The Jesuits: Cultures, Sciences, and the Arts, 1540-1773

Edited by John W. O’Malley, S.J., Gauvin Alexander Bailey, Steven J. Harris, and T. Frank Kennedy, S.J.

© 1999

In recent years scholars in a range of disciplines have begun to re-evaluate the history of the Society of Jesus. Approaching the subject with new questions and methods, they have reconsidered the importance of the Society in many sectors, including those related to the sciences and the arts. They have also looked at the Jesuits as emblematic of certain traits of early modern Europeans, especially as those Europeans interacted with 'the Other' in Asia and the Americas.

Originating in an international conference held at Boston College in 1997, the thirty-five essays here reflect this new historiographical trend. Focusing on the Old Society- the Society before its suppression in 1773 by papal edict- they examine the worldwide Jesuit undertaking in such fields as music, art, architecture, devotional writing, mathematics, physics, astronomy, natural history, public performance, and education, and they give special attention to the Jesuits' interaction with non-European cultures, in North and South America, China, India, and the Philippines. A picture emerges not only of the individual Jesuit, who might be missionary, diplomat, architect, and playwright over the course of his life in the Society, but also of the immense and many-faceted Jesuit enterprise as forming a kind of 'cultural ecosystem'.

The Jesuits of the Old Society liked to think they had a way of proceeding special to themselves. The question, Was there a Jesuit style, a Jesuit corporate culture? is the thread that runs through this interdisciplinary collection of studies.

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  • Page Count: 872 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 2.2in x 9.3in
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Quick Overview

An astounding history of the accomplishments of the Society of Jesus, from painting and poetry to cartography and physics, from Europe to New France to China.

The Jesuits: Cultures, Sciences, and the Arts, 1540-1773

Edited by John W. O’Malley, S.J., Gauvin Alexander Bailey, Steven J. Harris, and T. Frank Kennedy, S.J.

© 1999

In recent years scholars in a range of disciplines have begun to re-evaluate the history of the Society of Jesus. Approaching the subject with new questions and methods, they have reconsidered the importance of the Society in many sectors, including those related to the sciences and the arts. They have also looked at the Jesuits as emblematic of certain traits of early modern Europeans, especially as those Europeans interacted with 'the Other' in Asia and the Americas.

Originating in an international conference held at Boston College in 1997, the thirty-five essays here reflect this new historiographical trend. Focusing on the Old Society- the Society before its suppression in 1773 by papal edict- they examine the worldwide Jesuit undertaking in such fields as music, art, architecture, devotional writing, mathematics, physics, astronomy, natural history, public performance, and education, and they give special attention to the Jesuits' interaction with non-European cultures, in North and South America, China, India, and the Philippines. A picture emerges not only of the individual Jesuit, who might be missionary, diplomat, architect, and playwright over the course of his life in the Society, but also of the immense and many-faceted Jesuit enterprise as forming a kind of 'cultural ecosystem'.

The Jesuits of the Old Society liked to think they had a way of proceeding special to themselves. The question, Was there a Jesuit style, a Jesuit corporate culture? is the thread that runs through this interdisciplinary collection of studies.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 872 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 2.2in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘A triumphalist volume – and a triumphant one.’


    Alison Shell
    Times Literary Supplement

    ‘An important addition to the historiography of the Society of Jesus and the early modern world … Should be ignored only at a scholar’s risk.’


    Michael W. Maher, S.J.
    Catholic Historical Review

    ‘The scope of the contributions is breathtaking.’


    Thomas M. McCoog, S.J.
    Journal of Ecclesiastical History

    ‘Combines cutting-edge scholarship with traditional concerns … An excellent collection.’


    Kathleen M. Comerford
    Sixteenth Century Journal

    'Beyond the appeal that this book would have to a reader interested in specific items of Jesuit history, it would also have a wider readership among those interested in and/or conversant with the history of Europe from the late Renaissance through the Baroque period and on into the Age of Reason, in fields as varied as politics, literature, science, art, religion, and society. I thought that I knew a fair amount about Jesuitica; yet however much I may know, I have learned from this book much that I had not previously known at all.'


    John W. Padberg, S.J., Director, Institute of Jesuit Sources, St. Louis, Missouri

    'Cultural historians have been, with few exceptions, slow to appreciate the many cultural roles played by the Society of Jesus from its foundation onwards. These spectacularly learned, lively and wide-ranging essays begin the job. They follow the Jesuits into realms as apparently diverse as prayer and philology and into places as distant from one another as Prague and Paraguay. They reveal some of the extraordinary fertile research currently under way on every aspect of the Jesuit enterprise, from its historical origins to its effects on European political and cultural expansion. And though they shed a particularly bright new light on the histories of science, art, and architecture, they leave few segments of the early modern encyclopedia of the arts untouched.'


    Anthony Grafton, Princeton University

    'The geographical and disciplinary scope of The Jesuits is breathtaking. The quality of individual contributions is high, while the volume as a whole is more than the sum of its parts. It maintains a delicate balance between unity and diversity, showing that Jesuit contributions to the arts and sciences have a style of their own without being monolithically uniform. This is a book which redefines its field. It will be a landmark in Jesuit studies as well as an important contribution to the history of early modern culture.'


