Anti-Jesuit Broadsheet (2nd Half of the 16th Century)
This broadsheet explores a common theme in anti-Jesuit polemics. It depicts a Jesuit who has disguised himself as a devil in order to convert a Protestant maid. His attempt fails, however, and he is stabbed to death. According to the text, this event occurred in Augsburg in 1569. The Jesuits (actually Societas Jesu) were a Catholic order founded in 1534 by Ignatius of Loyola. Members of this order not only took vows of poverty, abstinence, and obedience, they also took a special “papal vow,” which identified them as particularly loyal to the Pope. Aside from missionary work, the Jesuits devoted themselves to education, and Jesuit schools and universities exist to this day. During the Counterreformation, they were actively involved in reconverting Protestant communities to Catholicism. They enjoyed particular success in Poland. Woodcut, German, 2nd half of the 16th century.
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