Author (Your Name)

Sam Atkins, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. History Dept.


Larissa Taylor

Second Advisor

Lupovitch, Howard


Humanism has often been associated with secular advancements and the opposite of religious dogma. However, the development of humanism in the sixteenth-century coincided with the rise of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and the Jesuits. Therefore, it is not surprising to find that Ignatius shared many of the same goals as the humanists. Erasmus was the most famous humanists of the Renaissance. One of his principle objectives was to bring forth a revival of classical studies and an appreciation for their scholarship, rhetoric, and civic virtue. Analysis of Ignatius and the Jesuits reveals that they were influenced by the humanists and embraced certain classical ideals. The story of Ignatius's life is captured in the autobiography, A Pilgrim's Journey. This narration embraces the humanistic objective to record history accurately in the same way as ancient historiographers such as Livy. The Spiritual Exercises were composed by Ignatius during his travels as a "Pilgrim", and reflect how he gained spiritual knowledge through introspection. The Exercises are also a reflection of the classical tradition. Indeed, within the Greco-Roman tradition there are similar exercises which seek to improve the conscience. Finally, the expressive style utilized by the Jesuits in their preaching reflects the classical rhetoric of great orators such as Cicero.


Ignatius, of Loyola, Saint, -- 1491-1556, Jesuits -- History, Humanism, Religious, Humanism

Included in

History Commons