General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Black Robe. Representations of Jesuits in Film
Language English
Module lecturer Robert A. Maryks
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Professor
Faculty Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology
Semester 2023/2024 (summer)
Duration 30
USOS code 03-AP-RJF


Module aim (aims)

The Jesuits, for better or worse, were involved in virtually every facet of modern culture, sciences, and politics around the globe. They were, for instance, theologians, polemicists, political theorists, astronomers, dramatists, pharmacists, architects, engineers of city fortifications, governors of Amerindian settlements, cartographers, musicians, and, above all, missionaries and schoolmasters. Almost from the moment the Jesuits were founded in 1540 they suffered from misunderstanding, some positive, much of it negative, which has been expressed in a variety of ways until today. This course examines contrasting representations of the Jesuits in contemporary film.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)



1st Week

Introduction to the Course. Readings: John W. O’Malley’s The Jesuits: A History from Ignatius to the Present.

2nd Week:

Ignatius of Loyola: St. Ignatius and the Two Wolves. Readings: “Introduction: The Quest for the Historical Ignatius,” and another chapter of choice from A Companion to Ignatius of Loyola.

3rd Week

Jesuit Ministries I: Irvin Kershner’s The Hoodlum Priest.

Readings: Chapter 5 of O’Malley’s Saints or Devils Incarnate?

4th Week

Jesuit Ministries II: William Friedkin’s The Exorcist. Readings: Sheila Rabin’s “Early Modern Jesuit Science.”

5th Week

Jesuit Encounters with the Other: Masahiro Shinoda’s Silence (Chinmoku). Readings: Selection of 10 letters dealing with Japan from Francis Xavier’s collection.

6th Week

Jesuit Foreign Missions in Asia: James Clavell’s Sh?gun

(film review assignment due in electronic copy before class).

Readings: Tibet: The Jesuit Century.

7th Week

Jesuit Foreign Missions in North America: Bruce Beresford’s Black Robe.

Readings: “Come, Blackrobe”: DeSmet and the Indian Tragedy.

8th Week

Jesuits and Protestantism: William Nicholson’s Elizabeth: The Golden Age

(take-home midterm due in electronic copy before class).

Readings: Into the Lion's Den.

9th Week

Jesuits and Politics: Randall Wallace’s The Man in the Iron Mask.

Readings: Beginning to be a Jesuit.

10th Week

Jesuit Suppression: Roland Joffe’s The Mission. Readings: A History of the Society of Jesus, pp. 273-430.

11th Week

Jesuits and Sex: Fernando Arribas’s Camila

(a one-paragraph summary and brief reading list for the final paper by email due by the start of this week’s class).

Readings: The Jesuits in Latin America.

12th Week

Jesuits and Nazism: Robert Lantos’s The Statement.

Readings: Intro, plus one chapter of choice "The Tragic Couple"

13th Week: Jesuits and the Holocaust: Costa-Gavras’s Amen.

Readings: “The Holocaust and the Catholic Church’s Search for Forgiveness.”

Reading list