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1. The Suspect Zone of Mysticism

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Chapter Summary

The work that Ignatius did on text bears witness to his administration of Exercises to future Jesuits studying with him in Paris and, following Society's official recognition in 1540, to aspiring Jesuits in Rome. The Exercises are a manual, a collection of instructions and notes delineating a method and addressed to someone who will be guiding someone else through a retreat. The matter of Ignatius' mysticism remains a topic of debate, certainly in light of Ignatius' own ambivalence towards kind of experiences one might bring under this rubric. The focus on less exalted objects and modes of knowledge, to which author just alluded, expresses this ambivalence, and it does so to degree that at stake in them is the image, entity that most vividly captures perception of mystical as "dangerous". The Exercises rest on a sustained production of images intended, primarily, "to combat relentlessly the vague and the empty".

Keywords: ambivalence; Exercises; Ignatius'; Jesuits; mysticism; Rome



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