A History of Historiography on Jesuit Exegesis
(9,008 words)

Luke Murray

Last modified: December 2016


Trent and the Vulgate 1

Like much of the order’s early life, the Council of Trent played a large role in the formation and mission of the Society of Jesus. In regards to biblical studies, it was Trent’s decree on the Vulgate and its relative silence on the use of Hebrew and Greek that influenced the Society’s approach to scripture. Unfortunately, Trent’s limited decree has led many contemporary scholars to believe that early modern Catholic exegesis abandoned humanist studies and retreated to the Vulgate and Scholastic theology.2 However, a closer examination of Trent and its reception reveals a different story.

The council fathers at Trent emphasized three particular areas of reform related to scripture during the fourth and fifth sessions held in 1546: the interpretation of scripture, the editing and printing of scripture, and the proclamation of scripture in the liturgy.3 When the topic of scriptural reform arose in the general congregation of March 1, 1546, a number of concerns were addressed. These included that different versions of the Bible were causing confusion, that linguistic and theological experts should produce a corrected Latin translation more “in line with Jerome’s Vulgate but improving it where necessary,” that “norms of interpretation” should be given that are “conformed to the sensus catholicus,” that restrictions on printing Bibles were needed, that if vernacular versions were to be allowed they “must first be examined to ensure their fidelity to the corrected Latin Bible,” and that “more stringent norms on qualifications for preachers and on the content of their sermons” should be given by the council.4 While some of these objectives would be accomplished after the council, the ambitious aims of the early, humanist-minded drafts were quickly tempered by national politics and the Scholastic arguments of Domingo de Soto (1494–1560), amongst others. Regarding the problem of vernacular translations, important differences existed among the council fathers. For example, in some countries, like Spain and England, they were prohibited (at least in principle), while in other regions, like the Italian peninsula and German-speaking lands, their reading was allowed and even encouraged.5 The fathers had to walk carefully in regard to the vernacular since siding with one side necessarily meant upsetting the other.6 Rather than risk an international incident and see the council permanently dissolve, the fathers chose to remain silent on the use of vernacular Bibles and allow bishops and local universities the freedom to continue their own traditions or to study the issue more closely.

Another source of confusion regarding translations was the integrity of the Greek manuscripts available at the time. Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536), following Augustine of Hippo (354–430), held that one should always consult the original Greek or Hebrew when translating into the Latin or vernacular. However, Martin Dorpius (1485–1525) and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda (1490–1573), among other scholars, argued that Erasmus’s Greek manuscripts were corrupt and therefore could not be trusted to correct the traditional Vulgate. With such distinguished Catholic scholars disagreeing among themselves and the ambiguous status of Greek manuscripts, it is understandable why the council was not anxious to abandon the traditional Vulgate or to emphasize the importance of the original Hebrew and Greek texts.

The fierce debates illustrate the genuine concern for scriptural reform, as well as the politico-religious constraints the council faced in addressing humanist studies. Unlike the earlier humanist drafts that desired to expand on the fifth Lateran council’s decree regarding the education of the clergy (to have the clergy become competent in the original languages), the final decree issued at the fourth session remained silent about studying the original languages or vernacular translations. Indeed, the pope was not pleased with the limited and “politically over-correct” decree on the Vulgate. He complained that the decree said nothing official on the Vulgate’s need to be revised or its relationship to the original languages (although it did discuss the possibility of revising the Vulgate). “The Legates answered that the Council indeed wanted the Vulgate revised to give the Church a Bible closer to the original texts, but had judged it prudent not to say this directly, to avoid giving a target for attack by opponents of the Roman Church.”7

While the council remained silent on politically charged questions, its fifth session gave a clear command for bishops to establish, fund, and personally run lectures on scripture. The council unambiguously affirmed the importance of studying scripture for each and every diocese, local church, and religious house, regardless of financial situation or personal talent. For example, if a bishop was not an expert in scripture or could not fulfill his obligation for whatever reason, then he must hire “competent persons” (viros idoneos) to take his place. If a church was too small or too poor to afford a teacher of theology, then the bishop would at least pay the living expenses of a “master of grammar” (magistro grammatico) who could teach scripture to clergy and other poor students free of charge.8 Furthermore, not only were bishops and religious orders charged with funding lectures on scripture, local princes and governments were also urged by the council to establish and fund such programs. The forceful language combined with the lengthy description of financial obligations show that the council was serious about scriptural reform. Its description of a “master of grammar” who was to teach scripture also implies that Trent envisioned scholars continuing to incorporate humanist studies into their works on scripture.

To conclude this section and provide the necessary background to the approach of Jesuit exegetes, even though Trent’s fourth session affirmed the Vulgate as authentica, that is, contained the genuine message of the Gospel and remained silent on vernacular bibles and original texts/languages, it did not condemn the use of either, as Jedin affirms: “The course of the debate […] leaves no room for any doubt that when it published this decree [on the Vulgate] it was not the intention of the Council to restrict the study of the original languages of the Bible, still less to stop it.”9 Furthermore, the fifth session, while not specifically mentioning biblical-humanistic methods, clearly encouraged and stimulated Catholic biblical scholarship in the late sixteenth century through its decree on biblical institutes and chairs.10


The Jesuit’s Approach to Scripture11

With Trent looming in the background, the Jesuit’s approach to scripture was also formed by the often tense interaction between humanism and Scholasticism. Formed at Paris, Ignatius of Loyola (c.1491–1556) and the first Jesuits were thoroughly formed in the Scholastic method and thought of Thomas Aquinas (1225–74). Studying “philosophy,” Ignatius and his band followed the late-medieval program of logic, dialectics, physics, astronomy, metaphysics, ethics, psychology, and other subjects based on the works of Aristotle.12 Although Ignatius himself did not receive a doctorate in theology, he declared in the Constitutions that Aquinas was their preferred author for “scholastic doctrine.”13 In addition to a formation in Scholastic theology, Ignatius’s spirituality and a more open approach led the order to cautiously embrace the humanist movement in the sixteenth century. In their schools, they strove to present Scholastic philosophy “in new garments,” taking advantage of the fruits of the humanist movement and the ethical value of the ancients.14

The ethical content of the classics and their necessity for the cultivation of a pleasing and persuasive style of discourse for ministry were the principal basis on which the Jesuits justified the classics for themselves. But they also argued that the study of the classics was helpful for understanding Scripture, and when they taught Hebrew in their schools it was with that purpose in mind. They were still in accord with standard humanistic arguments for the revival of good letters, but here they betrayed more caution than Erasmus and some Protestant reformers.15

While embracing humanism, the Jesuits were generally cautious in applying humanistic tools to doctrine, especially in regard to the Vulgate. They were enthusiastic about the rhetorical and literary dimensions of the studia humanitatis, but they were more conservative about when and how historical and philological criticism should be applied to sacred teaching, texts, and traditions.16 O’Malley believes that while Jerónimo Nadal (1507–80) was at Paris, he was aware of the harsh backlash against the “grammarians” who would “intrude” into the realm of doctrine with their humanistic tools. The Jesuits surely wanted to avoid this label being attached to their own budding schools since they relied entirely on the generosity of the local population for their school’s funding. Nadal, of course, did urge young Jesuits to study Scholastic theology because “otherwise one hesitated in perplexity over grave issues of doctrine.”17 Nadal’s attitude was conservative in favoring Scholasticism but not entirely negative on the emendations of the biblical text that the humanists advanced. In 1554, however, Nadal again distanced himself from the “insolence and temerity of the grammarians” but affirmed that he approved the light their studies shed on the Bible. Study of languages was, he maintained, absolutely necessary in the Catholic Church.

