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13. A Community of Instruments?

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Chapter Summary

The author analyzes the Ignatius' critique of ascetic ideals with an exploration of the understanding of asceticism that informs his letter to the scholastics in Coimbra. He then proceeded to consider Ignatius' efforts to articulate the definition of discernment that would provide the basis for the hierarchical arrangement of the different Jesuit communities. He claims that the metaphor of the instrument is one of the metaphors through which the Society sought to represent to itself key aspects of its own existence. Ignatius' use of the metaphor in his letters might serve to modulate the normative pretensions one can ascribe to it as a result, precisely, of its inclusion in a text like the Constitutions. The metaphor's presence in the Constitutions bestows it with an authority that one must take into account as one looks at other areas of Ignatius' work.

Keywords: Coimbra; Constitutions; Ignatius; instruments of the divinity; Jesuit communities



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