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Open Access Jesuit Catechisms for Soldiers (Seventeenth–Nineteenth Centuries): Changes and Continuities

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Jesuit Catechisms for Soldiers (Seventeenth–Nineteenth Centuries): Changes and Continuities

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This paper proposes a literary journey through the manuals for soldiers written by Jesuits prior to the twentieth century. After briefly outlining the debut of these publications, at the hands of Antonio Possevino and of Thomas Sailly, who led the first permanent mission of military chaplains in Flanders, it will focus on three moments: the second half of the seventeenth century, when the wars of religion wound down and we find the first manuals where, alongside the desire to impose discipline on armies, a patriotic rhetoric begins to be heard; the middle years of the eighteenth century, before the French Revolution, when, after the establishment of barracks and permanent chaplaincies, even texts aimed at the Christian soldier transposed the vocabulary of the Droit des gens in; finally, the nineteenth century, when the Society was restored and undertook the religious conversion of the soldiery against the perils of the modern world. In Belgium, the birth of a liberal Catholic regime supported a patriotically-toned missionary effort from Jesuit chaplains. Later, the mystique of the nation would affect the majority of texts aimed at combatants and their chaplains during the Great War.

Affiliations: 1: Università di Macerata, Italy, v.lavenia@unimc.it

This paper proposes a literary journey through the manuals for soldiers written by Jesuits prior to the twentieth century. After briefly outlining the debut of these publications, at the hands of Antonio Possevino and of Thomas Sailly, who led the first permanent mission of military chaplains in Flanders, it will focus on three moments: the second half of the seventeenth century, when the wars of religion wound down and we find the first manuals where, alongside the desire to impose discipline on armies, a patriotic rhetoric begins to be heard; the middle years of the eighteenth century, before the French Revolution, when, after the establishment of barracks and permanent chaplaincies, even texts aimed at the Christian soldier transposed the vocabulary of the Droit des gens in; finally, the nineteenth century, when the Society was restored and undertook the religious conversion of the soldiery against the perils of the modern world. In Belgium, the birth of a liberal Catholic regime supported a patriotically-toned missionary effort from Jesuit chaplains. Later, the mystique of the nation would affect the majority of texts aimed at combatants and their chaplains during the Great War.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22141332-00404004
2017-08-08
2017-11-18

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