    Peter Burke, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University
  • Author Information

    John W. O'Malley, S.J., is professor in the Department of Church History at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology.



    Gauvin Alexander Bailey is an associate Professor in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Clark University.



    Steven J. Harris is a professor at the Jesuit Institute, Boston College.



    T. Frank Kennedy, S.J. is a professor in and chair of the Department of Music at Boston College.

  • Table of contents

    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    CONTRIBUTORS
    INTRODUCTION
    ABBREVIATIONS

    PART ONE
    Refraining Jesuit History 1

    1 / The Historiography of the Society of Jesus: Where Does It Stand Today?
    JOHN W. O'MALLEY, S.J.

    2 / 'Le style jésuite n'existe pas': Jesuit Corporate Culture and the Visual Arts
    GAUVIN ALEXANDER BAILEY

    3 / The Fertility and the Shortcomings of Renaissance Rhetoric: The Jesuit Case
    MARC FUMAROLI

    4 / The Cultural Field of Jesuit Science
    RIVKA FELDHAY

    PART TWO
    The Roman Scene

    5 / Two Farnese Cardinals and the Question of Jesuit Taste
    CLARE ROBERTSON

    6 / Jesuit Thesis Prints and the Festive Academic Defence at the Collegio Romano
    LOUISE RICE

    7 / From The Eyes of All' to 'Usefull Quarries in phihlosophy and good literature': Consuming Jesuit Science, 1600-1665
    MICHAEL JOHN GORMAN

    8 / Music History in the Musurgia univer-salts of Athanasius Kircher
    MARGARET MURATA

    PART THREE
    Mobility: Overseas Missions and the Circulation of Culture

    9 / Mapping Jesuit Science: The Role of Travel in the Geography of Knowledge
    STEVEN J. HARRIS

    10 / Jesuits, Jupiter's Satellites, and the Académie Royale des Sciences
    FLORENCE HSIA

    11 / Exemplo aeque ut verbo: The French Jesuits' Missionary World
    DOMINIQUE DESLANDRES

    12 / East and West: Jesuit Art and Artists in Central Europe, and Central European Art in the Americas
    THOMAS DACOSTA KAUFMANN

    13 / The Role of the Jesuits in the Transfer of Secular Baroque Culture to the Río de la Plata Region
    MAGNUS MöRNER

    14 / Candide and a Boat
    T. FRANK KENNEDY, S.J.

    PART FOUR
    Encounters with the Other: Between Assimilation and Domination

    15 / Alessandro Valignano: The Jesuits and Culture in the East
    ANDREW C. ROSS

    16 / Jesuit Corporate Culture As Shaped by the Chinese
    NICOLAS STANDAERT, S.J.

    17 /Translation as Cultural Reform: Jesuit Scholastic Psychology in the Transformation of the Confucian Discourse on Human Nature
    QIONG ZHANG

    18 / The Truth-Showing Mirror: Jesuit Catechism and the Arts in Mughal India
    GAUVIN ALEXANDER BAILEY

    19 / Roberto de Nobili's Dialogue on Eternal Life and an Early Jesuit Evaluation of Religion in South India
    FRANCIS X. CLOONEY, S.J.

    20 / The Jesuits and the Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines
    REN£ B. JAVELLANA, S.J.

    PART FIVE
    Tradition, Innovation, Accommodation

    21 / Bernini's Image of the Ideal Christian Monarch
    IRVING LAVIN

    22 / Innovation and Assimilation: The Jesuit Contribution to Architectural Development in Portuguese India
    DAVID M. KOWAL

    23 / God's Good Taste: The Jesuit Aesthetics of Juan Bautista Villalpando in the Sixth and Tenth Centuries B.C.E.
    JAIME LARA

    24 / Jesuit Aristotelian Education: The De anima Commentaries
    ALISON SIMMONS

    25 / Jesuit Physics in Eighteenth-Century Germany: Some Important Continuities
    MARCUS HELLYER

    26 / The Jesuits and Polish Sarmatianism
    STANISLAW OBIREK, S.J.

    PART SIX
    Conversion and Confirmation through Devotion and the Arts

    27 / The Art of Salvation in Bavaria
    JEFFREY CHIPPS SMITH

    28 / Henry Hawkins: A Jesuit Writer and Emblematist in Stuart England
    KARL JOSEF HOLTGEN

    29 / Jesuit Casuistry or Jesuit Spirituality? The Roots of Seventeenth-Century British Puritan Practical Divinity
    JAMES F. KEENAN, S.J.

    30 / The Use of Music by the Jesuits in the Conversion of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil
    PAULO CASTAGNA

    31 /The Jesuits in Manila, 1581-1621: The Role of Music in Rite, Ritual, and Spectacle
    WILLIAM J. SUMMERS

    32 / Jesuit Devotions and Retablos in New Spain
    CLARA BARGELLINI

    PART SEVEN
    Reflections: What Have We Learned? Where Do We Go from Here?

    JOSEPH CONNORS

    LUCE GIARD

    MICHAEL J. BUCKLEY, S.J.

    INDEX

By the Same Author(s)