After Trent’s decree in 1546 that the Vulgate was authentica and to be the received edition in the church, Nadal agreed that it was “necessary to hold the editio vulgata as most holy,” but also argued that the study of Hebrew and Greek were needed to make its meaning more clear.18 In 1555, it was Ignatius who held that the Jesuits should study the original languages in order to defend the Vulgate on every single point: defender en todo.19 According to O’Malley, Diego Laínez (1512–65) and Alfonso Salmerón (1515–85), who were at Trent and knew that the council had been cautious in its approbation of the Vulgate, were quick to change Ignatius’s position by interpreting him to mean “everything that with reason and honesty can be defended.”20

One essay that provides insight into the Jesuit’s attempt to incorporate humanism and Scholasticism is Jared Wicks’ essay “Catholic Old Testament Interpretation in the Reformation and Early Confessional Eras.”21 While more will be said later regarding this article, Wicks believes that the Jesuits strove to integrate the philosophy and theology of Aquinas into their knowledge of scripture in its original languages. According to Wicks, “Jesuit biblical studies rested on knowledge of languages, the humanities, philosophy, and systematic theology. Jesuit expositors of scripture were theologians; their students learned the Bible’s theological, moral and spiritual doctrine.”22 Wicks’s view is also in line with the information included in the Jesuit Ratio studiorum of 1599, the official guidelines for Jesuit education.23 The document states that superiors should elect scripture teachers who are experts in Greek and Hebrew, who focus on the literal sense, and whose goal is to form virtuous and dedicated Christians. It also specifies that while the Vulgate should be the basis of instruction, one should still study the original languages and ancient texts in order to “gain light” from them. Thus, the guidelines discouraged obscure questions and elaborate arguments and stated that a Jesuit exegete must always take into account relevant church teaching and respectfully draw on the fathers.24 However, the nuanced position regarding the study of the languages and historical studies of scripture, revealed in the debates and the teaching of the early Jesuits, would soon be forgotten, overshadowed by a debate regarding the position of the sun.


The Galileo Affair and Jesuit Exegesis

In addition to the limited decrees of Trent, the other incident that contributed towards a negative view of Jesuit exegesis was the affair surrounding Galileo Galilei (1564–1642). Perhaps more than anything else, the condemnation of the scientist led many scholars to associate Catholic exegetes as opposing the legitimate findings of science, both in regards to the physical universe and also in respect of the literal interpretation of scripture. As recent scholarship is starting to show, however, the situation was much more complex and the resulting stigma for Jesuit theologians and exegetes is now starting to dissipate.25 One thing is for certain, though: Trent loomed large in the background during the period and influenced Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621) and other Jesuits’ approach to scripture during the affair. For example, in addition to citing the rapid decision made by church authorities, Olaf Pedersen, in his article “Galileo and the Council of Trent: The Galileo Affair Revisited,” argues that the affair is best explained by the Trent stressing the primacy of the literal interpretation of the Bible. According to Pederson, this emphasis on the literal sense influenced church authorities to interpret key passages on the movement of the Earth in a literal or “physical” manner.26 Irving Kelter, in his work, “The Refusal to Accommodate: Jesuit Exegetes and the Copernican System,” acknowledges that while the Jesuit opponents of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543) did not reject the idea of accomodatio in the interpretation of scripture (especially since Galileo cites Augustine’s use of it in his defense), they did “see themselves as the defenders of the old intellectual order.”27 Kelter explains that while the Jesuits were open to new ideas and were often pioneers in early modern science, the Jesuit superior general Claudio Acquaviva’s (1543–1615) recent order for Jesuits to return to “solid and uniform doctrine” led exegetes to double down on the traditional Aristotelian worldview and the belief that the Bible taught scientific truth.  Furthermore, Volker R. Remmert’s essay, “Picturing Jesuit Anti-Copernican Consensus: Astronomy and Biblical Exegesis in the Engraved Title-Page of Clavius’s Opera mathematica (1612)” reveals the influence which biblical images had on Jesuit exegetes.28 In addition, two other books that provide solid studies of the issues include Kenneth Howell’s God’s Two Books: Copernican Cosmology and Biblical Interpretation in Early Modern Science and Richard Blackwell’s Galileo, Bellarmine, and the Bible.29 Blackwell situates the affair among more general theological disputes viewing the incident primarily as one about obedience to church authorities and not essentially about religion or science. Perhaps the most helpful account of the affair is Howell’s work since it shows how complex the use of the Bible was in the early modern era and why it is wrong to view it as a Copernican/anti-Copernican dichotomy.30

The common notion that the Bible functioned mainly as a deterrent to the acceptance of Copernicanism is very wide of the mark because both Copernicans and non-Copernicans viewed the Bible as offering truth about the physical universe, albeit in different ways. The appeal to accommodation on the part of the Copernicans was recognized also by non-Copernicans, but from this recognition they drew different conclusions […]. An adequate analysis of the hermeneutics involved requires a more refined understanding of literal interpretation, a notion that is not unitary or complicated. What appears most important is the notion of truth, especially mathematical truth.31

Howell continues and explains that in addition to Acquaviva’s order affirming the “traditional order,” the apparent universal consensus of the fathers (recently affirmed by Trent) against heliocentrism led many Jesuit exegetes to interpret passages such as Psalm 93 and Joshua 10 as condemning Galileo’s findings. However, as Howell, Blackwell, Kelter, and others have shown, the Jesuit order did not blindly follow a simple literal or “physical” interpretation of the Bible, but that the indictment of Galileo was a complex affair both in regards to their understanding of biblical interpretation and in regard to early modern science in general.32


Major Works on the History of Catholic Exegesis, and the Place of the Jesuits Therein

With the rise of Richard Simon (1638–1712), Baruch Spinoza (1632–77), and others, the old approach to exegesis typified by the Jesuits soon gave way to the beginning of the historical critical method. Although Simon did not provide a judgment on Jesuit exegesis itself, his works, especially on the commentators of the Old and New Testaments, remain a valuable resource for those interested in early modern Jesuit exegesis.33 In general, Simon was critical of Jesuits such as Cornelius a Lapide (1567–1637) who incorporated church doctrine, spiritual senses, or any other topics in their exegesis, which he judged to be “far from the text.”34 Distinguishing between “the method of the ancient Fathers” and those of the “new interpreters who focus only on the literal sense,” Simon praised Jesuits such as Francisco de Toledo (1532–96) and Juan Maldonado (1533–83) for their efforts to study the literal sense by means of original texts and humanistic methods.35 To summarize his position, insofar as Jesuit exegetes employed more humanistic and critical methods, namely those of the “new interpreters,” Simon praised their work, but insofar as they drew on doctrine and the tradition of the church, he judged them critically.

