« Calling Calmet, Augustin Calovius (Kalau), Abraham »

Calmet, Augustin

CALMET, AUGUSTIN: French Roman Catholic theologian and author; b. at Mesnil-la-Horgne (a village near Commercy, 25 m. e. of Bar-le-Duc) Feb. 26, 1672; d. at Senones (7 m. n.e. of St. Dié) Oct. 25, 1757. He was a Benedictine monk of the congregation of St. Vannes, and studied at the priory of Breuil, while he learned Hebrew from the Protestant clergyman Favre. After 1698 he instructed the pupils of the order in theology and philosophy at the abbey of Moyen-Moutier in the Vosges, and in 1704 was appointed subprior at Münster. Fourteen years later the general chapter of his order made him abbot of St. Leopold at Nancy, whence he was transferred in 1728 to Senones, and there he passed the remainder of his life. His numerous works give evidence of extraordinary reading and erudition, but lack critical ability and insight. His best writings are devoted to the interpretation of the Bible according to the principles of the Council of Trent. To this category belongs his La Sainte Bible en Latin et en francais avec un commentaire littéral et critique (23 vols., Paris, 1707–16), the French translation being that of Sacy and the commentary giving simply a grammatical exegesis. The excursuses on each book, dealing with chronology, history, antiquities, and similar topics, were the most valuable portion of the work, and were published separately under the title Dissertations qui peuvent servir de prolégomènes à l’Écriture Sainte (3 vols., 1720), and the Trésor d’antiquités sacrées et profanes des commentaires du P. Calmet (13 vols., Amsterdam, 1722) is the same work with a different arrangement. The notes scattered in the commentaries are collected in alphabetical order in the Dictionnaire historique et critique, chronologique, géographique et littéral de la Bible (2 vols., Paris, 1722, supplement, 1728; Eng. transl., 3 vols., London, 1732), which long remained the quarry for similar works. Less important are the Histoire sainte de l’Ancien et du Nouveau Testament et des Juifs (2 vols., 1718) and the Histoire universelle sacrée et profane (17 vols., Strasburg, Senones, and Nancy, 1735–71). Calmet's works are now little read, with the exception of the Histoire ecclésiastique et civile de la Lorraine (4 vols., Nancy, 1728), which is based on archives and accompanied with valuable documents.

(C. Pfender.)


Bibliography: The autobiography is contained in his Histoire de Lorraine, vol. iv., ut sup. Consult: A. Fangé, Vie do Calmet, Senones, 1762 (by his nephew; contains a complete list of Calmet's works); A. Digot, Notice biographique et littéraire sur A. Calmet, Nancy, 1861; KL, ii. 1717–21. New material is presented in Documents inédits sur les correspondances de Dom Calmet, ed. P. É. Guillaume. ib. 1875.

« Calling Calmet, Augustin Calovius (Kalau), Abraham »
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