this sense of mission evolved, considering topics such as the Jesuits' teaching, their preaching, their casuistry, their work with orphans and prostitutes, their attitudes toward Jews and "New Christians" and their relationship to the Reformation. The text also details the Society's manifold activities in Europe, Brazil and India.

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  • Paperback | 478 pages
  • 162.56 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 635.03g
  • Cambridge, MassUnited States
  • English
  • Reissue
  • 067430313X
  • 9780674303133
  • 340,019

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Neither fazed nor overwhelmed, Father O'Malley never loses sight of the forest among the myriad trees...In this book three tenacious myths bite the dust. The first is that Ignatius had a detailed blueprint for his companions...A second myth is that the Jesuits were founded to combat the Reformation and to spearhead its Roman Catholic riposte, the Counter-Reformation...The third myth is that the Jesuits were founded as the pope's shock troops...Far from being a simple chronicle, it is an account of how the Jesuits, led by the internal dynamism of the Holy Spirit, responded to unpredictable events and new needs. -- Peter Hebblethwaite New York Times Book Review A masterly account of the first generation [of Jesuits]...carried out with an economy and insight that compel admiration. -- Anthony Grafton New York Review of Books This is surely the best book ever written in English on the first Jesuits and the early Society of Jesus. It may well be the best book on that topic ever written in any language. This is a work that is deeply original, always clear, often brilliant. -- John Padberg America This is a major study of the first crucial years of one of the most important institutions of modern Europe. Perhaps the price of the impact of the Society of Jesus is that both hagiographical and demonic myths have encrusted its early history. This learned and eloquent study scrapes away those myths in order to tell the complex, almost improvisational history of the first twenty-five years of the Society of Jesus...No study in any language provides such an authoritative and fascinating picture. -- Paul F. Grendler Journal of Modern History A magnificent achievement both of synthesis and interpretation. -- Philip Endean, SJ The Way

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About John W. O'Malley

John W. O'Malley is University Professor at Georgetown University.

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