Exercitia spiritvalia Ignatij de Loyola. of Loyola Ignatius, Saint.
Exercitia spiritvalia Ignatij de Loyola.
Exercitia spiritvalia Ignatij de Loyola.
Exercitia spiritvalia Ignatij de Loyola.

Exercitia spiritvalia Ignatij de Loyola.

Rome: Collegio Societatis Jesu, 1596.

Price: $16,000.00

Duodecimo: 10.4 x 7 cm. 254, (10) pp. Collation: A-Q8, R4 With the woodcut Jesuit emblem on the title page.


Jesuit emblem on title-page, wood-cut initials throughout. A very good copy of this rare edition. Small area of corrosion at head of the title page, not affecting text, as the result of an early ink inscription. Contents with scattered foxing and occasional light damp-stains and a few ink spots. Bound in 17th c. sprinkled calf (some abrasions to boards, minor wear to foot of spine, extremities rubbed, corners lightly bumped), spine and board edges richly gilt, marbled endpapers. This is one of the rarest of all 16th century editions of the "Exercises". I have located only six copies in the U.S. (Newberry Library, Boston College, Texas, Scranton, Fordham, Georgetown).

The first edition of the definitive vulgate text of the Spiritual Exercises, with annotations to the text, drawn up by a commission appointed by the Fifth General Council of the Society (Nov. 1593- Jan. 1594). The revision brought the Latin text, which was approved by Ignatius and presented to Pope Paul III in 1548, into closer agreement with the text of the "autograph", a manuscript of the Exercises in Spanish, with corrections in Ignatius' own hand. The purpose of this editorial work was to produce an edition of the Exercises to accompany the official Jesuit Directory to the Exercises, then in preparation.

The work of the committee had to be presented in the form of annotations, for Ignatius had stipulated that no changes be made to the Latin translations (see below) that he had approved. It is true that the 1576 edition of the Exercises had been corrected using the two Latin manuscripts approved by Ignatius (see note 1), but the work undertaken in 1596 was of an entirely different nature.

The annotations -revised language with brief comment and citations from the Autograph- are to be found in an appendix at the end of the volume, with the heading “The places that are annotated in this most recent edition, by careful comparison with the Spanish Autograph”. Each annotation is keyed to a page number and on the corresponding page, an asterisk is found next to the passage being considered.

The annotations are preceded by a statement of purpose. We are told that the Fifth General Council, which had been convened by the Superior General Claudio Acquaviva (1543-1615) for the purpose of refining the official Jesuit Directory, determined that no further editions of the Exercises should be published before the text was compared with the Spanish Autograph, preserved at Rome. It is emphatically stated that this work was not performed in order to make a new translation but only to “adjust” those parts of the text that are unclear in the Vulgate (“non ut nova quaedam versio fierit, sed ut loca quaedam accommodarentur, quae in vulgata Latina versione subobscura videbantur”). It was further decided that these changes not be incorporated into the Vulgate (“ob reverentiam” -presumably to the wishes of Ignatius) but rather added as an appendix.

Arriving at the Vulgate: Sources for the Text.

There are four manuscript sources that must be considered to understand the development of the vulgate text, authorized by Ignatius himself and used for the printed editions of the Spiritual Exercises, first printed in 1548 by the Society at Rome.

“The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola actually has four sources. This is made clear in the magnificent work of scholarship produced by Cándido de Dalmases (bringing to completion the work begun by José Calveras) in volume 100 of the Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu (MHSJ MI, 1). There, laid out in parallel columns, are the texts of the Spanish Autograph (A) and the Authorized Latin Vulgate (V) on the left-hand pages and, on the right-hand pages, the texts of two other Latin translations: Versio prima A of 1541 (designated P1) and Versio prima A of 1547 (designated P2). These four original texts (textus archetypi) constitute the main sources of the Spiritual Exercises…

“What becomes clear from the work of both Dalmases and Maurice Giuliani [who published the carefully edited works of St Ignatius Loyola in 1991] is that there is no single text of the Spiritual Exercises to which we can point as the sole source, though the Autograph is the text that holds pride of place. In summing up his 55-page Latin introduction to the four original texts, Dalmases draws a number of conclusions, among them that, to interpret the mind of Ignatius thoroughly, it is necessary to have recourse to the Spanish text, since the mind of the author is to be found in the text written by him more than in any other version, however perfect. While one may therefore be tempted to say that in the Autograph we find the ‘ipsissima verba’, the very words of Ignatius himself, and the ‘conocimiento interno’, or interior workings of his mind and heart, we need to remember that Íñigo de Loyola was a Basque; Castilian was his second language, and so at one remove from his heart, if not from his mind.

“It helps also to recall that, when Ignatius was leading Pierre Favre through an experience of the Exercises in Paris, he was certainly not doing so in Spanish or French (Favre was a Savoyard with his own French dialect), but rather in the colloquial Latin that was in use among international students at the University of Paris at the time. Likewise, when Ignatius had to defend himself and his teachings before the Inquisitor of Paris, he would have presented his notes and papers, not in Spanish but in Latin, the language of the ecclesiastical authorities. While we do not have these early Latin notes, what we do have is the Latin Versio prima of 1541 (P1).

