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date: 09 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The early modern Society of Jesus was the first global religious order. This chapter analyses the theory and practice of the Jesuits’ missions to non-Christians as these were understood by Ignatius of Loyola (the founder of the Society) and developed by his successors. It focuses on the work of prominent Jesuit missionaries whose pastoral strategies were considered models within the Society. The chapter underscores the Jesuits’ commitment to the accommodation of non-Christian traditions; Jesuit contributions to science, comparative religion, and other fields; conflicts between Jesuits and European officials and settlers, especially in the Iberian world; and divisions within the Society concerning mission work. The chapter concludes with reflections on the relationship between evangelization and theology and on directions for future research on Jesuit missions in their global context.

Keywords: Jesuits, early modern Catholicism, mission, evangelization, accommodation, inculturation, religious conversion

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