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Chapter Summary

Loyola lived in a period of radical changes, on the threshold between the late Middle Ages and early modernity, marked, among others, by the rise of the Iberian national monarchies and their colonial expansion, by the Renaissance, and by the Protestant and Catholic Reformations. The medieval cultures of monasticism and chivalry help one to understand Ignatius's fascination with the Leyenda de los santos and the Imitatio Christi. The crucial role conversos played at the royal court and in fifteenth-century Spanish church and society helps one to understand Ignatius's reliance on conversos and his nondiscriminatory admission policy. The Erasmian and alumbrado spirituality that influenced the early sixteenth-century academic and spiritual circles of Alcalá de Henares helps one to understand certain features of the Spiritual Exercises and early Jesuit spirituality. It also explains why some prominent churchmen, such as the Dominican Melchior Cano, would consider them unorthodox.

Keywords: Catholic Reformations; Jesuit spirituality; Loyola; Renaissance; Spanish church



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