Jesuits and Muslims in Baroque Hungary: Some Puzzles and a Few Answers
Jesuits working in the Danube Basin and the mountains to the north encountered Muslims in a variety of places ranging from prisons to catechism classes and even (in the case of converted Muslims) before the altar as bride and groom. Roma might also be converts to Islam, presenting the missionaries of the Society of Jesus with the added complexity of potentially multiple ethnic and confessional identities. Yet Jesuit understanding of the Muslim faith and its attendant customs was scanty and frequently inaccurate. How much of what made a person Muslim was "redeemable" and how much had to be expunged? Jesuits struggled with these decisions as they sought the "care of souls" in the economically devastated and unstable environment of late 17th and early 18th century Hungary and Transylvania.
Paul Shore has held teaching and research appointments at Saint Louis University, the University of Wrocław, Harvard Divinity School, the University of Edinburgh, Collegium Budapest, and most recently, in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge. His publications include Jesuits and the Politics of Religious Pluralism in Habsburg Transylvania (Aldershot/Rome, 2007), The Eagle and the Cross: Jesuits in Baroque Prague (St. Louis, 2002) and “Midwifery education at the Prague University in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries”, Kosmas 21, 1 (2006), pp. 27-39. He is currently writing a monograph on the experiences of adversity and failure among the Jesuits of the eastern Habsburg lands.