This article investigates the nuanced way that the Jesuits connect imitation with inspiration in the rhetorical arts. Highlighting the Ignatian pedagogical tradition of individual discernment, eloquentia perfecta, and “contemplatives in action,” this article shows how Ignatian imitation patiently permits time and space for rhetors to be actively inspired by their models. As such, Ignatian imitation practices may offer a more effective imitation approach than those offered by ancient rhetoricians that preceded (and influenced) the Jesuits. Informed by a humanistic understanding of tradition, this article celebrates how the Jesuit approach to imitation can accommodate both religious and secular thinking and inclusively empower individual rhetors still to this day.

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