After Simon and with the rise of the historical critical method (a topic too far afield for this essay), many scholars began to neglect and criticize the biblical approach of the Jesuits. While individual Jesuits would continue to be mentioned and even praised in theological or encyclopedic works during the next few centuries (such as those by Jean-Noël Paquot [1722–1803], Jean Astruc [1684–1766], Matthias Scheeben [1835–88], Rudolph Cornely [1830–1908], and Hugo Hurter [1832–1914]), it would not be until twentieth century when a more thorough analysis of Jesuit exegesis would take place.36

While Jesuit exegesis was largely ignored for almost three hundred years, the four hundredth anniversary of the Council of Trent spurred renewed interest in Jesuit exegesis in the early modern era. In particular, a number of articles on Jesuit exegetes appeared between 1920 and 1960 with Juan Maldonado and Cornelius a Lapide receiving the most attention. Characteristic of the era, most of these works were by fellow Catholics who were more positive in their assessment of Jesuit exegesis, especially in regard to their attempt to incorporate historical/humanistic methods into an approach compatible with the traditions and teachings of the Catholic Church. Although some may consider their approach less than scientific, apologetical, or even “hagiographical,” their works remain an interesting resource for those interested in Jesuit exegesis. The two most important scholars during this period were Romualdo Galdós (1885–1953) at the Gregorian University and Alberto Vaccari (1875–1965) at the Pontifical Biblical Institute.37 Galdós deserves special mention since he published articles on almost every important Jesuit exegete of the early modern era.

The most important monograph that studied Catholic exegesis during the early modern era and which included a solid section on Jesuit exegesis was Victor Baroni’s La Contre-Réforme devant la Bible.38 The Protestant minister’s 1943 (repr. 1986) study remains a vital resource for getting a broad overview of the key issues and figures of the period as Baroni addresses the biblical question before, during, and after Trent, as well as covering the most important Jesuit exegetes.39

With the coming of Vatican II, the interest in Jesuit exegesis waned as even Catholic scholars began to distance themselves from the (supposedly) reactionary stance taken by Tridentine exegetes.40 This distance is still evident today as a brief look through a textbook on hermeneutics reveals a jump from Martin Luther (1483–1546), John Calvin (1509–64), and the other Reformers, straight to the pioneers of the historical critical method. Due to the previously mentioned factors (Trent’s limited decree, Galileo affair, Vatican II, etc.), Catholic figures after Trent, including Jesuits, were not considered to be serious scholars of scripture. If Catholic hermeneutics were considered, the most common topics addressed focus on the church’s rebuttal of the Protestants’ sola scriptura, Erasmus and the battle between humanism and Scholasticism, and the Council of Trent’s affirmation of the traditional canon and the authenticity of the Vulgate; little to no attention was paid to Catholic exegesis itself. Even Louis Pascoe, S.J.'s influential 1966 article, “The Council of Trent and Bible Study: Humanism and Scripture,” gave vent to the prejudices that may be at the origin of this lack of interest, viz. that Catholic exegetes after Trent abandoned their work in Hebrew and Greek and took refuge in the Vulgate and Scholastic philosophy. Pascoe’s article provided an excellent timeline and summary of the fourth and fifth sessions that addressed the interpretation of scripture but gave the tendentious impression that Catholic (and Jesuit) humanistic studies of scripture all but ended after Trent, being vanquished by Domingo de Soto’s (1494–1560) Scholasticism and the fear of Protestantism.

In the final analysis, the failure of the bishops to make the required institutional changes in the education of the clergy rendered the biblical movement at Trent ineffective. By the time the Council had finally decreed the establishment of seminaries in 1563, humanism as a factor in theology had run its course; a renascent scholasticism dominated theological studies. What the role of the Word of God might have been in the post-Tridentine Church had the new institutional changes been successfully combined with humanistic methodology is the realm of pure conjecture.41

In addition to Pascoe, Norbert Lohfink S.J., while acknowledging a limited “golden age” in Catholic biblical studies during the period (especially in Spain), nevertheless denies that this flourishment of Catholic biblical scholarship was the result of Trent.42 While Lohfink and Pascoe may have been influenced by the spirit of the 1960s that saw too sharp a dichotomy between the renewal after Vatican II and the “step backwards” the Tridentine church was alleged to have taken, Gerald Bray, in his work Biblical Interpretation: Past & Present, reveals that this attitude was alive and well in 1996:

By the time a distinctive Catholic theology emerged, after the Council of Trent (1545–63), it was anti-humanistic and ultra-traditional. Later Catholic writers repudiated their predecessors such as Cajetan, and they turned back more and more to patristic and medieval interpretation. This conservatism was coupled with a defensive mentality which ensured that any originality of thought would be suspected of heresy. In such a climate, biblical scholarship was a dangerous activity, and it was more successful than many people would like to think, but it was not creative. There was no Catholic equivalent of covenant theology, and no real encouragement to read the Scriptures, even among the clergy.43

While there is some truth to Brays’s assessment, these prejudices are slowly starting to dissipate in modern scholarship and a more nuanced view of Catholic and Jesuit exegesis is emerging. In this regard, the next major work on Catholic exegesis after Baroni’s work is Jean-Paul Delville’s 2004 book, L’Europe de l’exégèse au XVIe siècle: Interprétations de la parabole des ouvriers à la vigne. Delville’s extensive monograph on “the parable of the workers in the vineyard” dives deep into the biblical world of the sixteenth century and provides excellent access to the biblical commentaries produced during the period. In addition to listing the prominent versions and translations produced in the sixteenth century (the first part of the work), he also studies fifty sixteenth-century commentaries and sermons on Mt 20:1–16 (the second half of the work). In his section on the commentaries, Delville divides up the century into four epochs: 1516–25 (the emergence of new commentaries), 1527–42 (the commentaries in the tradition of Luther: la foulée de Luther), 1544–63 (commentaries in dialogue), and 1564–98 (commentaries and hierarchies of the senses). In addition to his outstanding bibliography, the most pertinent part of Delville’s work for this essay is where he examines the exegesis of key Jesuits—Maldonado, Salmerón, and Nadal—and the importance of the Spanish biblical school to Catholic exegesis.44 Although he approaches each commentary primarily from the framework of linguistic analysis, Delville’s work remains an extremely valuable tool for properly situating the work of Jesuits within their historical context. For example, it allows one to compare the approach of an important Jesuit like Maldonado on the literal and spiritual senses to practically every commentator in the sixteenth century.

Another helpful work for studying early modern Catholic/Jesuit exegesis is the previously mentioned article by Wicks. Although his focus is on Old Testament interpretation, Wicks addresses the key influences on Catholic biblical scholarship during the era, such as the founding of the Jesuit order, and introduces a number of prominent scholars of the period including a few Jesuits. He begins by addressing the biblical hermeneutics of Tommaso de Vio (1469–1534), his Hebrew canon, and the reception of his commentaries.45 Next, in sections two and three, Wicks turns to the Council of Trent and its decrees on scripture, the Vulgate, and biblical interpretation in general. Wicks’s grasp of the relevant material is impressive and his concise writing is easy to read. One would be hard pressed to find a more concise article introducing one to Trent’s position on the canon, apostolic traditions, the “authenticity” of the Vulgate, the interpretation, diffusion, the teaching of scripture, and the general status of the Vulgate at the time.46 After discussing the Vulgate, Wicks includes a short section on biblical studies in the early Jesuit order.47 Finally, the last part of Wicks’s article introduces the reader to six Catholic biblical scholars in the second half of the sixteenth century: Sixtus of Siena (1520–69), Francisco Foreiro (1522–81), Andreas Masius (1514–73), Maldonado, Benito Perera (1535–1610), and Bellarmine.48 Despite the brevity with which he treats each figure (only a page or two on each), Wicks’s essay remains an outstanding source for acquainting oneself with the general biblical environment in which Jesuits approached the biblical text. Furthermore, his essay is likely responsible for beginning to overturn the widespread view that historical/humanistic studies of scripture were vanquished by the limited decrees of Trent on the Vulgate. His treatment of the six figures confirms that Catholic scholars were attempting to incorporate historical studies into their approach while also trying to remain faithful to the church’s dogmatic teaching.

