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date: 16 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the first Spanish Jesuits and in particular on the ambiguous relationship between orthodoxy and heresy that characterized the first phase of their long story in the Iberian world. Special attention is given to the Jesuits’ attitude toward heretical and ethnical minorities such as alumbrados, Erasmians, Protestants, conversos, and moriscos. Most of the first Spanish Jesuits had strong connections to those minorities. When the Society of Jesus developed into the champion of the Counter Reformation, these links became problematic. The chapter highlights the points of contiguity between the Jesuits and those minorities, as well as how the latter’s cultural and religious heritage influenced the Jesuit spirituality. Conversely, it also focuses on how the Jesuits distanced themselves from them, trying to convert them through missions, confessions, and rhetoric and, in some cases, with the help of the Spanish Inquisition. The controversial theory of the limpieza de sangre is of course a seminal issue of this chapter.

Keywords: Jesuits, Conversos, Alumbrados, heresy, Spanish Inquisition, Iberian world, missions, conversions, Protestantism, purity-of-blood laws

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