Salvation and Globalization in the Early Jesuit Missions

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Salvation and Globalization in the Early Jesuit Missions | Luke Clossey

Salvation and Globalization in the Early Jesuit Missions

Luke Clossey

Cambridge University Press

July 2008


340 pages

This is the first truly global study of the Society of Jesus’s early missions. Up to now historians have treated the early-modern Catholic missionary project as a disjointed collection of regional missions rather than as a single world-encompassing example of religious globalization. Luke Clossey shows how the vast distances separating missions led to logistical problems of transportation and communication incompatible with traditional views of the Society as a tightly centralized military machine. In fact, connections unmediated by Rome sprung up between the missions throughout the seventeenth century. He follows trails of personnel, money, relics and information between missions in seventeenth-century China, Germany and Mexico, and explores how Jesuits understood space and time and visualized universal mission and salvation. This pioneering study demonstrates that a global perspective is essential to understanding the Jesuits and will be required reading for historians of Catholicism and the early-modern world.

  • Was the first global, comparative study of Jesuit missions in early modern Germany, Mexico and China
  • Based on extensive archival research in Europe, Latin America and Asia
  • Will appeal to scholars of early modern world history, religious history, the history of Christianity and colonial history


Luke ClosseySimon Fraser University, British Columbia

  1. Introduction
  2. Organizing the Society of Jesus
  3. Decentralizing the Society of Jesus
  4. Imagining global mission
  5. Space, time, and truth in the Jesuit psychology
  6. The missionary motivation
  7. The Jesuit missionary network
  8. The Jesuit financial network
  9. The Jesuit information network
  10. The Jesuit sacred economy
  11. An edifying end: Global salvific catholicism

Appendix A. Abbreviations for document sources
Appendix B. Chronological tables (1540–1722)
Appendix C. Principal prosographical information
Appendix D. Monetary systems.

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