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The Spiritual Exercises and the Ignatian Mystical Horizon

Harvey D. Egan

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Religion/Theologie


This book is a revision and condensation of a doctoral dissertation which its author wrote under the direction of the well-known Father Karl Rahner at the University of Munster. It focuses on the importance of St. Ignatius' small book, the Spiritual Exercises, as a source of theological investigation. Thus it stems from Rahner's own "conviction," as he states in his foreword, "that the real theological (and not only the spiritual) significance of Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises . . . presents a non-yet accomplished task to today's theology." Absorbing, synthesizing, and completing past studies on the Exercises, Father Egan summarizes the finding of modern scholars such as Przwara, Fessard, Karl Rahner, Hugo Rahner, Marxer, Cusson, Gil, Bakker, and Gonzalez de Mendoza--all hitherto relatively unavailable in English--and then presents his own fresh viewpoint. His quest is for Ignatius' mystical horizon, "the lived internal unity, . . . the roots of all of Ignatius' experiences, knowledge, and love." Applying the contemporary methodology in theology to the study of the Ignatian Exercises, the author offers a penetrating and comprehensive treatment of Ignatius' "consolation without previous cause," of the "Three Times of Election," including intellectual and affective discernment, the trinitarian dimensions of the Exercises, and other important Ignatian themes. The book is scholarly and extensively documented and seems to be the most comprehensive and up to date theological commentary in English on the Exercises. One experienced critic has called it "one of the greatest contributions to the present commentary on the Exercises."

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