Salvation and Globalization in the Early Jesuit Missions

Published by Cambridge University Press. As the back-cover blurb explains, "this is the first truly global study of the Society of Jesus's early missions. Up to now historians have treated the early-modern Catholic missionary project as a disjointed collection of regional missions, rather than as a single world-encompassing example of religious globalization. Luke Clossey shows how the vast distances separating missions led to logistical problems of transportation and communication incompatible with traditional views of the Society as a tightly centralized military machine. In fact, connections unmediated by Rome sprung up between the missions throughout the seventeenth century. He follows trails of personnel, money, relics, and information between missions in seventeenth-century China, Germany, and Mexico and explores how Jesuits understood space and time and visualized universal mission and salvation. This pioneering study demonstrates that a global perspective is essential to understanding the Jesuits and will be required reading for historians of Catholicism and the early-modern world."


These days two long-term research projects keep me out of trouble. Global Jesus looks at the world history of understandings of Jesus. It begins with the place of Jesus in the fourteenth-century work of Kamal Al-Din Al-Damiri on animal psychology and will conclude with Thomas Jefferson cutting apart the Bible to paste together his own gospel. In between the project traces ideas and images of Jesus around the globe, with an eye to better understanding the meaning and implications of both globalization and modernization. Tentatively named the History of Rose-Apple Island, Part II, the second project pairs a concise description of early-modern humanity with an overarching narrative informed by the “precolonial” perspective of Zhuangzi, Nagarjuna, and Bhartrihari. Students interested in these projects are invited to enroll in HIST 468 and HIST 472, respectively.