Another important essay that gives an introduction to Catholic exegesis during the early seventeenth century is Pierre Gibert’s article: “The Catholic Counterpart and Response to the Protestant Orthodoxy” found in the second volume of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament edited by Magne Sæbø.49 In summarizing the life and works of Jacques Bonfrère (1573–1642), a Lapide, and Jean Morin (1591–1659), Gibert argues that the seventeenth century witnessed a new scientific/historical and (almost) ecumenical approach to scripture between Catholics and Protestants. Gibert believes that these three scholars “distanced themselves from anti-Protestant polemic” and even perhaps engaged in the so-called “Republic of Letters” that eventually allowed for the relatively peaceful exchange of ideas in the later seventeenth century before flowering in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when biblical works freely crossed confessional lines.50 Even though Gibert gives a misleading remark in his conclusion that neither Bonfrère, a Lapide, or Morin could be called “a great mind” (presumably because they did not take their scientific approach far enough, like Spinoza or Simon), nevertheless, Gibert’s work is helpful in situating the second generations of Jesuit exegetes during their “golden age.”


Literature Focused on Jesuit Exegesis

Although the works mentioned above provide an overview of Jesuit exegesis or touch on key figures, there are only a few works that directly study Jesuit exegesis itself. The first essay to do this was Augustin Bea’s 1942 article “La Compagnia di Gesù e gli studi biblici."51 Although outdated, Bea’s article is a good starting point for those who read Italian since he gives a summary of the order’s early history and explains the humanist influence on Trent as well as on Ignatius's and Nadal’s approach to scripture.52 In addition, Bea devotes a considerable section to how the Jesuits sought to incorporate knowledge of every discipline into their approach, especially knowledge of languages.53 Finally Bea discusses a number of key exegetes (a Lapide, Maldonado, Toledo, Bellarmine, among others) arguing that although their philological and critical knowledge may be outdated by modern standards, their biblical work still carries tremendous value for exegetes interested in a more theological approach to scripture.54

After Bea’s article, there is also an entry by Maurice Gilbert in the Diccionario histórico de la Compañía de Jesús entitled “Biblia sagrada.”55 It is a helpful introduction since it provides an extensive list of Jesuit exegetes throughout the order’s history. Gilbert takes a chronological approach as he quickly mentions the key figures and issues dating from the order’s founding, through the “golden age” (1563–1660), and the “obscure centuries” (1660–1880), before ending with the “awakening of biblical studies” (1880–1998) and the key Jesuit exegetes in the twentieth century. Gilbert’s short entry, despite not providing a systematic analysis, is valuable since it allows one to be quickly acquainted with large numbers of figures and their most important works.

After these two essays, there appears to be only my own dissertation entitled “Jesuit Exegesis after Trent: Franciscus Toletus & Cornelius a Lapide.” While the work focuses primarily on the biblical hermeneutics of Toletus (or Toledo) and a Lapide (and especially their commentaries on John), it does provide a more extensive discussion on the secondary literature on the two figures, as well as on the Council of Trent, the Jesuit order’s approach to biblical studies, and the Leuven/Douai biblical milieu, one of the main centers of the “golden age” of Catholic exegesis. In addition, the thesis incorporates elements from three of my other articles, including my essay on Toledo, an article on a Lapide’s knowledge of Hebrew, and my essay on grace, free-will, and predestination in prominent early modern Catholic biblical commentaries.56 Among other things, I argue that a more nuanced judgment on Jesuit exegesis is needed, one that takes into account its incorporation of humanistic studies while also trying to remain faithful to the teachings and tradition of the Catholic Church.

Although there is clearly a lack of works on Jesuit exegesis itself, there have been a few studies devoted to individual exegetes. In this regard, the three most famous Jesuit commentators on scripture are Maldonado, a Lapide, and Bellarmine. Examining the approach and literature on these three figures is an excellent place to start for one interested in the Jesuit exegesis.


Juan Maldonado

One of the most talented early Jesuit exegetes was certainly Juan Maldonado. His Gospel commentaries, in particular, received special praise, and were studied by scholars as diverse as Richard Simon and Henning Reventlow.57 The first work on Maldonado is J.M. Prat’s 1856 book Maldonat et l’Université de Paris au XVI siècle. Although Prat did not explicitly examine his biblical hermeneutics, the monograph served as the standard for examining Maldonado’s life, historical setting, and especially his experience of teaching and founding the Jesuit college at the University of Paris.58 After Prat, there were a number of earlier works dedicated to a particular passage or aspect of Maldonado’s biblical approach.59 More recently, Paul Schmitt updated the biography of Maldonado in his 1985 monograph La réforme catholique: Le combat de Maldonat, describing the Spanish Jesuit as one of the most important protagonists against Protestantism.60 In 1995, Rogelio de la Garza gave the most thorough treatment of Maldonado’s exegesis in his dissertation “Las parabolas en la exégesis de Juan Maldonado.”61 In addition to providing the best bibliography, in part of his second chapter, de la Garza discusses the principles of Maldonado’s biblical approach by examining his commentary on Matthew. He describes Maldonado’s hermeneutics as focusing on the literal sense (with a strong emphasis on original languages), having an apologetic character, beginning to be more critical of patristic authors, and as “one of the initiators of modern exegesis.”62


Cornelius a Lapide

Cornelius a Lapide and his massive commentaries have likely received the most treatment in secondary literature.63 Limiting myself to more recent works (see my dissertation for a review of earlier works), three monographs have addressed a Lapide’s theology and each include sections on his biblical hermeneutics: Raymund Noll’s 2003 work Die mariologischen Grundlinien im exegetischen Werk des Cornelius A Lapide SJ (1567–1637), Gerhard Boss’s 1962 book Die Rechtfertigungslehre in den Bibelkommentaren des Kornelius a Lapide, and James Presta’s 2005 dissertation “Cornelius a Lapide’s Biblical Methodology Used in Marian Texts and its Comparison with a Contemporary Approach.”64 Noll’s work provides the best chapter on a Lapide’s biblical approach (Presta largely follows Noll) and characterizes a Lapide’s textual-critical work as being below the level of Willem Hessels van Est (1542–1613) and Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536).65 However, Noll also points out that he had the same goal as the two figures, namely, understanding the literary sense of the passage and discovering the intention of the author by studying the passage in its historical and literary context. In this regard, Noll summarizes a Lapide’s method as one founded on church fathers and primary sources.66

