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date: 22 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The writing of Historia Societatis Iesu—the official history of the order published by the Society of Jesus—testifies to the difficulties in the selection of documents needed to compose this and any other kind of historiographic work. Since the first volume published by Nicola Orlandini in 1615 until the last one edited by Giulio Cesare Cordara in 1750, passing through those published by Francesco Sacchini and Joseph Jouvancy, the Jesuits saw the overwhelming amount of information provided by the archives as an intrinsic limit of any historiographic operation. They tried to bypass this limit by using memory and writing techniques, such as those proposed by Sacchini and Jouvancy, as if these were unproblematically factual. The same concerns brought about by the writing of the Historia Societatis led to the publication of the Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu, the most important historiographic work after the restoration of the Society (1824).

Keywords: Jesuits, historiography, Society of Jesus, selection, observation, archive, memory, Monumenta

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