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God's Soldiers

Jonathan Wright

God's Soldiers

Jonathan Wright

$39.99

Hardback
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Throughout history members of the Society of Jesus, popularly known as Jesuits, have been accused of killing kings and presidents, have traveled as missionaries to every corner of the globe, founded haciendas in Mexico, explored the Mississippi and Amazon rivers, and served Chinese emperors as map makers, painters, and astronomers. As well as the predictable roll call of saints and martyrs, the Society can also lay claim to the thirty-five craters on the moon named for Jesuit scientists. Jesuits have been despised and idolized on a scale unknown to members of any other religious order; they have died the most horrible deaths and done the most outlandish deeds. ^Whether loved or loathed, the Jesuits' dramatic and wide-ranging impact could never be ignored. By the mid-eighteenth century, they had established more than 650 educational institutions. They were also strongly committed to foreign missions, and like the secular explorers and settlers of the Age of Discovery, they traveled

- Publisher 1 "New Athletes to Combat God's Enemies"(1) Jesuits and Reformations . . . this sect, which was . . . only recently established by the Roman pontiff for the specific purpose of destroying the Churches that embrace the pure teaching of the Gospel. Martin Chemnitz,Examination of the Council of Trent, 1565(2) It may be said with truth, that this order alone has contributed more than all the other orders together to confirm the wavering nations in the faith of Rome, to support the tottering authority of the high pontiff, to check the progress of the Reformation, and to make amends for the losses their holiness had sustained in Europe, by propagating the gospel, and with it a blind submission to the Holy See, among the African, American and Indian infidels. Archibald Bower,History of the Popes, 1766(3) In any case, although the Society of Jesus would have had a much different history, it would have come into being even if the Reformation had not happened, and it cannot be defined primarily in relationship to it. John O'Malley, S.J., The First Jesuits, 1993(4) 1527 Early in the fog-smothered morning of May 6, 1527, troops of Charles V's imperial army began their clumsy assault on Rome. The feeble, neglected defenses of the city were breached with embarrassing ease, and the soldiers, undisciplined, unpaid, grumbling about months of pestilence and hunger, embarked upon a spree of looting, vandalism, and fleshy excess. Very quickly, reliable, sober reports of workshop smashing, iconoclasm, and theft merged with the more gruesome stories of torture, dismemberment, and serial rape. Across Europe, for generations to come, tales would be told of entire hospitals and orphanages being emptied, their helpless inmates drowned in the blood-gorged waters of the Tiber. Charles, Habsburg ruler of Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands, was quick to deny all responsibility for his renegade forces. The Italian Wars, the dynastic struggles inaugurated by a French king's crossing of the Alps in 1494, had once more flaunted their uncanny talent for blighting southern Europe. The sack of Rome sent monks and artists scurrying, and it convulsed the Western imagination. Not until the grotesque Parisian carnage of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, four decades later--when hundreds of French Protestants lost their lives--would Europe be quite so scandalized, quite so shaken. The events of May 1527 were really about dynastic politics and disgruntled, leaderless troops. Religious animosity played its part--shrines were desecrated, cardinals were threatened, and one especially zealous participant brandished a golden rope with which he intended to hang the pope--but Spanish Catholics had contributed to the mayhem just as eagerly as German Lutherans. What truly mattered, though, was the symbolism. Rome, the place that stood for papal plenitude, for Italian Renaissance grandeur, for the Roman Catholic Church, had, as one onlooker put it, become a cadaver of a city. The Venetian ambassador suggested that not even hell itself could offer so miserable a vista. In 1527, a decade on from the first stirrings of reformation, there was still much hope that schism might be averted and schismatics reconciled. But the sight of a ruined, ransacked Rome, of a pope hidden away in the Castel Sant'Angelo, was an eloquent reminder of how much had changed since Martin Luther's Wittenberg revolution, since the iconoclasm of Ulrich Zwingli's Zurich, since the withering assault on Catholic dogmas, rituals, and certainties had begun. Anarchic weeks that can best be blamed on the quarrels of supremely Catholic kings had managed to sum up Christendom's newly found frailty. And at this bleakest of moments, Ignatius Loyola, the Jesuits' future founder and first superior general, was about to arrive in Salamanca, a

- Publisher
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About "God's Soldiers"