In my dissertation, I examine programmatic passages from his commentaries, where a Lapide reveals his position on the nature of scripture, the relationship between scripture and traditions, his approach to interpretation, the Vulgate and the original Greek and Hebrew texts, and his position on the different senses of scripture. Ultimately, I conclude by that while a Lapide did not transition to the modern, critical study of scripture, he sought to engage in “biblical theology,” and, as de Lubac articulated, was devoted to the “spiritual meaning” of scripture. Furthermore, I characterize a Lapide’s biblical hermeneutics as prophetic due to his reliance on Aquinas’s prophetic epistemology; as pneumatic since he strongly affirms the role of the Holy Spirit; and as ecclesial due to his belief in the authoritative and guiding role of the magisterium of the Catholic Church and its traditions.67


Robert Bellarmine

Although Bellarmine published only one biblical commentary on the Psalms, he deserves to be mentioned due to the influence his commentary had on his contemporaries and the Council of Trent. The best article on his approach (in addition to the previously mentioned work by Blackwell on the Galileo affair),68 is a 2010 essay by R. Gerald Hobbs entitled “Reading the Old Testament after Trent: Cardinal Robert Bellarmine and His Italian Predecessors on Psalm Four.”69 In this excellent article, after providing a good overview of the Council of Trent’s influence on biblical studies and on the Italian school of exegesis, Hobbs examines Bellarmine’s approach, focusing on his moderate knowledge of Hebrew and his preference for Augustine and the Greek Septuagint over the Masoretic text.70 Finally, in addition to James Brodrick’s older work Robert Bellarmine: Saint and Scholar, there is also Peter Godman’s work entitled Robert Bellarmine between Inquisition and Index.71


Exegesis in Jesuit History: John W. O’Malley

Of course, there have been many works dedicated to the history of the Jesuit order and a few of them touch on Jesuit exegesis.72 Like most areas of Jesuit history, the work of John O’Malley S.J. deserves pride of place, and in particular, the following two works: The First Jesuits and Trent: What Happened at the Council.73 While this essay will limit itself to his book The First Jesuits, all of O’Malley’s works deserve a close reading for one interested in the Jesuit order. In regard to Jesuit exegesis, The First Jesuits is particularly insightful since it situates the order’s approach to exegesis within their larger mission and historical context, while also introducing the key figures in the early history of the order.74 For example, although briefly, O’Malley skillfully discusses the delicate relationship between humanism and Scholasticism for the early exegetes and the complex relationship the order had with the works of Erasmus.75


Jesuit Exegesis in Other Overview Articles

Jesuit exegesis is also treated in other overview articles dedicated to the history of exegesis. In addition to the work of Bray mentioned earlier, another good essay is Guy Bedouelle and Bernard Roussel’s “La Réforme catholique” in the fifth volume of the excellent series Bible de tous les temps, entitled Le temps des Réformes et la Bible.76 Like Wicks, Bedouelle and Roussel start with the Council of Trent and touch on the relationship between scripture and traditions, the canon, the authenticity of the Vulgate, and its reform decrees in the fourth and fifth sessions.77 In section two of the work, the authors provide a solid overview of the biblical issues after the council including the production of the “Sixto-Clementine Bible,” the Roman Breviary, the Missal, and the Catechism.78 The last section of their article is directly pertinent to this essay as it touches on Salmerón, Nadal, Maldonado, and a Lapide, among others.79

While much of Henning Reventlow's excellent work History of Biblical Interpretation, Volume 3: Renaissance, Reformation, Humanism deals with the Bible in the Protestant Reformation, it does include a short chapter entitled "The Bible at the Time of the Counter-Reformation, Late Humanism, and Orthodoxy."80 Although most of the chapter discusses the work of Hugo Grotius (1583–1645) and Abraham Calov (1612–86), one part reviews the method of Maldonado, examining how the Jesuit order approached the Bible primarily in terms of refuting Protestant interpretations.81 The essay provides a solid summary of Maldonado’s life and approach to biblical studies, even if it falls prey to the common prejudice that confessional concerns became “stumbling blocks that on the Catholic side held exegesis in dogmatic fetters and prevented any progress” until the Second Vatican Council.82

Finally, mention should be made of two other similar overview works: Joseph Crehan’s “The Bible in the Roman Catholic Church from Trent to the Present Day,” in the Cambridge History of the Bible and Christophe Ocker’s “Scholastic Interpretation of the Bible” in the volume A History of Biblical Interpretation.”83 In addition, there is the excellent resource of Klaus Reinhardt entitled Bibelkommentare spanischer Autoren.84Although not exclusively dedicated to Jesuits, Reinhardt provides an extensive list of Spanish exegetes and their biblical works from the years 1500–1700. While he usually only gives a short introduction to most figures, his all-encompassing knowledge of the manuscripts and commentaries is impressive. His reference work surely merits the first place for one studying a Spanish exegete in the early modern era.



In conclusion, there is a great need for more work on Jesuit exegesis. As old prejudices fade away, a more nuanced view of the order’s attempt to incorporate humanist studies into their faith-filled approach is necessary. While it is clear that their historical knowledge was deficient by modern standards, their interdisciplinary approach, grounded in faith and respect for the teachings of their tradition, may be a fruitful area of research for those interested in the relationship between faith and historical critical exegesis. Furthermore, the Jesuits approach to scripture, since it clearly acknowledges its reliance on faith and the doctrines of the Catholic Church, may even receive renewed interest from those interested in comparing approaches in a postmodern context where acknowledging one’s presuppositions is appreciated and viewed in a more positive light.


For more bibliographical information, consult Boston College Jesuit Bibliography: The New Sommervogel Online (NSO).


^ Back to text1. The following section has been drawn from my recent dissertation: Luke Murray, “Jesuit Exegesis after Trent: Franciscus Toletus & Cornelius a Lapide” (PhD diss., Katholieke Universiteit Leuven/Ave Maria University, 2016), 22–27.

^ Back to text2. Cf. Murray, “Jesuit Exegesis after Trent,” 1–2.

^ Back to text3. Concilium Tridentinum: Diariorum, actorum, epistolarum, tractatuum nova collectio [CT], ed. Societas Goerresiana (Freiburg: Herder, 1901), 1:29–30, lines 74–75, quoted in Louis B. Pascoe, “The Council of Trent and Bible Study: Humanism and Scripture,” The Catholic Historical Review 52, no. 1 (1966): 18–38, here 20. For a recent translation of Trent’s decrees on the scripture, see Dean Bechard, The Scripture Documents: An Anthology of Official Catholic Teachings (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2002), 3–10. For the decrees in Latin and English, see Norman Tanner, Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils (London: Sheed & Ward, 1990).

^ Back to text4. Cf. Jared Wicks, “Catholic Old Testament Interpretation in the Reformation and Early Confessional Eras,” in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation, Vol. 2: From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, ed. Magne Sæbø (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008): 2:617–48, here 627–29; Hubert Jedin, A History of the Council of Trent, trans. Ernest Graf (London: T. Nelson, 1961), 2:68–71; John W. O’Malley, Trent: What Happened at the Council (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), 94–99.

^ Back to text5. Cf. Wim François, “La Iglesia Católica y la lectura de la Biblia en lengua vernácula, antes y después del Concilio de Trento,” Mayéutica 39 (2013): 245–73.

^ Back to text6. Jedin, Council of Trent, 67–68.

^ Back to text7. Wicks, “Catholic Old Testament Interpretation,” 629; O’Malley, Trent, 98–99; Jedin, Council of Trent, 2:94–98.

