‘A Firestone of Divine Love’ Erotic Desire and the Ephemeral Flame of Hispanic Jesuit Mysticism
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CitationMarin, Juan Miguel. 2015. ‘A Firestone of Divine Love’ Erotic Desire and the Ephemeral Flame of Hispanic Jesuit Mysticism. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Divinity School.
AbstractA Firestone of Divine Love serves as capstone of two years Jesuit ministry and fifteen of academic study. It extends nine articles into a book project to be published by Gorgias Press. Its original thesis appeared as:
In the last decades of the sixteenth century the Society of Jesus prohibited its members the reading of several mystical texts. A theme that cuts across these texts is the use of erotic language to describe the relationship between the soul and God. I argue that behind the prohibition lies the fear that erotic desire would be a threat to a Jesuit masculine identity.
“Heterosexual Melancholia and Mysticism in the Early Society of Jesus”
Theology & Sexuality 13/2, 1/2007
Working across the disciplines of History of Christianity and Women, Gender and Sexuality studies, I integrate these articles and deepen the original thesis within its 16th century Hispanic context.
Chapter One introduces as historical setting the late medieval spirituality that inspired the first Jesuits to compose their order’s earliest spiritual texts, exemplifying it with the mystical doctrines of annihilation and deification. Chapter Two develops the first half of the deepened thesis: late medieval mysticism offered Jesuits of the first generation an erotic discourse that served as a space for grieving loss, even when within the confines of a gestating Jesuit masculine ideal.
Chapter Three develops the second half. Jesuits of the second generation succumbed to the popular views dominating in a late 16th c. Spanish atmosphere permeated by the Inquisition's association of heterodox spirituality with women, racial minorities, and sodomites. It links the 1573 edict against mysticism with the 1599 decree against the admission of racial minorities, the de-emphasis on the importance of women's ministry, and the condemnation of erotic interpretations of Christian bridal language as potentially moving Jesuits too close to feminized racial undesirables. Finally, Chapter Four explores the aftermath of 1599 and its impact on the ministry of Jesuits who, living in the margins and borderlands of the Hispanic empire, were able to preserve in their writings the tradition of Jesuit mysticism and ministry.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:15821962