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The Society of Jesus in Ireland, Scotland, and England, 1589-1597 Building the Faith of Saint Peter upon the King of Spain's Monarchy by Thomas M. McCoog

The Society of Jesus in Ireland, Scotland, and England, 1589-1597 Building the Faith of Saint Peter upon the King of Spain's Monarchy

Part of the Catholic Christendom, 1300-1700 Series


The Society of Jesus in Ireland, Scotland, and England, 1589-1597 Building the Faith of Saint Peter upon the King of Spain's Monarchy by Thomas M. McCoog

English Catholic voices, once disregarded as merely confessional, are now acknowledged to provide important perspectives on Elizabethan society. Based on extensive archival research, this book builds on previous studies for the first thorough investigation of the Jesuit mission to England during a critical period between the unsuccessful armadas of 1588 and 1597, a period during which the mission was threatened as much by internal Catholic conflict as it was by the crown. To address properly events in England, the study fully engages with the situation in Ireland, Scotland and the continent so as to contextualize the ambitions, methods and effects of the Jesuit mission. For England felt threatened not only by the military might of Spain but also by any assistance King Philip II might provide to Catholics earls and a vindictive James VI in Scotland, powerful nobles in Ireland, and English Catholics at home and abroad. However, it is the particular role of the Jesuits that occupies central place in the narrative, highlighting the way in which the Society of Jesus typified all that Elizabethan England feared about the Church of Rome. Through an exhaustive study of the many facets of the Jesuit mission to England between 1589 and 1597, this book provides a fascinating insight not only into Catholic efforts to bring England back into the Roman Church, but also the simmering tensions, and disagreements on how this should be achieved, as well as debates concerning the very nature and structure of English Catholicism. A second volume, The Society of Jesus in Ireland, Scotland, and England, 1598-1606 will continue the story through to the early years of James VI & I's reign.


'... rivalries between Jesuits and secular priests exploded and rows about the theologically correct way to behave in a Protestant country rose to new heights of complexity. It is this muddled but endlessly fascinating terrain that Thomas McCoog has chosen to explore. There is no better man for the job and I predict that this intricate, well researched and even-handed study will enjoy the label of definitive for a very long time.'
The Tablet

'This work is highly praised, and recommended for its fair and balanced reporting, and for the meticulous research undertaken by its author.'
Catholic Books Review

'McCoog's (frequently cross-referenced) narrative of these years makes for dense, demanding reading, but it repays the effort. Jesuits were among the most 'trans-national'
of any groups in the early modern period, and by tracing the personnel, institutional entanglements and ambitions of the Society through both British and European contexts, this study genuinely widens our perspective and invites us to see the bigger picture

Recusant History

'This impressive work of research engages a host of important questions about how and why a relatively small number of Jesuits and other Catholic clergy and laity were willing to risk so much against often-enormous odds... the reader is rewarded with an in-depth exposition of some of the early Society's most daring endeavors.'
Theological Studies

'The exhaustive nature of McCoog's treatment means that scholars of Elizabethan Catholicism will find his book a rich mine of information on the Jesuits and international politics.'

'There is so much more that could be said about this fascinating volume. The copious notes alone are a treasure trove for the sixteenth-century historian. The bibliography likewise testifies to the quality and range of McCoog's scholarship... [it] will undoubtedly be the definitive work on this subject for decades to come.'
Sixteenth Century Journal

'Only a person with his [McCoog's] unrivalled knowledge of the relevant archives could have written this book... The best tribute one can pay to the present volume is to say that its sequel is eagerly awaited.'
Archivum Franciscanum Historicum

'...this is a fascinating account of how the Society attempted to respond to the changing landscape of the Mission in an international context that was perhaps even more complicated than it had been before the Armada. Among its other insights is a reminder of the wealth of material in the Jesuit archive, which allows scholars both to revisit older interpretations and to point towards aspects of the English, Scottish and Irish Catholic story which deserve new investigation.'
English Historical Review

About the Author

Thomas M. McCoog, S.J. is editor and author of numerous books and articles on the early history of the Society of Jesus and in particular of Jesuit involvement in the British Isles. He is Curator of the Avery, Cardinal Dulles Archives at Fordham University and Jesuit-Regent of Fordham's London program, and archivist of the British Province of the Society of Jesus (London).

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Book Info

Publication date

28th January 2012


Thomas M. McCoog

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Ashgate Publishing Limited an imprint of Taylor & Francis Ltd


482 pages


Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700



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