Ratio Studiorum: Jesuit Education, 1540-1773
Original Exhibit Fall 1999
This exhibit celebrates the 400th anniversary of the first promulgation of the Ratio studiorum. It features examples from the extensive Jesuitana collection in the Burns Library.
As Jesuit colleges proliferated in the first decades of the Society, questions about curriculum and administration arose. Furthermore, the need for standardization of classes and a desire for quality-control were increasingly pressing concerns. A number of attempts at drawing up such a blueprint were made: first in 1581, then again in 1586. After much discussion among educators in the Society, a final plan was approved under the guidance of Claudio Acquaviva. The result was the Ratio studiorum, first published in Naples in 1598 and promulgated in 1599.
Francisco Suarez was born in Granada in 1548. He studied in Salamanca and joined the Society of Jesus in 1564. Suarez was ordained in 1572; for the following ten years he successively taught philosophy and theology at Avila, Segovia, and Valladolid. He then spent five years teaching at the Roman College until bad health caused him to return to Spain. In 1597 he received his doctorate at Evora and then took the chair of theology at Coimbra, where he remained until 1615. His Disputationes metaphysicae (Salamanca, 1597) was the first systematic treatment of metaphysics not based exclusively on the texts of Aristotle. Suarez was influential not only for his writings on Aristotle and philosophy, but for his work on scholastic theology as well; his Commentaria ac disputationes in Primam Partem Divi Thomae (Salamanca, 1595) shows how Suarez brought his erudition to bear on an interpretation of the theological texts of Aquinas. He died in Lisbon in 1617.
For Further Study: Many books relating to Jesuits are described in The Jesuit Collection in the John J. Burns Library of Boston College, by John C. Stalker. More items have been added to the holdings since the publication of Stalker's work; to learn more, contact a member of the Burns library staff.