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Jesuits: History and Legend of the Society of Jesus Hardcover – May, 1984


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co; 1st U.S. ed edition (May 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688028616
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688028619
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,340,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation)

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. A. Hosek on April 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
When I was young I used to get Luther and Lucifer confused since the two names were generally spoken in the same tone of voice in the highly Catholic neighborhood where I grew up. I get the sense that Barthes, a German Lutheran, has much the same attitude towards Catholics despite a promising forward. A subtle anti-Catholic prejudice (fueled by a corresponding anti-Lutheran prejudice on the part of his Catholic neighbors) pervades the book which is a largely negative view of the Jesuit order although not quite at the paranoid fantasy level of a Jack Chick publication.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "alexey13" on February 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Fascinating and intriguing, extremely well written history of one of the most successful, enduring and influencing societies of medieval ages. It looks sometimes like a collection of anecdotes, but may be it is a single way to put a history in a form a normal person can actually understand and learn from.
It is all here - treachery and faith, arrogance and humility, desperate quench for knowledge and blunt obedience. A history of a society which did it best to find, train and give a reason to live for the smartest, ablest and the most initiative people of its time.
A must read for any person, already employed or looking for employment in a consulting industry, especially in a top tier management consultancy (McKinsey, Bain, BCG, etc.).
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Format: Hardcover
Manfred Barthel spices his history with a good deal of irreverence that does not besmirch his underlying reverence for the Society of Jesus, though the work is too brief to be regarded as more than semi-reliable. Barthel is concerned to deflect or defuse the more scandalous aspects of Jesuit reputation, but he merely glances away the criticisms of more virulent critics. He offers a brief Jesuit history, from Ignatius Loyola to the General of the Order at the time of writing, Pedro Arrupe. But he fails to give insights into the reasons for the Jesuit reputation for learning, or any explanation for how to accrued their wealth, the wealth that made them a target for many avaricious monarchs, the wealth that enabled them to build fabulously ornate churches like that of Il Gesu. He focuses heavily on Jesuit legend without dispelling it and without really giving much detail about it. The work is instead littered with provocative innuendos: Were John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald agents or dupes of the Jesuits? Was there any truth in the gossip that Jesuit seminarians were given classes on how to "wear fake beards or mix invisible ink".

He is convinced that the Jesuits were powerful but only toys with the implication that the Jesuits prevented the healing of the schisms between Catholics and the Orthodox churches or the Protestants sects. Barthel incites the reader to ask whether their form of missionary work essential for extending Catholicism outside Europe, or even if the Jesuits were not the original atheists rather than the Order most responsible for the defence of the faith.
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