Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review
Antonio Possevino. I Gesuiti E la Loro Eredità Culturale in Transilvania. Atti Della Giornata Di Studio, Cluj-Napoca, 4 Dicembre 2007
Antonio Possevino. I gesuiti e la loro eredità culturale in Transilvania. Atti della Giornata di studio, Cluj-Napoca, 4 dicembre 2007. Edited by Alberto Castaldini. [Bibliotheca Instituti Historici Societatis Iesu, Voi. 67.] (Rome: Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu. 2009. Pp. xx, 188. euro40,00. ISBN 978-8-870-41367-0.)
The extraordinary development of studies of the Society of Jesus in recent years has still not extended to some leading Jesuits such as the Italian Antonio Possevino (1533-1611)- humanist; missionary; secretary of the Society of Jesus; diplomat; and, of course, bibliographer of the Counter-Reformation. Although many scholars have recently dealt with Possevino in partial investigations, no one has highlighted the depth and range of his multifaceted personality. The main merit of this book- which contains the proceedings of a December 2007 conference in Cluj-Napoca- is exactly the attempt to illuminate, in a limited period and a limited geographical scope, different traits of Possevino 's personality and work. Alberto Castaldini describes the early life of Possevino, analyzing the influence of his family (likely of Jewish origin) on his future life and the role of the important Gonzaga family; he tutored Francesco and Scipione, both future cardinals. At that time the presence of heterodox movements in Mantua could have influenced Possevino. Additionally, the alleged Jewish ancestry of Possevino and many Jesuits in the sixteenth century had a remarkable importance in the early history of the Society of Jesus, as shown by Robert A. Maryks's The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews: Jesuits of Jewish Ancestry and Purity-of-Blood Laws in the Early Society of Jesus (Leiden, 2009).
Marek Inglot, S.J., presents an overview of Possevino's activity from 1578 to 1 587 when he was pontifical legate in Sweden and Russia, trying unsuccessfully to convert the kings John Dl Vasa and Ivan IV "the Terrible" to Catholicism. The real success of his missions was the creation of educational institutions, in particular papal seminaries for Catholics (not only for people who intended to receive sacerdotal ordination) in Eastern Europe.
Vasile Rus describes the commitment of Possevino to missions in Transylvania, considered a strategic ground for stopping the Turkish advance, but also to the conversion of Muslims. …