Pasquier Quesnel - Encyclopedia

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PASQUIER QUESNEL (1634-1719), French Jansenist theologian, was born in Paris on the 14th of July 1634, and, after graduating in the Sorbonne with distinction in 1653, joined the French Oratory in 1657. There he soon became prominent; but his Jansenist sympathies led to his banishment from Paris in 1681. He took refuge with the friendly Cardinal Coislin, bishop of Orleans; four years later, however, foreseeing that a fresh storm of persecution was about to burst, he fled to Brussels, and took up his abode with Antoine Arnauld. There he remained till 1703, when he was arrested by order of the archbishop of Malines. After three months' imprisonment he made a highly dramatic escape, and settled at Amsterdam, where he spent the remainder of his life. After Arnauld's death in 1694 Quesnel was generally regarded as the leader of the Jansenist party; and his Reflexions morales sur le Nouveau Testament played almost as large a part in its literature as Jansen's Augustinus itself. As its title betokens, this was a devotional commentary on the Scriptures, wherein Quesnel managed to explain the aims and ideals of the Jansenist party better than any earlier writer had done; and it accordingly became the chief object of Jesuit attack. It appeared in many forms and under various titles, the original germ going back so far as 1668; the first complete edition was published in 1692. The bull Unigenitus, in which no fewer than for sentences from the Reflexions morales were condemned as heretical, was obtained from Clement IX. on the 8th of September 1713. Quesnel died at Amsterdam on the 2nd of December 1719.

See also Mme. Albert Le Roy, Un Janseniste en exit (Paris, 1900; and Maulvault, Repertoire de Port Royal (Paris, 1902).

(ST. C.)

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