Item #6086 La vie de Godefroy Hermant docteur de la Maison & Société de Sorbonne. Adrien BAILLET.
La vie de Godefroy Hermant docteur de la Maison & Société de Sorbonne...
La vie de Godefroy Hermant docteur de la Maison & Société de Sorbonne...
La vie de Godefroy Hermant docteur de la Maison & Société de Sorbonne...
La vie de Godefroy Hermant docteur de la Maison & Société de Sorbonne...
La vie de Godefroy Hermant docteur de la Maison & Société de Sorbonne...
La vie de Godefroy Hermant docteur de la Maison & Société de Sorbonne...
La vie de Godefroy Hermant docteur de la Maison & Société de Sorbonne...
La vie de Godefroy Hermant docteur de la Maison & Société de Sorbonne...
BIOGRAPHY OF JANSENIST SCHOLAR GODEFROY HERMANT
WITH MANUSCRIPT MATERIAL ON LOUIS XIV’s ROYAL CENSORSHIP
Amsterdam, Chez Pierre Mortier, 1717.

La vie de Godefroy Hermant docteur de la Maison & Société de Sorbonne.

12mo, (3) ff, 159 pp., (1) p. blank. Contemporary calf binding, gilt floral frame on the covers, raised bands, edges gilt, gilt floral pastedowns. Ex-libris of Alexandre Le Mareschal de Beauvais (1802-1875) on front pastedown.

The first and only edition of the most detailed biography of the Jansenist theologian and doctor of the Sorbonne Godefroy (or Geoffroy) Hermant (1617-1690) by Adrien Baillet (1649-1706), a prolific historian and librarian and one of the most interesting and lesser-known French seventeenth-century intellectuals.

Jansenism, a reform Catholic movement founded upon Augustinian theology, played a crucial role in French revolutionary politics. Seeking to limit the papal authority and opposing the monarchical absolutism of Cardinal de Richelieu and Louis XIV, French Jansenists were at times censored and persecuted by both the pope and the king. 

Both Adrien Baillet and Godefroy Hermant had received religious education at the petit séminaire of their native Beauvais. Hermant was a passionate advocate of Jansenism, whereas Baillet led a quiet, yet productive life, as an author and the librarian in the house of the magistrate Chrétien-François de Lamoignon.

Baillet's biography describes in detail Hermant's life, in part relying on the letters of the latter. At the age of thirteen, Hermant was sent to study at the Jesuit Collège de Clermont in Paris, where, according to Baillet, he was mistreated (Baillet, p. 6). As a result, Hermant developed a profound dislike of the Jesuits, which he carried all throughout his life. In 1640, the Sorbonne chose Hermant to publicly defend it against the demands of the Jesuits to have their Collège de Clermont incorporated into the university (Baillet, pp. 14-15). In 1647, Hermant was elected rector of the Sorbonne, receiving the title of the doctor of the university three years later. However, already in January of 1651, he was called back to Beauvais, where he remained, supporting the Jansenist bishop Nicolas Choart de Buzenval, one of the four French bishops, who refused to sign the 1653 anti-Jansenist Cum Occasione bull of Pope Alexander VII (Lennon, Nicholas, Davis, pp. 16-20). With the death of Nicolas Choart de Buzenval (1679), Hermant was banned by his successor Cardinal de Janson only to be pardoned by the new bishop a few years later. In 1690, Hermant died suddenly in a street in Paris while visiting his friend the Advocate General of Lamoignon.

Hermant's Jansenist sentiments could explain why the book was published only after Baillet's death. With the death of Louis XIV in 1715, the climate towards Jansenism improved, and such a book could finally appear in print. The publishers, however, chose to remain cautious: according to Weller, the book has a fictious imprint and was in fact published in Paris (Weller, p. 84).

The volume includes several loose manuscript pages, which constitute research notes on Hermant and related holdings in French libraries and archives. Among them is a copy of a letter from Louis Phélypeaux de Pontchartrain, the Secretary of State to Louis XIV dated January 15, 1692. In the letter, Pontchartrain writes that the king has looked at Hermant's epitaph written by Baillet's friends and asks not to publish it.

The same letter (dated a year later--January 15, 1693) is quoted in an article on Hermant by Paul Doncœur (Doncœur, p. 62). Unfortunately, Doncœur does not give a source for his quotation.   

Baillet mentions Pontchartrain's letter and quotes the entire censored epitaph in the biography, noting that it had been written by his friends and presented to the Beauvais Chapter on December 14, 1691. After the epitaph was approved and work on Hermant's tombstone began, a lettre de cachet (an executive royal order signed by the king and countersigned by his ministers) came from the court putting an end to the work (Baillet, p. 140).

Also present in the volume is a MS invoice for religious services in Latin, dated 1647.

OCLC locates only two copies of the work in the U.S.: at St John's University and at Newberry Library.

*Nouvelle Biographie Générale (1964), III-IV, 183-185; Weller, Falsche Druckorte, II, p. 84; Lennon, Nicholas, Davis, Problems of Cartesianism (1982); Wang, Doctoral Dissertation: "The Life and Works of Adrien Baillet" (1955); Doncœur, "Un grand janséniste historien inconnu de la Pucelle," in Revue d'histoire de l'Église de France 41/136 (1955), pp. 43-62.

Price: $3,850.00

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