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The Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits
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Book description

Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556) obtained papal approval in 1540 for a new international religious order called the Society of Jesus. Until the mid-1700s the 'Jesuits' were active in many parts of Europe and far beyond. Gaining both friends and enemies in response to their work as teachers, scholars, writers, preachers, missionaries and spiritual directors, the Jesuits were formally suppressed by Pope Clement XIV in 1773 and restored by Pope Pius VII in 1814. The Society of Jesus then grew until the 1960s; it has more recently experienced declining membership in Europe and North America, but expansion in other parts of the world. This Companion examines the religious and cultural significance of the Jesuits. The first four sections treat the period prior to the Suppression, while section five examines the Suppression and some of the challenges and opportunities of the restored Society of Jesus up to the present.

Reviews

'The history of the Jesuits is as complex as it is fascinating. Worcester's volume helps us sort it out through a judicious sampling of themes from the founding of the order in 1540 until the present. It will be valuable for both the novice and the specialist.'

John O’Malley - University Professor, Georgetown University

‘The Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits is an unusual and impressive achievement. It combines both breadth and depth of scholarship in a series of studies that consistently hold a reader's interest. The chapters range from Jesuit spirituality to geography to architecture, from history and biography to the arts to politics, from theology to education to science and beyond.’

John W. Padberg - S. J., Director, The Institute of Jesuit Sources

'Worcester’s is an ambitious and largely successful project and the book deserves to be widely read.'

Source: Thinking Faith - the online journal of the British Jesuits

'… this Cambridge Companion can serve as a useful resource for university courses on the early modern Jesuits … Students of early modern history will discover several gems among the comprehensive essays, which not only inform but also reveal deeper points of significance. … The volume's sampling of Jesuit priorities and activities is impressive … It sends readers beyond textbook generalisations about the Society to acquire a sense of its rich complexity. The essays not only inform but also have the potential of engendering new research into Jesuit history.'

Source: Church History

'All in all this is a super book which is a must for anyone who takes seriously the contribution of this most dynamic and challenging order to the shape and destiny of Christian life.'

Source: The Pastoral Review

'All eighteen chapters make a real contribution. … Anyone beginning to investigate the Jesuits should start here.'

Source: Journal of Ecclesiastical History

'The Cambridge Companions to Religion, a subset of the extensive Cambridge Companions series, aim 'to provide an accessible and stimulating introduction to the subject for new readers and non-specialists' through 'specially commissioned chapters by international scholars.' This volume fulfils its task admirably.'

Source: Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu

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