^ Back to text8. “Ecclesiae vero, quarum annui proventus tenues fuerint, et ubi tam exigua est cleri et populi multitudo, ut theologiae lectio in eis commode haberi non possit, saltem magistrum habeant, ab episcopo cum consilio capituli eligendum, qui clericos aliosque scholares pauperes grammaticam gratis doceat, ut deinceps ad ipsa sacrae scripturae studia annuente Deo transire possint. Ideoque illi magistro grammatices […].” See the Fifth Session of Trent’s “Decree Concerning Reform,” CT, 5:241–43. For a recent translation, see Bechard, Scripture Documents, 4–6; Tanner, Decrees, 2:668. For more on Trent’s decrees on scripture and the Vulgate see: Arthur Allgeier, “Authentisch auf dem Konzil on Trient: Eine Wort- und Begriffsgeschichtliche Untersuchung,” Historisches Jahrbuch 60 (1940): 142–58; Arthur Allgeier, “Ricardus Cenomanus und die Vulgata auf dem Konzil von Trient,” in Das Weltkonzil von Trient, Vol. 1: Sein Werden und Wirken, ed. Georg Schreiber (Freiburg: Herder, 1951): 1:359–80; A. Allgeier, “‘Haec vetus et vulgata editio’: Neue wort- und begriffsgeschichtliche Beiträge zur Bibel auf dem Tridentinum,” Biblica 29, no. 4 (1948): 353–90; Hildebrand Höpfl, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Sixto-Klementischen Vulgata (Freiburg: Herder, 1913); Henri Quentin, Mémoire sur l’établissement du texte de la Vulgate. Collectanea Biblica Latina 6 (Rome: Desclée et Cie, 1922); Beniamino Emmi, “Una votazione pro o contro i testi originali della S. Scrittura al Concilio di Trento,” Angelicum 34 (1957): 379–92; Salvador Muñoz Iglesias, “El decreto tridentino sobre la Vulgata y su interpretación por los teólogos del siglo XVI,” Estudios bíblicos 5 (1946): 137–69; Edmund F. Sutcliffe, “The Council of Trent and the Authentia of the Vulgate,” Journal of Theological Studies 49 (1948): 35–42; Antonio García-Moreno, “Reflexiones en torno a la Session IV de Trento,” in La Bibbia “Vulgata” dalle origini ai nostri giorni, ed. Tarcisio Stramare (Rome: Libreria Vaticana, 1987): 40–60; Wicks, “Catholic Old Testament Interpretation,” 2:624–36.

^ Back to text9. Jedin, Council of Trent, 2:92.

^ Back to text10. Cf. Wim François, “Augustine and the Golden Age of Biblical Scholarship in Louvain (1550–1650),” in Shaping the Bible in the Reformation: Books, Scholars and Their Readers in the Sixteenth Century, ed. Bruce Gordon and Matthew McLean (Leiden: Brill, 2012): 235–89, here 235–36.

^ Back to text11. This section has also drawn from my dissertation: Murray, “Jesuit Biblical Studies after Trent,” 27–33.

^ Back to text12. John W. O’Malley, The First Jesuits (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), 216.

^ Back to text13. Ignacio de Loyola, Sancti Ignatii de Loyola Constitutiones Societatis Jesu (Rome: Monumenta Historica Societatis Jesu, 1934), 464.

^ Back to text14. O’Malley, Jesuits, 254–55.

^ Back to text15. Ibid., 256.

^ Back to text16. Ibid., 257.

^ Back to text17. Ibid.

^ Back to text18. Ibid., 256–57.

^ Back to text19. Loyola, Constitutiones Societatis Jesu, 1:191, 1:203, 1230; 2:183; O’Malley, Jesuits, 257.

^ Back to text20. O’Malley, Jesuits, 257; Loyola, Constitutiones Societatis Jesu, 1:393–94.

^ Back to text21. Wicks, “Catholic Old Testament Interpretation,” 2:617–48.

^ Back to text22. Ibid.,” 2:637.

^ Back to text23. Loyola, Constitutiones Societatis Iesu (Rome: In Collegio eiusdem Societatis, 1583). For an English translation, see The Constitutions of the Society of Jesus and Their Complementary Norms: A Complete English Translation of the Official Latin Texts (St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1996), 366–68. For more on the Ratio studiorum, see Luce Giard, “Les collèges jésuites des anciens Pays-Bas et l’élaboration de la Ratio studiorum,” in The Jesuits of the Low Countries: Identity and Impact (1540–1773), ed. Leo Kenis and Rob Faesen (Leuven: Peeters, 2009), 83–108; John W. O’Malley, “From the 1599 Ratio studiorum to the Present: A Humanistic Tradition?” in The Jesuit Ratio studiorum, ed. Vincent J. Duminuco (New York: Fordham, 2000), 127–44.

^ Back to text24. Cf. László Lukács, Monumenta paedagogica Societatis Iesu. Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu, 92 vols. (Rome: Institutum Historicum Societatis Jesu, 1965), 5:92, 107–08, 124, 129, 140–41. For the Jesuit rule regarding the professors of scripture and Hebrew, see 5:383–85. For the rule for all professors and advanced faculties, see 5:380–83. See also Wicks, “Catholic Old Testament Interpretation,” 2:637–38.

^ Back to text25. Cf. J.L. Heilbron, Galileo (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010); Richard J. Blackwell, Behind the Scenes at Galileo’s Trial (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006); William R. Shea and Mariano Artigas, Galileo in Rome: The Rise and Fall of a Troublesome Genius (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).

^ Back to text26. Olaf Pedersen, “Galileo and the Council of Trent: The Galileo Affair Revisited,” Journal of the History of Astronomy 14 (1983): 1–29.

^ Back to text27. Irving A. Kelter, “The Refusal to Accommodate: Jesuit Exegetes and the Copernican System,” in The Church and Galileo, ed. Ernan McMullin (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005), 38–53, here 46. See also George V. Coyne, “The Jesuits and Galileo: Fidelity to Tradition and the Adventure of Discovery,Forum Italicum 49, no. 1 (2015): 154–65.

^ Back to text28. Volker R. Remmert, “Picturing Jesuit Anti-Copernican Consensus: Astronomy and Biblical Exegesis in the Engraved Title-Page of Clavius’s Opera mathematica (1612),” in The Jesuits II: Cultures, Sciences, and the Arts (1540–1773), ed. John W. O’Malley et al. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006), 291–313.

^ Back to text29. Kenneth James Howell, God’s Two Books: Copernican Cosmology and Biblical Interpretation in Early Modern Science (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2002); Richard Blackwell, Galileo, Bellarmine, and the Bible (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991).

^ Back to text30. Howell, God’s Two Books, 10–12.

^ Back to text31. Ibid., 11.

^ Back to text32. In this regard, see the excellent article by Sheila J. Rabin, “Early Modern Jesuit Science: A Historiographical Essay,” Journal of Jesuit Studies 1, no. 1 (2014): 88–104 (doi:10.1163/22141332-00101006).

^ Back to text33. Cf. Richard Simon, Histoire critique du Vieux Testament (Paris: Suivant la copie imprimée à Paris, 1680); R. Simon, Histoire critique des principaux commentateurs du Nouveau Testament (Rotterdam: n.p., 1693).

^ Back to text34. For Simon’s discussion of Cornelius a Lapide, see Simon, Histoire critique du Vieux Testament, 475.

