The Making of an Enterprise: The Society of Jesus in Portugal, Its Empire, and Beyond, 1540-1750by Dauril Alden (review)
- The Catholic Historical Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 84, Number 2, April 1998
- pp. 335-340
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- Additional Information
BOOK REVIEWS335 MeanwhUe many who had heard the reformers' evangeUcal preaching, and were reading the gospels now appearing for the first time in the vernacular, thought and acted otherwise. Ideas spread (pamphleteering), missioners—and refugees—traveled. Where the medieval Catholic order was fully in control, as in South Tyrol, the ferment was at once vigorous but in the end successfuUy suppressed. Where that order was contested, as in Moravia to the North, here and there, there was wiggle-room. If the Tyrol was the womb of the Hutterite movement, Moravia, with its feudalist resistance to imperial power, served as cradle. In our own century, with its base communities and smaU Christian communities and charismatic groups and Bible churches, house churches, feUowship groups, and on and on, the story that PackuU teUs is profoundly instructive. But it is a scholarly work, for scholars, objectively and elegantly done. But between the scholars and the grass roots are the people who "man" (and "woman") the posts in established churches in all the traditions. Perhaps they are most in need of the story here told, and able to assimilate. This story needs to be transmitted for and to them. The one thing missing in the volume here viewed is a conclusion. Meanwhile PackuU has not only a distinguished research record from which this substantial volume emerges but hints of more to come. This reviewer can well forgo that summary as PackuU moves to the next stage. He is not yet ready to write a conclusion , and should not be distracted. And by the way, he is a Lutheran, not a "self-serving" communitarian! Paul Peachey The Catholic University ofAmerica (Emeritus) The Making ofan Enterprise:The Society ofJesus in Portugal, Its Empire, and Beyond, 1540-1750. By Dauril Alden. (Stanford: Stanford University Press. 1996. Pp. xxxi, 707. $75.00.) Worldwide evangelical campaigns by religious orders were inalienable parts of that period known until recently as the "expansion of Europe." No order was as dynamic, effective, or controversial as the Society or Company of Jesus, which received papal approval in 1540. Sons of Loyola were active partners in Portuguese and Spanish initiatives in establishing a European presence in Africa,Asia, and the Americas. For more than two decades Dauril Alden—whUe authoring a steady stream of meticulously researched and pioneering articles primarily on BrazU—has dedicated himself to researching the Portuguese Assistancy This included continental Portugal and its empire and parts of India,Japan, China, and Southeast Asia. This is the first of a projected two-volume study and carries the story from 1540 336book reviews to 1750. The primary focus is not on spiritual, educational, or cultural dimensions of the Assistancy, but on organization and economic and financia] underpinnings which enabled the Society to fuLfiU its mission as specified in the Constitutions and subsequent responsibUities not initiaUy considered. Reflecting this emphasis, the bulk of the book treats governance, recruitment, manpower , and fiscal administration (Part III, pp. 229-318) and financial resources and economic foundations of the enterprise (Part FV, pp. 321-567). Parts I and II provide an exceUent overview of the founding ofthe Society and Portuguese Assistancy, and expansion of the Jesuit enterprise into Africa, India, Asia, and Brazil. A concluding section examines lack of support beleaguering the Society at home when confronted by a hostile monarch, erosion in Southeast Asia and China,problems in India stemming from indigenous and European conquests of Portuguese holdings, successes in Brazil and even more heated controversy over aUegations of excessive wealth, and the suggestion that the sons of Loyola had strayed from God and embraced Mammon. Alden is global in his approach but the focus is on Portugal, India, East Asia, and Brazil. The author "locates" the Society with regard to medieval precedents and to contemporary orders in Europe, and readers wiU find comparisons to missionary activities in other European overseas empires. At all times the Jesuit enterprise is seen in the global context of mUitary, political, and economic change. He makes the important point that Jesuit pragmatism and close relations with secular and religious leaders in Europe and overseas enabled the Society to enjoy exceptional success but exposed it to hostility. In Portugal the fate of...