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97 Franciscan Studies 61 (2003) DIEGO DE ESTELLA ON LUKE 15: 11-32 Introduction The New Catholic Encyclopedia contains the most readily available thumbnail sketch of Diego de Estella (1524-1578) for English readers.1 What its author says about Estella’s Libro de la vanidad del mundo2 and his Meditaciones devotisimas del amor de Dios3 is well taken: “He wrote with unusual power and persuasive beauty, appealing to all Christians, for he held that all are called to the life of contemplation.” However, what the author writes about Estella’s two volumes of commentary on Luke’s Gospel is misleading, as she summarizes 998 pages of doublecolumn Latin commentary in this wise: “His commentary on St. Luke was censured by the Inquisition, but he died before trial. His order defended him for several years until the case was finally dropped.”4 With these two sentences the author dismisses a commentary that was very influential and much sought after in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and has much to teach us today. It’s as if one 1 Two other English treatments of Estella are both over fifty years old. See E. Allison Peers, Studies of the Spanish Mystics, Volume 2 (London: Sheldon, 1930), 219-249, 436-442; on 438 #1541 Peers provides a list of the various editions of Estella’s Commentary on the Gospel according to Luke. See also E. Allison Peers, The Mystics of Spain, Ethical and Religious Classics of the East and West 5 (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1951), 19, 9193 . 2 There is an English translation of the Italian translation of the Spanish original: The contempte of the world and the vanities thereof, Reprint of the 1584 edition, English Recusant Literature, 1558-1640, volume 242 (Ilkley: Scolar Press, 1975). 3 See Misticos franciscanos españoles. Volume III (Madrid: Biblioteca de autores cristianos , 1949). The first twenty-five of Estella’s one hundred meditations were translated by Henry W. Pereira in Meditations of the Love of God (London: Burns & Oates, 1898). This volume was reprinted: London: Thomas Baker, c. 1910. Peers, Studies of the Spanish Mystics, 439 #1597 indicates that there is a translation of all one hundred meditations, but published with Robert Southwell given as the author: A Hundred Meditations on the love of God (London: 1873). 4 All references are to M. F. Laughlin’s article on “Diego of Estella,” in New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 4, second edition (Detroit: Thomson/Gale, 2003), 739. Laughlin’s article is a reprint of the article published in the first edition of 1967. For a more detailed encyclopedia article see Donat de Monleras, “Estella (Diego de San Cristóbal),” Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique: Doctrine et histoire, Volume 4, Part 2 (Paris: Beauchesne, 1961), 1366-1370. 98 ROBERT J. KARRIS assessed the very influential, two-term presidency of William Jefferson Clinton by baldly saying: “He was impeached, but he was acquitted.” As we will see, there is far more to the story of Estella’s commentary on Luke’s Gospel. But we must first assess the role the Inquisition played in its editions and dissemination. Estella’s Commentary on the Gospel of Luke and the Spanish Inquisition In my translation of Estella’s commentary on the parable of the prodigal son I used the two-volume edition published in Lyon in 1592.5 The long title page of volume one has: F. Didaci Stellae Minoritani de Observantia, In Sanctum Iesu Christi Euangelium secundum Lucam, doctissima pariter & piissima Commentaria, Hactenus deprauissime excusa, nunc vero marginalibus notationibus illustrata, locupletata, & ab erroribus, plus mille, ac quingentis maximi momenti non modo sensum interturbantibus, sed etiam saepissime contrarium significantibus, vindicata, & ad Sancta Inquisitionis Hispaniae Senatvs Decreta, summa fide & diligentia repurgata. Lyon: Ex officina Jvntarum, MDXCII. It is important to note that not only is this edition new and improved with respect to the editions of Salamanca (1574-1575) and Alcalá (1577-1578) because of marginal notes and corrections of numerous typographical mistakes, but that it also has been corrected according to “The Decrees of the Office of Holy Spanish Inquisition.”6 I follow E. Allison Peers’ summary account of how Estella’s 5 Volume I deals with Luke 1-9 and has 464 pages. Volume...


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