Despite the existence of a great number of historical studies devoted to the Society of Jesus from its origins to the present, the internal organization and structure of the order still constitutes a historiographical enigma. Regarding the period of the so-called ancient Society of Jesus (1540–1773), a series of questions prevail: How did the order organize its rapid expansion in the world? How centralized was its structure, and how rigid and vertical was its internal hierarchy? What influence did Ignatian spirituality have on the order's decision-making system? What place did casuistry and probabilism have in the creation of the Jesuits' corporate culture? Recent literature has provided partial answers to these questions. However, the assumption shared by both detractors and apologists of the order—that the Society of Jesus constituted a monolithic body backed by either an Ignatian spirit or blind obedience—seems to be...

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