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- The Text and Contexts of Ignatius Loyola's "Autobiography"
This refreshing re-evaluation of the so-called autobiography of Ignatius Loyola (c. 1491–1556) situates Ignatius’s Acts against the backgrounds of the spiritual geography of Luke’s New Testament writings and the culture of Renaissance humanism. Ignatius Loyola’s So-Called Autobiography builds upon recent scholarly consensus, examines the language of the text that Ignatius Loyola dictated as his legacy to fellow Jesuits late in life, and discusses relevant elements of the social, historical, and religious contexts in which the text came to birth. Recent monographs by Marjorie O’Rourke Boyle and John W. O’Malley have characterized Ignatius’s Acts as a mirror of vainglory and of apostolic religious life, respectively. In this study, John M. McManamon, S.J., persuasively argues that an appreciation of the two Lukan New Testament writings likewise helps interpret the theological perspectives of Ignatius. The geography of Luke’s two writings and the theology that undergirds Luke’s redactional innovation assisted Ignatius in remembering and understanding the crucial acts of God in his own life.
This eloquent, lucidly written new book is essential reading for anyone interested in Ignatius, the early Jesuits, sixteenth-century religious life, and the history of early modern Europe.
"John McManamon reads Ignatius of Loyola's autobiography with wonderful precision and insight. His finely crafted interpretation illuminates the life of the founder of the Jesuits; teases out the meanings that Ignatius himself found in his encounters and experiences; and helps to explain the creation and rise of the Jesuit order."—Anthony Grafton, Princeton University
"This is a rich and perceptive book. McManamon enters into the heart and soul of one of the most influential religious figures of the past five hundred years. Ignatius Loyola emerges as all too human but wise and right on the essentials. McManamon's account is deeply grounded in the sources, well-written, and shows flashes of humor."—Paul Grendler, Professor of History Emeritus, University of Toronto
"In this fresh and refreshing study, John McManamon makes a compelling case for reading Ignatius of Loyola’s autobiography not just as the record of Ignatius’s search for how he should serve God, but as the foundational text for the Society of Jesus. His book will be essential reading for anyone interested in Ignatius of Loyola, the early Jesuits, sixteenth-century religious life, and the history of early modern Europe. Indeed, in casting a sharp yet sympathetic light on St. Ignatius’s struggles with the sin of vainglory, McManamon speaks—in spare and lucid prose—not only to scholars, but to all those who are concerned about the present condition of the Jesuit order and the Catholic Church."—Daniel Bornstein, Washington University in St. Louis
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