After its founding in 1540 by an aristocrat turned spiritualist turned intellectual, Ignatius of Loyola, the Society of Jesus—or the Jesuits—established itself as one of the most influential and successful of all religious orders. The Jesuits were important in doctrine, politics, missionary work and of course education. At times they have been out of favour in the Vatican but they have produced a Pope too – Pope Francis. Markus Friedrich, Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Hamburg, has written The Jesuits: A History (Princeton UP, 2022), a comprehensive and readable history of the Jesuits – it was originally published in 2016 and is now out in an English translation.
Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press.
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