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Jesuit Political Thought
The Society of Jesus and the State, c.1540–1630


Part of Ideas in Context

  • Date Published: June 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521066754

£ 26.99

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About the Authors
  • Harro Höpfl presents here a full-length study of the single most influential organized group of scholars and pamphleteers in early modern Europe (1540–1630), namely the Jesuits. He explores the academic and political controversies in which they were engaged in and their contribution to academic discourse around ideas of 'the state' and 'politics'. He pays particular attention to their actual teaching concerning doctrines for whose menacing practical implications Jesuits generally were vilified: notably tyrannicide, the papal power to depose rulers, the legitimacy of 'Machiavellian' policies in dealing with heretics and the justifiability of breaking faith with heretics. Höpfl further explores the paradox of the Jesuits' political activities being at once the subject of conspiratorial fantasies but at the same time being widely acknowledged as among the foremost intellects of their time, with their thought freely cited and appropriated. This is an important work of scholarship.

    • A major, full-length study of the Jesuit order which revises many received opinions about them
    • Much of the primary printed source materials have been translated for the first time
    • A major piece of scholarship written by an established historian of political thought
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'An important work of scholarship.' The Universe

    Review of the hardback: '… a remarkable work of intellectual history.' Political Studies Review

    Review of the hardback: '… a lively and masterful survey of Jesuit political thought … Höpfl does an excellent job as an historian …' The Heythrop Journal

    Review of the hardback: 'Harro Höpfl's long-awaited book sets itself an ambitious task … Höpfl's project is to chartacterize the political thinking of the society of Jesus as a whole … In terms of substantive analysis, Höpfl's is by far the best treatment available in English of the more directly political side of Jesuit writing … the appearance of such an intelligent, thought-provoking, refreshingly idiosyncratic but still thorough treatment of a neglected subject is enormously to be welcomed.' History of Political Thought

    Review of the hardback: '… meticulously researched, scholarly work, written with suavity and flair, dealing carefully with much of the huge amount of material which awaits the researcher in this field.' English Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521066754
    • length: 428 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.63kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The character and work of the society of Jesus
    2. The society's organizational ideas
    3. The church, the society and heresy
    4. Jesuit reason of state and religious uniformity
    5. Jesuit reason of state and Fides
    6. Reason of state, prudence and the academic curriculum
    7. The theory of political authority
    8. Limited government, compacts and the states of nature
    9. The theory of law
    10. The common good and individual rights
    11. Tyrannicide, the oath of allegiance controversy and the assassination of Henri IV
    12. The Papal Potestas Indirecta.

  • Author

    Harro Höpfl, University of Essex
    Harro Hopfl is one of the leading historians of ideas writing in Britain today.

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