Jesuit Polymath of Madrid

The Literary Enterprise of Juan Eusebio Nieremberg (1595–1658)

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In Jesuit Polymath of Madrid D. Scott Hendrickson offers the first English-language account of the life and work of Juan Eusebio Nieremberg (1595-1658), a leading intellectual in Spain during the turbulent decades of the mid-seventeenth century. Most remembered as a prominent ascetic in the neo-Platonic tradition, Nieremberg emerges here as a writer deeply indebted to the legacy of Ignatius Loyola and his Spiritual Exercises.

Hendrickson convincingly shows how Nieremberg drew from his formation in the Jesuit order at the time of its first centenary to engage the cultural and intellectual currents of the Spanish Golden Age. As an author of some seventy-five works, which represent several genres and were translated throughout Europe and abroad, Nieremberg’s literary enterprise demands attention.

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Biographical Note

D. Scott Hendrickson, S.J., D.Phil. (2013), Oxford University, is Assistant Professor of Spanish Studies and Graduate Program Director at Loyola University Chicago. He has published articles on catechetical texts used in seventeenth-century Spain and the Jesuit reductions of Paraguay.

Review Quotes

“Thoroughly and carefully researched, elegantly written, and clearly organized, this study serves as an excellent introduction to Nieremberg and his age. […] This book is a landmark achievement.”
Carlos Eire, Yale University. In: Journal of Jesuit Studies 3/4 (2016), pp. 694-696.

“Essential reading for those interested in Jesuit studies and the intellectual history of early modern Spain.”
Xavier Tubau, Hamilton College. In: Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 2 (Summer 2017), pp. 767-769.

“This volume is an excellent introduction to Spanish literary and spiritual motifs of the seventeenth century. Hendrickson ably succeeds in his case for Nieremberg’s continued place in the pantheon of Jesuit writers.”
Barton T. Geger, SJ, Regis University, Denver. In: Theological Studies 77/3 (2016), pp. 742-743.

“Como suele ser habitual en la editorial Brill, la factura del libro es magnífica en cuanto a su impresión, encuadernación e ilustración, destacando en esto último las acertadas incursiones que realiza en la pintura del sevillano Valdés Leal, el último gran pintor alegórico del Barroco español. Valoriza más la edición la inclusión de útiles apéndices (una bibliografía nierembergiana completa y una selección de decretos trentinos aludidos), de una completa y bien clasificada bibliografía y de un imprescindible índice onomástico y temático en donde se trasluce la enorme cantidad de recursos empleados en esta exitosa investigación.”
Francisco José Aranda Pérez, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha. In: Vínculos de Historia 5 (2016), pp. 381-383.

Table of contents

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction
Chapter 1. Juan Eusebio Nieremberg
Introduction
The Jesuit
Faithful Son of Saint Ignatius
Christian Discernment
The Ignatian Exercises: Seeking and Finding the Divine Will
Discernment in Early Modern Spain
Nieremberg and the Exercises
Jesuit Ministry of the Word
Erudite Eclecticism
Conclusion
Chapter 2. Catechetical Innovations
Introduction
Catechetical Context: Crying Tears of Blood
Nieremberg and Trent
The Voice of Doctrine
The Catechetical Examples: Entertaining Digressions
Narrative Appeal: The Open Roads of Spain
Contemplating the Example: To Bring to Memory
Assimilating the Example: The Story of One’s Life
The Wider Application of the Exemplo
Conclusion
Chapter 3. Contemplating the Book of Nature
Introduction
Nieremberg’s Natural Philosophy
The Miscellanies: Part Knowledge, Part Wonder
Knowledge of the Natural World: Ad perfectam cognitionem
Reading the Book of Nature: Harmony and Deformity
Contemplating the Book of Nature: The Consideration
Applying the Lessons of Nature: Deus me fecit
Conclusion
Chapter 4. The Spiritual Exercise of Reading
Introduction
The Eusebio
Proper Knowledge
Contemptus mundi
Didactic Iconography: Ser and Parecer
A Spiritual Itinerary
Meditative Reading
Conclusion
Chapter 5. Public Maladies and Prudent Reform
Introduction
Words of Counsel
The Pain of National Decline
The Cause
The Remedy
Prudent Reform
Conclusion
Conclusion
Appendix 1. Bibliography of Works by Juan Eusebio Nieremberg
Appendix 2. Cited Decrees from the Council of Trent
Bibliography
Index

Readership

All interested in the history of the Jesuits, the literature and culture of the Spanish Golden Age, the seventeenth century in Spain, and the writer Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, S.J.

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