Lost Treasures:
17th Century Mystical Texts

Controversies in 17th century Spain hold the key to help us understand the questions we face in recovering and renewing the Christian contemplative tradition today. (ref: see From St. John of the Cross to Us)

Some of the following books and manuscripts which are either lost or quite difficult to find might shed further light on the matter.

  1. Francisco Pizaño León: Compendium totius misticae theologiae, Madrid, 1649. (See From St. John, chapter 8)
  2. The lost book or manuscript of Pablo Ezquerra – if it ever existed – Tratado completo de la teología mística: Camino de la vida espiritual. (See From St. John, chapter 10)

  3. Is manuscript #522 of the University of Barcelona, Camino de la vida espiritual, connected with this riddle?

    Do the papers of the 20th century Franciscan scholar, Vicente de Peralta, shed any light on this supposed work of Pablo Ezquerra?

    Biblioteca Inferior Collegi S. Joseph Carmelitarum Caesar Auguste by Roqui Alberto Faci is a library catalog of the Calced Carmelites of Zaragoza. Would it shed any light on this question?

  4. Two works of Jorge de San José would be interesting to examine. The first, Vuelo del espíritu y escala de perfección y oración, Seville, 1632, is hard to come by. There once was a copy in the University of Barcelona. There are no known copies of the other, El solitario contemplativo y guía espiritual. (See From St. John, chapter 7)
  5. Gone missing, as well, is a book supposedly written by Antonio de Rojas called Espejo de perfección, a copy of which might once have been in the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, or at the Fundación Universitaria Española. (See From St. John, chapter 8)
  6. More information about Thomas of Jesus. Supposedly his companion, Francisco de Santa María, wrote a biography about him, which is missing. Some letters of Thomas of Jesus are said to have been published in MHCT (Memorias Historiales of the Council of Trent?), T. 7, Rome, 1985. Many manuscripts of Thomas of Jesus exist in the archive of the Discalced Carmelites of Rome, and could be probably fruitfully mined for more insights into the character and work of this important figure in the history of 17th century mysticism.
  7. Juan de Jesús María Robles wrote a Guía interior whose first part is in the Biblioteca Nacional of Madrid. MS. 13496, but that rich collection of Carmelite manuscripts also has a Segunda parte de la Guía interior, (MS. 7037) which appears to have been written by someone else. Who wrote it, and how does it fit into this story? (See From St. John, chapter 9)
  8. The archive of the Discalced Carmelites in Spain that was in the priory of St. Hermenegildo in Madrid disappeared when the religious orders were suppressed in Spain. It might have been taken to Alcalá de Henares. (See From St. John, chapter 4) Any number of its manuscripts surfaced in the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, but are there any other papers floating around, or misfiled in some archive in Madrid or Alcalá de Henares?
  9. The archives of the Spanish congregation of the Discalced Carmelites in Rome also disappeared, and very little has surfaced.
  10. The Carmelite Desert of Las Batuecas, founded by Tomás de Jesús, had an extensive library, some of which is parceled out among the Carmelite houses in Spain, but a good portion of which is unaccounted for. Luckily, the catalog of the library still exists, and may one day be published. (See Daniel de Pablo Maroto, "La Antigua Bibloteca del Desierto Carmelitano de las Batuecas" in Salmanticensis 48 (2001) 311-333.