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6. The Jesuit Instrument

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Chapter Summary

The originality of Molina's system and the impact of his concept of scientia media are beyond dispute. The kind of inquiry epitomized by Molina's work focuses, indeed, on the epistemological questions posed by God's foreknowledge and on what such foreknowledge implies for human freedom and accountability. These questions converge in a decisive fashion in the problem of predestination, where God's foreknowledge and its implications for human accountability come to bear directly on the question of salvation. The metaphor of the Jesuit as an instrument figures prominently in the two preparatory sketches that Polanco prepared for the Constitutions. The communication of grace aptly sums up the instrument's purpose. It also resonates with the Society's sense of its own purpose as it is articulated in the Industrias. The notion of an instrumental union would seem to challenge those interpretations of the Exercises as a mystical work.

Keywords: Constitutions; Exercises; God's foreknowledge; Industrias; instrument; Jesuit; Molina's work; Polanco; scientia media



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