International Symposium on Jesuit Studies
Boston | 10-14 June 2015

Exploring Jesuit Distinctiveness
Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, Boston College

The Jesuit tradition is an intriguing prism through which to look at many aspects of the Society of Jesus’s history and influence, whether explicitly through comparative studies, or by the grouping of studies around a given topical, chronological, or geographic focus. Scholarship on the Society of Jesus engages a staggering array of disciplines like art history, theology, literary studies, history of science, international law, military history, performing arts, and archeology. From another perspective, scholarship on Jesuits and their works intersects with many historical periods like the Renaissance, Reformation, Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment, among others. The aim of the International Symposium on Jesuit Studies, sponsored by Boston College’s Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, is to establish a platform for academic exchange that will stimulate scholars to cross the thematic and chronological boundaries of their research fields in order to reflect this interdisciplinary development.


The symposium theme is the distinctiveness of Jesuits and their ministries. It focuses on the quidditas Jesuitica, the specifically Jesuit way of proceeding in which Jesuits and their colleagues operated from historical, geographical, social, and cultural perspectives. Is there an essential core of distinctive elements that characterize the way in which Jesuits live their religious vocation and conduct their various works? How was “this way of proceeding” lived out in the various epochs and cultures in which Jesuits worked over four and a half centuries? What changed and adapted itself to different times and situations? What remained constant transcending time and place, infusing the apostolic works and lives of Jesuits with the charism on which the Society of Jesus was founded and developed? These are just a few examples of questions that will be explored during the symposium.



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