Louis Ellies Du Pin - Encyclopedia




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LOUIS ELLIES DU PIN (1657-1719), French ecclesiastical historian, came of a noble family of Normandy, and was born at Paris on the 17th of June 1657. When ten years old he entered the college of Harcourt, where he graduated M.A. in 1672. He afterwards became a pupil of the Sorbonne, and received the degree of B.D. in 1680 and that of D.D. in 1684. About this time he conceived the idea of his Bibliotheque universelle de tous les auteurs ecclesiastiques, the first volume of which appeared in 1686. The liberty with which he there treated the doctrines of the Fathers aroused ecclesiastical prejudice, and the archbishop of Paris condemned the work. Although Du Pin consented to a retractation, the book was suppressed in 1693; he was, however, allowed again to continue it on changing its title by substituting nouvelle for universelle. He was subsequently exiled to Chatellerault as a Jansenist, but the sentence of banishment was repealed on a new retractation. In 1718 he entered into a correspondence with William Wake, archbishop of Canterbury, with a view to a union of the English and Gallican churches; being suspected of projecting a change in the dogmas of the church, his papers were seized in February 1719, but nothing incriminating was found. The same zeal for union induced him, during the residence of Peter the Great in France, and at that monarch's request, to draw up a plan for uniting the Greek and Roman churches. He died at Paris on the 6th of June 1719.

Du Pin was a voluminous author. Besides his great work (Paris, 1686-1704, 58 vols. 8vo; Amsterdam, 19 vols. 4to; in the last of which he gives much autobiographical information), mention may be made of Bibliotheque universelle des historiens (2 vols., 1707); L'Histoire de l'eglise en abrege (1712); and L'Histoire profane depuis le commencement du monde jusqu'd present (4 vols., 1712).

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