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Unwise Paths: Ignatius Loyola and the Years of Alcalá de Henares

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the turbulent period which Ignatius Loyola and his early companions spent at Alcalá de Henares. This period represented the first test for Loyola's religious program in an extremely sophisticated, vital environment which originally looked somewhat askance at his religiosity. The chapter attempts to map encounters, many of which the society in subsequent years tried desperately to erase from Jesuit memory. It studies Loyola's first trials at Alcalá, and thereby attempts to reconstruct the "obscure period" in the life of the future saint. In Ignatius's own view, Alcalá was a hostile, sophistic place. He was, after all, unlettered [sin letras], lacking in any sort of university or theological education, barely able to read Latin. This was not only an impediment in the promotion of his religious views, but also an incredibly rich source of ideas and new proposals from which to draw.

Keywords: Alcalá de Henares; Ignatius Loyola; religiosity



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