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date: 22 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses Jesuit narratives of Islam and the Jesuits’ approaches to Muslims in early modern Europe. It argues that the Jesuits’ interaction with Islam was a key component of the Society’s identity, despite the fact that the order was not celebrated for the success of this interaction. It explores the desire of Ignatius of Loyola and the first Jesuits to convert Muslims; the history of Muslims who converted to Catholicism and joined the Society of Jesus; the Jesuits’ tension between a polemical attitude and a missionary approach to Muslims; and, finally, the Jesuits’ willingness to engage Islam and their attempts to study Arabic during this period. The chapter sheds new light on the presence of Islam in early modern Europe and helps our understanding of views that also influenced early modern Jesuit missionaries overseas, most of whom undertook their formation in Europe.

Keywords: Jesuits, Islam, Jesuit Orientalism, Arabic, Ignatius of Loyola, Antonio Possevino, Baldassarre Loyola, Ignacio Las Casas, accommodation, mission

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