In January 2007, the first volume of Studia et Documenta, Rivista dell’Istituto Storico San Josemaría Escrivá, will be published. The journal, produced by the St. Josemaría Historical Institute, will appear once a year and will run some 400 to 500 pages. The first issue will contain 14 contributions from eight countries, written in the six languages of the journal: Italian, Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, and German. It will also include a number of reviews and news items, and ample bibliographic information.
After several years of preparation (the St. Josemaría Historical Institute was established by Bishop Javier Echevarría in 2001) and after obtaining the opinions of some fifty academics, especially historians, from various countries, the journal will take its first steps. Through this publication, the Institute hopes to foster historical research on St. Josemaría and Opus Dei. The Institute is also interested in developing theological, canonical, educational and philological studies on the writings and teachings of the founder of Opus Dei, which will appear in the pages of Studia et Documenta.
Publishing the journal is one of the principal activities of the Institute, though not the only one. Among its other concerns are the publication of the complete works of St. Josemaría, the development of bibliographic and archival instruments for purposes of research, as well as providing assistance to researchers interested in the history of St. Josemaría and Opus Dei.
Studia et Documenta arose from a desire to encourage solid research into a chapter of the history of the contemporary Church. Thus it is directed both to people specifically interested in St. Josemaría and his message, and to students of the contemporary world in such fields as history, theology, canon law and sociology. The study of the historical development and spread of Opus Dei in quite diverse countries and cultures, as well as the spiritual message of St. Josemaría, undoubtedly constitutes an important contribution to the history of the contemporary Church.
Studia et Documenta will contain four sections: Studies and Notes, Documentation, News, and Bibliography. The articles published in Studies and Notes will focus on specific aspects of St. Josemaría’s history; for example: spiritual and pastoral context; his task as founder; his relationship with ecclesiastical and civil personalities, etc. This section will also look at the history of the development of Opus Dei’s apostolic work in various countries, as well as the specific apostolic initiatives that have arisen under the founder’s stimulus.
Part of this section will be monographic in nature. The first issue will focus on the beginning of Opus Dei’s apostolic work in various countries and the attention with which St. Josemaría followed the first expansion of its apostolates. Given the impossibility of referring to all the countries to which the apostolate of Opus Dei spread during St. Josemaría’s lifetime, a representative selection was made. One of the articles looks at the first European nation that St. Josemaría visited with a view to beginning the apostolic work outside Spain (Portugal). Three articles are dedicated to countries in North and South America (Mexico, Ecuador and the U.S.), and a fourth to an Asian nation (Japan). This section also contains a study about February 14, 1930, and a theological reflection on the historical-critical edition of The Way.
The documentation section aims at providing documents with particular significance for St. Josemaría’s life and foundational mission. The first issue places two interesting documents at the disposal of the reader. One, of a spiritual nature, is a compilation of texts from Sacred Scripture that had a particular impact on the interior life and teachings of St. Josemaría. The second includes the complete correspondence, made up of thirty-six letters, exchanged between St. Josemaría and the Bishop of Avila, Santos Moro, during the Spanish Civil War.
The news section will provide information on various events related to the historical study of St. Josemaría and Opus Dei sponsored by the Institute and other entities.
The bibliography section is the responsibility of the Center for Documentation and Studies of St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer at the University of Navarra, the section of the Historical Institute that is located in Pamplona. The notes and reviews in the bibliography section will try to provide timely information and evaluation of publications on both St. Josemaría and Opus Dei. The first issue will also include an extensive list of the works published by St. Josemaría, in their various editions and translations, up to the year 2002.
Research on the history of St. Josemaría and Opus Dei is still in its early stages. The appearance of Studia et Documenta will undoubtedly serve as a stimulus to this work. In this regard we need only cite a few words from Bishop Javier Echevarría, although spoken in another context: “One learns over time how to make oneself better known and also how to understand oneself better” (Interview with Bishop Javier Echevarría, published in Figaro-Magazine on April 21, 2006). The St. Josemaría Escrivá Historical Institute, through its journal Studia et Documenta, seeks to contribute with rigorous research to this important task.