Modeling the Mystic : The Life and Afterlife of Luis de la Puente’s Vida del P. Baltasar Álvarez

Timothy O’Brien, S.J., vice-président associé pour la mission au College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA) et historien de la spiritualité chrétienne, a soutenu sa thèse de doctorat aux facultés de Loyola Paris en novembre 2023, donnant lieu à la parution de cet ouvrage.

Baltasar Álvarez (1533–1580) was a prominent early Spanish Jesuit.

Most widely known for having been confessor to St. Teresa de Jesús (1518–1582) for more than six years, Álvarez is also known for having been censured by his Jesuit superiors, ostensibly for having taught and practiced a form of prayer other than the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.

The fact that Álvarez contains a place in the history of spirituality is due in large part to the Vida del P. Baltasar Álvarez by his junior confrere, Luis de la Puente (1554–1624).

Published in 1615, la Puente’s Vida set a model for interpreting Álvarez and his historical significance that endured for centuries. The present study, part of a broader reconsideration of Álvarez and his significance for the history of Jesuit spirituality, surveys la Puente’s model and its reception by later authors. It sketches the context and salient features of la Puente’s Vida, traces how other authors took up and transformed the model he created, and shows how it came under increasing strain in the twentieth century.

A new account of Álvarez’s place in the history of spirituality is necessary. This must be built, however, on a solid grasp of the various understandings of Álvarez that have endured for over four hundred years.

Timothy O’Brien
Date de publication
Lundi 01 Avril 2024