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The Order of Minims in Seventeenth-Century France

Buch von P. J. S. Whitmore

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Whitmore, P. J. S.
Springer Netherlands
Springer Netherland
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767 gr
thinking of the text from the Dies frae (S. Matthew, XXV, 40). It is also probable that this other Saint Francis, partly out of admiration for his illustrious compatriot of Assisi and partly from a compelling urge to be superlative in all things, chose the title in opposition to the Franciscans, the Fratres Minori,l who had previously adopted this style taken from Saint Matthew, XXIII, 8. The title "Minim" was confirmed in these words" . . . eosque Eremitos Ordinis Minimorum Fratrum Eremitarum F. Francesci de Paula in posterum nuncupari," taken from the Papal Bull, Meritis religiosae vitae, of 26 February, 1493. The earliest reference to the Order in France is in a fragment preserved in the Bibliotheque de l' Arsenal called, La regle et vie de Frere Franfois, pauvre et humble hermite de Paule, laquelle donne a tous ses 2 freres voulant entrer et vivre en son ordre. The dating of this manuscript should be accepted with considerable reserve; it bears a clearly legible "1474," although it seems most unlikely that any reference to an Order occurred before the Bull of 1493 or that any Rule appeared in French before the Founder's visit to Louis XI in 1483. 3 The fame of Francis and his reputation as a "guerisseur" had reached the French court where Louis XI was sick and dying; the King summoned him to the chateau of Le Plessis-Ies-Tours, but it required the intervention of the Pope to make the hermit undertake the journey.
Foundation of the Order mediaeval in its intent - the Founder - official recognition - spread of the Order - Louis XI summons Founder to France - significant development during the XVIIth century - sources of the present study; why confined to the XVIIth century.- I. The temporal.- I. Organisation.- Buildings - offices - numerical strength of the Order - The Second and Third Orders - Confréries - finances.- II. Opposition to the Order.- Direct opposition, burning down of buildings - opposition by the secular clergy - disputes about burial dues - financial objections by the populace.- II. The Spiritual.- I. Religious Life And Work.- Characteristics of the Minims' religious sensibility - discipline and ritual - frequent communion - Scripture and hagiography - Les Vies des Saints - the Minims' spiritual hero.- II. Gallican Tendencies.- Special privileges in Rome - disputes with Corrector General.- III. The Intellectual.- I. Studies.- The place of studies within the Order - the Ratio studiorum of Lesguillier - religion in an age of criticism.- II. Libraries.- Amongst the richest in France - Mersenne librarian - Gabriel Naudé - catalogues - notable libraries - comparison with other orders.- III. Claude Pithoys.- Exorcisms - his publications - a forerunner of opponents of superstition in later XVIIth century - apostasy - becomes librarian and professor at Sedan - Bayle his successor.- IV. Marin Mersenne.- Galilean physics - Mersenne a propagator of contemporary scientific knowledge - his position in the Order - superstition combatted from scientific standpoint - Biblical exegesis - Fludd ideas for an academy - arts and crafts - his successors in the Order.- V. Jean-François Niceron.- Perspective - sources of his technique; its importance in art of illustration and decoration - influence of Italian masters - moon-map - codes - early death.- VI. Emanuel Maignan.- Early attachment to Order - at Rome - mathematician and experimentalist - illustrated text-book Perspectiva Horaria a model of its kind - practical nature of his Cursus Philosophicus - the void - anticartesian - sensationalism - theory of money and interest.- VII. Charles Plumier.- A craftsman - botany - voyages to West Indies - a skilled draughtsman and shrewd observer - Lister's visit - l'Art de tourner - complex character - fearlessness - generous acknowledgement of help received - nomenclature of plants - influence on later botanists and illustrators.- VIII. Minor Scientific Writers.- Octoul - Minuti - Jean François - Macaire - Feuillée.- IX. Historical Studies.- Acosta translated - Histoire Catholique - Coste's presentation of the XVIth century; style of his history - local histories.- X. Artistic Work.- Decoration of the conventual churches-book illustration - Le Trône Royal - the Founder's portrait - Dondé - numismatics.- XI. Medical Work.- Work in the cloister - remedies - Germain's comparative anatomy - plague - Quattroux's Traité de la peste.- Conclusion.- Conclusion.- Order in decline at end of XVIIth century - decline in numbers in XVIIIth century - intellectual activity maintained only in Rome - edition of Newton's Principia - blend of spiritual and intellectual activity characterises Minims' sagesse - antimonastic sentiments - "Rat qui s'est retiré du monde" - justification for continuance of orders in XVIIth century deminishes in XVIIIth.- Appendices.- I. Illustrations.- IV. (a) Letters from Plumier to Michel Bégon..- (b) Plumier's preface Solum, Salem, Coelum.- Bibliographies.- I. Printed works, XVIIth century, by members of the Order.- II. Manuscripts in Public Libraries.- III. Manuscripts in depots of archives.- IV. Works consulted.