Annotations and Meditations on the Gospels: The Infancy Narratives

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9780916101411: Annotations and Meditations on the Gospels: The Infancy Narratives

Annotations and Meditations on the Gospels, composed by Jerome Nadal (1507-80), St. Ignatius Loyola s closest collaborator in the early days of the Society of Jesus, was first published in Antwerp in 1595 (a second edition followed the same year, and a third edition in 1607). This book combined engravings portraying episodes from the Gospels executed by the premier Flemish engravers of the day with Nadal s explanatory notes and meditations on these episodes as depicted in the engravings, in order to help young Jesuit seminarians to meditate on the Gospels that they heard read at Sunday Mass. The impact of this book on the sacred art of the period after the Council of Trent was enormous not only in Europe, but also in the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

Nadal s text (1607 edition) is presented in an accessible contemporary translation prepared by Frederick A. Homann, S.J., who also provides the reader with helpful notes and references. The translation is preceded by a thorough introduction to Nadal, his book, and its images by Walter S. Melion. Melion s introductory essay in Vol. 1: The Infancy Narratives is entitled The Art of Vision in Jerome Nadal s Adnotationes et Meditationes in Evangelia.

Volume 1 includes a CD-ROM with high-resolution scans of all 153 engravings from the 1607 edition.

This collection will be of special interest to art historians, as well as other scholars working in the areas of Jesuit and early modern Catholic studies.

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About the Author:

Frederick A. Homann, S.J., is professor emeritus of mathematics at Saint Joseph s University. He is the translator of Ladislaus Lukacs, S.J., and Giuseppe Consentino, Church, Culture & Curriculum: Theology and Mathematics in the Jesuit Ratio Studiorum (Saint Joseph s University Press, 1999), to which he also contributed an introductory essay.

Walter S. Melion is professor and chair, Department of the History of Art, The Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Shaping the Netherlandish Canon; Karel van Mander s Schilder-Boeck (University of Chicago Press, 1991).

Review:

[Melion s] introduction to the English translation of Nadal s book is most clarifying, and helps a lot to understand this work. [...] This first English translation of Nadal s book is undoubtedly a wonderful means of spreading the knowledge of this important work, both from an artistic and spiritual point of view. Volume I also includes a CD-ROM that provides for the first time, high resolution scans of all 153 engravings of Gospel episodes from the 1607 edition of Nadal s Annotations and Meditations on the Gospels. --Fernando García Gutiérrez, S.J. (Sophia University, Tokyo), Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu

Melion s essay rewards patience by tracing the intricate connections between vision and spiritual knowledge that run through some chapters of Nadal s book. [...] Melion subtly unravels the intricate connections woven between physical and spiritual sight, present and eternal time, crossing between images and mediations. He always makes sense and writes clearly. As a result the analysis is stimulating and instructive, a useful essay to read and consult. [...]Thus Melion s essay makes a real contribution to our knowledge of links between the sense of sight as understood in the sixteenth century, religious pictures, and religious meditation. He builds on solid foundations. Homann s translation of The Infancy Cycle from Nadal s book is consistently readable, and the quality of the illustrations is excellent. It is also gratifying that the Wiericxs engravings are reproduced in color, thus conveying the tonal richness of their work. --Jeffrey Muller (Brown University), Historians of Netherlandish Art

Though the engravings have previously been published on their own, Homann also gives us Nadal s Adnotationes, and thereby provides a fascinating window into early Jesuit interpretation of prayer and of the Spiritual Exercises. Until now no English translation of Nadal s text has been available. [...] Volume I present the first nine chapters, along with a monograph-length introduction by art historian Walter Melion, [...] This edition of Adnotationes makes a significant contribution both to the study of Ignatian spirituality and to discussions about the role of visual images in prayer. --Elizabeth Liebert (San Francisco Theological Seminary), The Way

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