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To Overcome OneselfThe Jesuit Ethic and Spirit of Global Expansion, 1520-1767$
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J. Michelle Molina

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520275652

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520275652.001.0001

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“To Overcome Oneself”

(p.1) Introduction
To Overcome Oneself

J. Michelle Molina

University of California Press

This chapter introduces the Spiritual Exercises as a meditative retreat aimed at overcoming oneself. The Exercises drew upon Hellenistic and Christian monastic precedent, yet were differently configured by Ignatius of Loyola and his new order of male religious, the Society of Jesus, for the new global age. The chapter highlights the key irony, namely, that one must learn to forge and know a self before this same self can be overcome. I argue for the importance of situating Latin America in the history of the formation of Western subjectivities. I also show how we can approach the problem of subject-formation from both a Foucauldian and a phenomenological standpoint, contending that embodiment can be a useful, if challenging, paradigm for historians of religion.

Keywords:   Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius of Loyola, Mexico, New Spain, subjectivity, Foucault, Merleau-Ponty, embodiment, techniques of the self, monasticism

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