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Open Access The Two Standards

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The Two Standards

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The Origins and Development of a Celebrated Ignatian Meditation

The Ignatian meditation on the two standards introduces the moment of “elección” in the itinerary established by the Spiritual Exercises. This was a key passage for Jesuit vocations, which very often flourished as a result of the experience of the Exercises. From the earliest years of the Society, the great success of the Spiritual Exercises stimulated historical research into the origins of the text. According to Jerónimo Nadal, the inspiration came to Ignatius in 1525, during a mystical experience at Manresa. Nevertheless, the genealogy of the Spiritual Exercises remains obscure, mainly because of the disappearance of the early versions of the text prior to the Paris period. In particular, one leading open question concerns Ignatius’s sources: among many possible contenders, for example, Erasmus’s Enchiridion often is identified as a source. This essay further investigates the question and, in doing so, draws some analogies between the Exercises and a number of Italian texts from the early sixteenth century, such as works by Antonio da Atri and Battista da Crema.

Affiliations: 1: Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, a.prosperi@sns.it

The Ignatian meditation on the two standards introduces the moment of “elección” in the itinerary established by the Spiritual Exercises. This was a key passage for Jesuit vocations, which very often flourished as a result of the experience of the Exercises. From the earliest years of the Society, the great success of the Spiritual Exercises stimulated historical research into the origins of the text. According to Jerónimo Nadal, the inspiration came to Ignatius in 1525, during a mystical experience at Manresa. Nevertheless, the genealogy of the Spiritual Exercises remains obscure, mainly because of the disappearance of the early versions of the text prior to the Paris period. In particular, one leading open question concerns Ignatius’s sources: among many possible contenders, for example, Erasmus’s Enchiridion often is identified as a source. This essay further investigates the question and, in doing so, draws some analogies between the Exercises and a number of Italian texts from the early sixteenth century, such as works by Antonio da Atri and Battista da Crema.

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2015-12-26
2017-11-19

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