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Encounters between Jesuits and Protestants in Africa pdf

📘 Book Title Encounters Between Jesuits And Protestants In Africa
👤 Book AuthorRobert Aleksander
🖨️ Total Pages258
👁️ Book Views


🌐 LanguageEnglish
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Encounters between Jesuits and Protestants in Africa

Edited by Robert Aleksander Maryks – Festo Mkenda, s.j.


The five-hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation (1517) provides an opportunity to reflect in a new way on the relationship between the Protestants and the Society of Jesus, which was founded twenty-three years later (1540).

Before we discuss the Jesuit–Protestant encounter in Africa, which resulted from the colonial expansion of the Catholic and Protestant European empires through the second half of the second millennium, let us begin by providing the broader historical context of the relationship of Ignatius of Loyola (c.1491–1556) and the Society of Jesus, the order he co-founded, to Protestantism.

It is commonplace in current scholarship and popular literature that the Jesuits were founded as a sort of papal troop to combat Protestantism.

This anachronism, however, does not find support in the original Jesuit sources—it had been invented, interestingly enough, by Ignatius’s companions near and after his death, and the myth then became part of both Protestant and Jesuit historiographies, although they obviously employed different language to narrate the Society’s origins and goals.

The aim of this introductory essay is to show the contrast between the early Jesuit documents and later Jesuit and Protestant historiographies on the origins of the relationship between the  Society of Jesus and Protestantism, with a special focus on Martin Luther (1483–1546), often called a “heresiarch” in the Jesuit sources.

As David Myers explained well in his essay on Ignatius and Luther for Brill’s Companion to Ignatius of Loyola (2014), Ignatius and Luther never met, and though Ignatius knew something of “Lutheranism,” Luther never heard of the Jesuits’ founder or of the  Society of Jesus itself.

Nor is it at all clear that Ignatius intended his Society to be a bulwark against the Protestant flood or that he was even a church reformer in the first place. The historical literature comparing the two men involves anachronism and stereotypes rather than the details of their lives.

Historians who talk of Ignatius and Luther have really been referring to Jesuits and Lutherans, as these groups crystallized in the half-century following the deaths of their founders (Luther in 1546 and Ignatius in 1556).1

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