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Open Access Jesuit Schools in Europe. A Historiographical Essay

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Jesuit Schools in Europe. A Historiographical Essay

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The article surveys recent scholarship on Jesuit schools and universities in Europe from 1548 to 1773. It focuses on the period after the death of Ignatius of Loyola because that is when crucial decisions that shaped Jesuit schools were made. Diego Laínez made the most important decision in 1560 when he ordered that all Jesuits would teach. The goal of Jesuit teaching went beyond saving souls: Jesuit schools had the secular purpose of improving civil society by educating boys to earn a living and to fill leadership positions. Much recent scholarship has focused on Jesuit mathematical scholarship and teaching while insufficient attention has been devoted to philosophy. The Jesuits oversaw and taught in boarding schools for noble boys with considerable success. However, their attempts to become professors in universities often met with strong resistance and sometimes failed. The Jesuits devoted considerable time and effort to catechetical instruction using a variety of catechisms and approaches across Europe and the rest of the world. A major scholarly lacuna is the lack of attention paid to the financing of Jesuit colleges and schools, largely because of its complexity. A mix of subsidies from ruler or city council, designated taxes, private bequests of property or income, donations, living annuities, and other devices supported Jesuit schools. Lawsuits were a byproduct.

Affiliations: 1: Professor of History Emeritus, University of Toronto 110 Fern Lane Chapel Hill, NC 27514 paulgrendler@gmail.com

The article surveys recent scholarship on Jesuit schools and universities in Europe from 1548 to 1773. It focuses on the period after the death of Ignatius of Loyola because that is when crucial decisions that shaped Jesuit schools were made. Diego Laínez made the most important decision in 1560 when he ordered that all Jesuits would teach. The goal of Jesuit teaching went beyond saving souls: Jesuit schools had the secular purpose of improving civil society by educating boys to earn a living and to fill leadership positions. Much recent scholarship has focused on Jesuit mathematical scholarship and teaching while insufficient attention has been devoted to philosophy. The Jesuits oversaw and taught in boarding schools for noble boys with considerable success. However, their attempts to become professors in universities often met with strong resistance and sometimes failed. The Jesuits devoted considerable time and effort to catechetical instruction using a variety of catechisms and approaches across Europe and the rest of the world. A major scholarly lacuna is the lack of attention paid to the financing of Jesuit colleges and schools, largely because of its complexity. A mix of subsidies from ruler or city council, designated taxes, private bequests of property or income, donations, living annuities, and other devices supported Jesuit schools. Lawsuits were a byproduct.

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2014-01-01
2016-12-09

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