^ Back to text35. For Simon’s treatment of Toledo, see Simon, Histoire critique du Vieux Testament, 607. See also Jean Steinmann, Richard Simon et les origines de l'exégèse biblique (Bruges: Desclée de Brouwer, 1960); Francis Nichols, “Richard Simon, Faith and Modernity,” in Christianity and the Stranger: Historical Essays, ed. Francis Nichols (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1995), 115–68; Scott Hahn and Benjamin Wiker, Politicizing the Bible: The Roots of Historical Criticism and the Secularization of Scripture, 1300–1700 (New York: Crossword Publishing, 2013), 395–423.

^ Back to text36. Cf. Jean-Noël Paquot, Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire littéraire des dix-sept provinces des Pays-Bas, de la principauté de Liège et de quelques contrées voisines (Louvain: Imprimerie académique, 1765); Jean Astruc, Conjectures sur les mémoires originaux dont il paroit que Moyse s’est servi pour composer le livre de la Genèse (Brussels: n.p., 1753); Matthias Scheeben, Handbuch der katholischen Dogmatik, 6 vols. (Freiburg: Herder, 1882); Hugo Hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae, 5 vols. (Innsbruck: Wagner, 1907); Rudolph Cornely, Historica et critica introductio in U.T. libros sacros, 3 vols. (Paris: Lethielleux, 1885); R. Cornely, Compendium introductionis in omnes libros utriusque Testamenti (Paris: Merk, 1927).

^ Back to text37. A few of their key works on Jesuit exegesis include: Romualdo Galdós, “De scripturisticis meritis Patris Cornelii a Lapide I & II,” Verbum Domini 17 (1937): 39–44, 88–96; R. Galdós, “De canonibus exegeticis apud P. Cornelium a Lapide,” Verbum Domini 17 (1937): 146–52; Galdós, “Le troisieme centenaire de la mort du P. Cornelius a Lapide, S.J.,” Nouvelle revue theologique 64 (1937): 1103–10; Galdós, “Méritos escriturísticos del Cardenal Francisco de Toledo S.I.” Archivio teolégico granadino 3 (1940): 19–33;  Galdós “En el cuarto centenario del nacimiento de Maldonado (1533–1933),” Estudios eclesiásticos 13 (1934): 73–89; Alberto Vacarri, “Historia Exegeseos,” in Institutiones biblicae scholis accomodatae, Vol. 1: De scriptura in universum, ed. Alberto Vaccari (Rome: Pontificum Institutum Biblicum, 1925), 241–92; Vaccari, Historiae exegeseos compendium (Rome, n.p., 1928); Vaccari, “Esegeti ed esegesi al Concilio di Trento,” Biblica 27 (1946): 320–37; Vaccari, Scritti di erudizione e di filologia, 2 vols. (Rome: Storia e Letteratura1952–55). See also Rafael Criado, “El Concilio de Trento y los estudios bíblicos,” Razón y fe 4 (1945): 151–78.

^ Back to text38. Victor Baroni, La contre-réforme devant la Bible: La question biblique (Lausanne: La Concorde, 1943); Jean-Pierre Delville, L’Europe de l’exégèse au XVIe siècle: Interprétations de la parabole des ouvriers à la vigne (Matthieu 20,1–16). Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium 174 (Leuven: Peeters, 2004).

^ Back to text39. Baroni, Contre-réforme devant la Bible, 245–87.

^ Back to text40. This section has also drawn from my recent dissertation: Murray, “Jesuit Biblical Studies after Trent,” 1–2.

^ Back to text41. Pascoe, “The Council of Trent and Bible Study,” 38.

^ Back to text42. Norbert Lohfink, “Die Katholische Bibelwissenschaft,” in Abschied von Trient: Theologie am ende des kirchlichen Mittelalters, ed. Josef Bielmeier (Regensburg: Pustet, 1969), 63–73, here 63: “So ist, vor allem für Spanien, die Zeit zwischen 1500 und 1650 oft geradezu als das “goldene Zeitalter” der katholischen Exegese bezeichnet worden. Es war sicher falsch, in dieser Blüte der Exegese eine Auswirkung des Reformkonzils von Trient zu sehen.”

^ Back to text43. Gerald Bray, Biblical Interpretation: Past & Present (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 209.

^ Back to text44. Delville, L’Europe de l’exégèse au XVIe siècle; on Maldonado, Salmerón, and Nadal see 517–50; on the importance of the Spanish school see 552–53.

^ Back to text45. Wicks, “Catholic Old Testament Interpretation,” 2:617–23. Patrick Preston and Allan Jenkins also discuss the commentaries of Cajetan, as well as the reactions against his methods: Allan Jenkins and Patrick Preston, Biblical Scholarship and the Church: A Sixteenth Century Crisis of Authority (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007), 149–226, 267–88.

^ Back to text46. Wicks, “Catholic Old Testament Interpretation,” 2:624–36.

^ Back to text47. Ibid., 2:636–39.

^ Back to text48. Ibid., 2:639–48.

^ Back to text49. Pierre Gibert, “The Catholic Counterpart and Response to the Protestant Orthodoxy,” in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation, Vol. 2: From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, ed. by Magne Sæbø (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008), 2:758–73.

^ Back to text50. Gibert, “Catholic Counterpart,” 2:772–73.

^ Back to text51. Augustin Bea, “La Compagnia di Gesù e gli studi biblici,” Analecta Gregoriana 29 (1942): 115–43.

^ Back to text52. Ibid.,115–21.

^ Back to text53. Ibid., 124–29.

^ Back to text54. Ibid., 133: “Certamente la parte filologica, critica, storica e archeologica di questi commentari oggi, dopo tante ricerche e tanti progressi, in molti punti è antiquata e superata; ma la discussione dottrinale, teologica ancor oggi ha il suo pieno valore, e l'esegesi moderna indubbiamente potrebbe guadagnare moltissimo approfittando dei tesori accumulati in quei grossi volumi dei grandi esegeti del secolo XVI e XVII.”

^ Back to text55. Maurice Gilbert, “Biblia Sagrada,” in Diccionario históríco de la Compañía de Jesús, 4 vols., ed. Charles E. O’Neill and Joaquín M.a Domínguez (Madrid: Universidad Pontificia Comillas, 2001), 1:437–43.

^ Back to text56. Luke Murray, "Catholic Biblical Studies After Trent: Franciscus Toletus," Journal of Early Modern Christianity 2, no. 1 (2015): 61–85; Murray, “The Fall of Judas: Grace, Free-Will, and Predestination in Early Modern Catholic Biblical Commentaries,” Augustiniana 65, no. 3/4 (2015): 185–203; Murray “Jesuit Hebrew Studies After Trent: Cornelius a Lapide,” Journal of Jesuit Studies 4, no. 1 (2017): 76–97.

^ Back to text57. Simon, Histoire critique du Vieux Testament, 605–13; Reventlow, History of Biblical Interpretation, 3:199–209.

^ Back to text58. J.M. Prat, Maldonat et l’Université de Paris au XVI siècle (Paris: Julien Lanier, 1856).

