Jesuit Political Thought

The Society of Jesus and the State, c.1540–1630

Jesuit Political Thought

How did the Society of Jesus develop and maintain a distinctive position on key questions of political thought such as ruler authority, the character and scope of positive law, the limits of obedience and the right to resist? Harro Hopfl presents a full-length study of the secular world--analyzed in its proper historical context--from a Jesuit perspective. Despite the significance of the Society of Jesus in Counter-Reformation Europe and beyond, important issues relating to the society's collective history remain misunderstood.


"This is an excellent book, well worth attention by a broad range of students and scholars." Renaissance Quarterly

"Long in preparation, this is the first attempt in some time to survey Jesuit political philosophy in the first century of the Society of Jesus. Höpfl traces key arguments in all the major Jesuit political treatises." CHOICE May 2005

"The result of this thorough research into the sources and judicious weighing of what Jesuits of the epoch actually thought helps the reader get to the core of the matter." - Journal of Church and State, Kevin B. Fagan, California State University, San Luis Obispo

"Höpfl's book spans a turbulent period of political history in an intelligent and exhaustive analysis. The book is a valuable addition to the relatively insubstantial historiography on the Society of Jesus in this period, surveying the intellectual contribution of the Society's headliners such as Francisco Suarez, Gabriel Vasquez, Robert Persons, and Juan de Mariana." - Sophie Nicholls, H-Ideas

Review of the hardback: '… meticulously researched, scholarly work, written with suavity and flair, dealing carefully with much of the huge amount of material which awaits the researcher in this field.' English Historical Review