Miles Christianus or Spiritual Helper? Jesuit Self-Presentation and the Encounter with Ottoman Islam
Jesuit responses to Muslims, real or imagined, encountered along the European frontier with the Ottoman Empire took many forms. Elements of ritual literary combat or spiritual athleticism mixed with exercises of the Jesuit intellect, while the Muslim was frequently cast as the “Other” who functioned as a foil to Jesuit virtue. Although the impact of the Society of Jesus on European Muslims of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was small, the encounter provided an important venue for self-presentation of Jesuits during the height of their influence of the in Central Europe.