^ Back to text59. Romualdo Galdós, “En el cuarto centenario del nacimiento de Maldonado (1533–1933),” Estudios eclesiásticos 13 (1934): 73–89; J. Marcano, “La oración de Cristo por la santificación de los Apóstoles (Io. 17, 17–19) según J. Maldonado, S.J.” (PhD diss., Pontifical Gregorian University, 1942); Raymond Deville, “Assidua lectio S. Scripturae studiosis Theologiae necessaria, juxta Maldonatum,” Verbum Domini 29 (1951): 107–11; José Ignacio Tellechea Idígoras, Metodología teológica de Maldonado (Vitoria: Scriptorium Victoriense, 1954); Ángel Luis Iglesias, “Mt 1–2 en Maldonado,” Estudios Josefinos 59 (1976): 41–570.

^ Back to text60. Paul Schmitt, La réforme catholique: Le combat de Maldonat. Théologie Historique 74 (Paris: Beauchesne, 1985).

^ Back to text61. Rogelio de la Garza, “Las parábolas en la exégesis de Juan Maldonado” (PhD diss., Athenæum Romanum Sanctæ Crucis, 1995).

^ Back to text62. De la Garza, Parabolas, 1–9, 56–76. De la Garza also includes a helpful bibliography for finding other articles on different aspects of Maldonado’s theology: De la Garza, Parabolas, 289–91. Adam Beaver is also working on a book that will address Maldonado and the Spanish Jesuits’ approach to scripture: Adam G. Beaver, Hebrew’s Empire: The Bible in Spain, 1000–1800 (forthcoming).

^ Back to text63. Since it would take up too much space in this essay, I refer the reader to my dissertation for a thorough review of (the generally older and more limited) secondary literature on a Lapide: Murray, “Jesuit Exegesis after Trent,” 83–101.

^ Back to text64. Raymond Noll, Die mariologischen Grundlinien im exegetischen Werk des Cornelius a Lapide (1567–1637) (Regensburg: Friedrich Pustet, 2003). For Noll’s treatment of a Lapide’s biblical hermeneutics, see 81–111; Gerhard Boss, Die Rechtfertigungslehre in den Bibelkommentaren des Kornelius a Lapide (Munich: Aschendorff, 1962), 23–32; James Presta, “Cornelius a Lapide’s Biblical Methodology Used in Marian Texts and Its Comparison with a Contemporary Approach” (PhD diss., University of Dayton, 2005).

^ Back to text65. Noll, Die mariologischen Grundlinien, 95–96: “Was die Textkritik betrifft, bleibt Cornelius gewiss hinter manchen seiner Zeitgenossen, etwa Estius oder Erasmus von Rotterdam zurück. Trotz allem verbindet ihn mit beiden der Welle, zuerst den Literalsinn einer Stelle herauszuarbeiten. Mit dem Philologen Erasmus lässt er sich insofern vergleichen, als er bewusst zu den Quellen zurückgehen möchte […].”

^ Back to text66. Noll, Mariologischen Grundlinien, 97.

^ Back to text67. Murray, “Jesuit Exegesis after Trent,” 102–25, 165–68.

^ Back to text68. Richard Blackwell, Galileo, Bellarmine, and the Bible (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991).

^ Back to text69. R. Gerald Hobbs, “Reading the Old Testament after Trent: Cardinal Robert Bellarmine and His Italian Predecessors on Psalm Four,” Reformation & Renaissance Review 12, no. 2/3 (2010): 207–34.

^ Back to text70. Hobbs, “Cardinal Robert Bellarmine,” 228–32.

^ Back to text71. James Brodrick, Robert Bellarmine: Saint and Scholar (Westminster, MD: Newman, 1961); Peter Godman, The Saint as Censor: Robert Bellarmine between Inquisition and Index (Leiden: Brill, 2000). See also Robert W. Richgels, “Scholasticism Meets Humanism in the Counter-Reformation: The Clash of Cultures in Robert Bellarmine's Use of Calvin in the Controversies,” Sixteenth Century Journal 6, no. 1 (1975): 53–66.

^ Back to text72. Carlos Sommervogel, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus: Nouvelle édition, 12 vols. (Brussels: Oscar Schepens & Alphonse Picard, 1890–1932); László Polgár, Bibliographie sur l’histoire de la Compagnie de Jésus, 3 vols. (Rome: Institutum Historicum Societatis Jesu, 1901–81); Alfred Poncelet, Histoire de la Compagnie de Jésus dans les anciens Pays-Bas: Établissement de la Compagnie de Jésus en Belgique et ses développements jusqu'à la fin du règne d’Albert et d’Isabelle (Brussels: M. Lamertin, 1927).

^ Back to text73. John W. O’Malley, The First Jesuits (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993); O’Malley, Trent: What Happened at the Council (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013). See also O’Malley, “From the 1599 Ratio studiorum to the Present: A Humanistic Tradition?” in The Jesuit Ratio studiorum, ed. Duminuco, 127–44.

^ Back to text74. See especially chapter 7, “Religious and Theological Culture,” in O’Malley, First Jesuits, 243–83.

^ Back to text75. Ibid., 253–64.

^ Back to text76. Guy Bedouelle and Bernard Roussel, “La Réforme catholique,” in Le temps des Réformes et la Bible, ed. Guy Bedouelle and Bernard Roussel (Paris: Beauchesne, 1989), 327–68. Bedouelle also has a simpler version of this essay translated into English in the second volume of the series A History of Biblical Interpretation: Guy Bedouelle, “Biblical Interpretation in the Catholic Reformation,” in A History of Biblical Interpretation, ed. Alan Hauser and Duane Watson (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2003), 2:428–49.

^ Back to text77. Bedouelle and Roussel, “Réforme catholique,” 327–50.

^ Back to text78. Ibid., 350–60.

^ Back to text79. Ibid., 361–66. They describe a Lapide’s commentaries as classical exegesis par excellence during the Catholic Reform: “Elle apparaît rétrospectivement comme le classique par excellence, la référence de la Bible telle qu’elle est lue dans la Réforme catholique” (367–68).

^ Back to text80. Henning Graf Reventlow, Epochen der Bibelauslegung, Vol. 3: Renaissance, Reformation, Humanism (München: C.H. Beck, 1997). Reventlow’s work was eventually translated into English in 2010: H. Reventlow, History of Biblical Interpretation, Vol. 3: Renaissance, Reformation, Humanism, trans. James O. Duke (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2010).

^ Back to text81. Reventlow, History of Biblical Interpretation, 199–209.

^ Back to text82. Ibid., 208.

^ Back to text83. Joseph Crehan, “The Bible in the Roman Catholic Church from Trent to the Present Day,” in The Cambridge History of the Bible: The Reformation to the Present Day, ed. Stanley Lawrence Greenslade (London: Cambridge University Press, 1963), 199–237; Christopher Ocker, “Scholastic Interpretation of the Bible,” in A History of Biblical Interpretation, ed. Alan Hauser and Duane Watson (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2003).

^ Back to text84. Klaus Reinhardt, Bibelkommentare spanischer Autoren (1500–1700), 2 vols. (Madrid: Centro de Estudios Históricos, 1990). See also, Ricardo García Villoslada, Historia de la Iglesia en España, 3 vols. (Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, 1980); Antonio Astrain, Historia de la Compañía de Jesús en la Asistencia de España, 6 vols. (Madrid: Administración del Razón y Fe, 1912).

Cite this page
Luke Murray, “A History of Historiography on Jesuit Exegesis”, in: Jesuit Historiography Online. Consulted online on 30 March 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2468-7723_jho_COM_193804>
First published online: 2016

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