“On the first page of this manuscript Ignatius has written in his own hand, in a mixture of Spanish and Latin, ‘Todos exercitios breviter en Latín’. The Latin word breviter (briefly, concisely) implies, as Dalmases demonstrates, that this is not a shorter version of those Exercises found in the Autograph, but a text that concisely contains only the Exercises. Ignatius thus means to distinguish this original text (textus archetypus) from the ‘adapted texts’ (textibus accommodatis), texts with many glosses and amplifications, adapted by or for someone actually giving the Exercises. Though the date when the copy was made, 1541, has been written on the manuscript (by someone other than Ignatius), Dalmases believes that this Latin version was probably made by Ignatius himself, and that it originates from the earlier part of the years he spent in Paris (1528–1535).

“The manuscript was emended by some of Ignatius’ Jesuit companions [his earliest disciples, Pierre Favre (1506–46), Alfonso Salmerón (1515–85), and Juan Alfonso de Polanco (1517–76)], and a new Latin version, incorporating their corrections, was produced— the Versio prima A of 1547 (P2)—for approval by the Pope. This second, very literal, Latin translation, though accurate, was lacking in elegance, and so, at the very time that it was being completed, yet a third Latin version, the Vulgate, was begun in 1546 by a young French Jesuit, André des Freux (or Frusius, to use the Latin form of his name). These last two Latin versions of the Spiritual Exercises were submitted together to the papal authorities and approved in 1548.

“Giuliani states that it is not possible to know what sources were used by des Freux when he made the Vulgate translation. Did he have access to the Spanish Autograph or to other Spanish manuscripts now lost? Did he make use of the Latin Versio prima of 1541 (P1), or was the Latin version of 1547 (P2) completed and in his hands before he finished his own translation in this same year? It seems that no one can say. The fact that des Freux follows P2's correction in the order of the points in The Mysteries of the Cross (Exx 297) might be evidence that he had the completed version of P2 at this point in his work. Dalmases, however, makes note of this change and gives the order of the points prior to the correction, without saying who made the correction to P2 or when it was made. Exx 297 is not listed among the emendations he attributes to Juan Alfonso de Polanco, Ignatius’ secretary and close collaborator, but Dalmases admits that there are other changes which could be the work of Polanco, or of a copyist, or of some other unknown person….

“[B]oth the final Latin translations (P2 and the Vulgate) had been approved by the Pope in 1548, and so, in Ignatius’ eyes, both had the same authority. If the Vulgate was to be the preferred text, as Polanco says in his preface that it must (‘Visa est praeferenda’), this would appear to be for reasons of style rather than accuracy of translation. It is a style that Giuliani calls recherché— affected or mannered—and is occasionally lacking concern for fidelity in the translation. While, during the final seven or eight years of his life, Ignatius himself may have continued to employ the more literal Latin version of 1547 (P2) as well as the Vulgate, the Vulgate soon became the only Latin version in use, thanks to the insistence of Polanco...

“Comparing the Autograph with the Latin versions, we become aware, says Giuliani, of a convergence of diverse expressions, and with Ignatius we recognize a single inspiration behind these efforts to translate his work. Ignatius never interfered in the process of translation, and showed a rare gift for self-effacement, leaving the field free to whatever the text might open up in the experience of the one engaged in making the Exercises. The source texts (A, V, P1 and P2) enable us to appreciate anew the mind of Ignatius, the mind that struggled over the years to universalize the experience of God working in his life, the mind that freely surrendered his work and that of his translators into the hands of Christ and the Church, and that, no doubt, smiles upon new attempts to render the Spiritual Exercises into other languages.”(Eric Jensen, S.J., “The Spanish Autograph or the Latin Vulgate? A Return to the Sources of the Spiritual Exercises”, The Way, 53/3 (July 2014), 79–86)

"The 'Spiritual Exercises' encapsulated the essence of Ignatius' own spiritual turn-around and presented it in a form meant to guide others to analogous changes of vision and motivation. Ignatius used the 'Exercises' as the primary means of motivating his first disciples and prescribed it as an experience for all who later entered the Society of Jesus. Although at no point intended exclusively for Jesuits, the 'Exercises' remain the document that told Jesuits on the most profound level what they were and what they were supposed to be. Furthermore, the 'Exercises' set the pattern and goals of all the ministries in which the Society engaged, even though it was not always explicitly recognized as doing so. There is no understanding the Jesuits without reference to that book." (John W. O'Malley, "The First Jesuits", p. 4)

Note 1: Printed at the end of the text of the 1576 edition is a note mentioning the corrections: "Quae ab aliis impressis exercitiorum exemplis variant, ex utroque nostro exemplari manuscripto: In mysteriis autem vitae Christi, etiam ex edition[e] vulgata, emendata sunt."

De Backer-Sommervogel, V, 62; cf. PMM 74. See "Obras Completas de San Ignazio de Loyola", 1963, p. 186