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Open Access Recent Works in Jesuit Philosophy

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Recent Works in Jesuit Philosophy

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Vicissitudes of Rhetorical Accommodation

The works considered in this review essay trace the vicissitudes of Jesuit particularism and reflect broader changes in intellectual and cultural history over the past twenty years. Reevaluations of “scientific revolution,” “Enlightenment(s),” and “modernity” itself have provided the preconditions for the possible reframing of Jesuit “philosophical” practices (including “natural philosophy”). Five of these books treat the work of Francisco Suárez in the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries, a test-case for the problem of periodizing the “modern.” Three other works provide snapshots over the next 150 years: (1) seventeenth-century German-speaking Jesuit natural philosophers embracing experimental science; (2) a late-seventeenth-century superior general of the Society who embraced rigorism to a degree considered unacceptable by other Jesuits; and (3) in the early-eighteenth century, French Jesuit syntheses accommodating “Enlightenment” thought. Taken as a whole, these works demonstrate that, as binary oppositions between “Jesuits” and “moderns” continue to dissolve, Jesuit practices (sometimes in contrast to theories or principles) increasingly appear as accommodating, syncretizing, and hybridizing.

Affiliations: 1: History Department Loyola University Chicago, sschloesser@luc.edu

The works considered in this review essay trace the vicissitudes of Jesuit particularism and reflect broader changes in intellectual and cultural history over the past twenty years. Reevaluations of “scientific revolution,” “Enlightenment(s),” and “modernity” itself have provided the preconditions for the possible reframing of Jesuit “philosophical” practices (including “natural philosophy”). Five of these books treat the work of Francisco Suárez in the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries, a test-case for the problem of periodizing the “modern.” Three other works provide snapshots over the next 150 years: (1) seventeenth-century German-speaking Jesuit natural philosophers embracing experimental science; (2) a late-seventeenth-century superior general of the Society who embraced rigorism to a degree considered unacceptable by other Jesuits; and (3) in the early-eighteenth century, French Jesuit syntheses accommodating “Enlightenment” thought. Taken as a whole, these works demonstrate that, as binary oppositions between “Jesuits” and “moderns” continue to dissolve, Jesuit practices (sometimes in contrast to theories or principles) increasingly appear as accommodating, syncretizing, and hybridizing.

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2014-01-01
2016-12-07

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