Throughout history members of the Society of Jesus, popularly known as Jesuits, have been accused of killing kings and presidents, have traveled as missionaries to every corner of the globe, founded haciendas in Mexico, explored the Mississippi and Amazon rivers, and served Chinese emperors as map makers, painters, and astronomers. As well as the predictable roll call of saints and martyrs, the Society can also lay claim to the thirty-five craters on the moon named for Jesuit scientists. Jesuits have been despised and idolized on a scale unknown to members of any other religious order; they have died the most horrible deaths and done the most outlandish deeds. ^Whether loved or loathed, the Jesuits' dramatic and wide-ranging impact could never be ignored. By the mid-eighteenth century, they had established more than 650 educational institutions. They were also strongly committed to foreign missions, and like the secular explorers and settlers of the Age of Discovery, they traveled
- Publisher

1 "New Athletes to Combat God's Enemies"(1) Jesuits and Reformations . . . this sect, which was . . . only recently established by the Roman pontiff for the specific purpose of destroying the Churches that embrace the pure teaching of the Gospel. Martin Chemnitz,Examination of the Council of Trent, 1565(2) It may be said with truth, that this order alone has contributed more than all the other orders together to confirm the wavering nations in the faith of Rome, to support the tottering authority of the high pontiff, to check the progress of the Reformation, and to make amends for the losses their holiness had sustained in Europe, by propagating the gospel, and with it a blind submission to the Holy See, among the African, American and Indian infidels. Archibald Bower,History of the Popes, 1766(3) In any case, although the Society of Jesus would have had a much different history, it would have come into being even if the Reformation had not happened, and it cannot be defined primarily in relationship to it. John O'Malley, S.J., The First Jesuits, 1993(4) 1527 Early in the fog-smothered morning of May 6, 1527, troops of Charles V's imperial army began their clumsy assault on Rome. The feeble, neglected defenses of the city were breached with embarrassing ease, and the soldiers, undisciplined, unpaid, grumbling about months of pestilence and hunger, embarked upon a spree of looting, vandalism, and fleshy excess. Very quickly, reliable, sober reports of workshop smashing, iconoclasm, and theft merged with the more gruesome stories of torture, dismemberment, and serial rape. Across Europe, for generations to come, tales would be told of entire hospitals and orphanages being emptied, their helpless inmates drowned in the blood-gorged waters of the Tiber. Charles, Habsburg ruler of Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands, was quick to deny all responsibility for his renegade forces. The Italian Wars, the dynastic struggles inaugurated by a French king's crossing of the Alps in 1494, had once more flaunted their uncanny talent for blighting southern Europe. The sack of Rome sent monks and artists scurrying, and it convulsed the Western imagination. Not until the grotesque Parisian carnage of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, four decades later--when hundreds of French Protestants lost their lives--would Europe be quite so scandalized, quite so shaken. The events of May 1527 were really about dynastic politics and disgruntled, leaderless troops. Religious animosity played its part--shrines were desecrated, cardinals were threatened, and one especially zealous participant brandished a golden rope with which he intended to hang the pope--but Spanish Catholics had contributed to the mayhem just as eagerly as German Lutherans. What truly mattered, though, was the symbolism. Rome, the place that stood for papal plenitude, for Italian Renaissance grandeur, for the Roman Catholic Church, had, as one onlooker put it, become a cadaver of a city. The Venetian ambassador suggested that not even hell itself could offer so miserable a vista. In 1527, a decade on from the first stirrings of reformation, there was still much hope that schism might be averted and schismatics reconciled. But the sight of a ruined, ransacked Rome, of a pope hidden away in the Castel Sant'Angelo, was an eloquent reminder of how much had changed since Martin Luther's Wittenberg revolution, since the iconoclasm of Ulrich Zwingli's Zurich, since the withering assault on Catholic dogmas, rituals, and certainties had begun. Anarchic weeks that can best be blamed on the quarrels of supremely Catholic kings had managed to sum up Christendom's newly found frailty. And at this bleakest of moments, Ignatius Loyola, the Jesuits' future founder and first superior general, was about to arrive in Salamanca, a
- Publisher

Meet the Author

Jonathan Wright

The British historian Jonathan Wright was born in Hartlepool in 1969. He was educated at the universities of St. Andrews, Pennsylvania, and Oxford, where he earned his doctorate in 1998. He has published on various aspects of early modern religious history and is a contributor to Oxford University Press's "New Dictionary of National Biography "and Scribner's revised "Dictionary of American History,"

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Product Details

Product Details
  • Catalogue Code 228110
  • Product Code 0385500785
  • EAN 9780385500784
  • Pages 337
  • Department Academic
  • Category History
  • Sub-Category General
  • Publisher Doubleday
  • Publication Date May 2004
  • Dimensions 235 x 166 x 28 mm
  • Weight 0.649kg

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