French bibliophile; b. Tulle, Nov. 24, 1630; d. Paris, July 28, 1718. At age 15 he was a cleric in a college in Toulouse, but he never went beyond tonsure. Ecclesiastical benefices permitted him to devote himself entirely to study. In 1652 and 1654 he had to retire to Tulle to regain his health. In 1652 he published an attack on P. Frizon's history of French cardinals (1638) that gained him scholarly recognition. He left Tulle in 1656 and went to Paris to be secretary and assistant to the archbishop of Paris, Pierre De marca, from whom he gained a rich knowledge of Church history and a sympathy for gallicanism. When De Marca died in 1662, Baluze served the archbishop of Auch briefly, leaving because he did not share the prelate's admiration of scholasticism. After sustaining nine theses of Canon Law, Gallican in sympathy, at the Sorbonne in 1665, he became librarian for J. B. Colbert in 1667. The library of rare MSS that Baluze collected for Colbert from all Europe later enriched the Bibliothèque Nationale. Baluze accurately transcribed about 80 volumes of material from MSS. In 1671 he had to stop work a third time because of an eye illness. Louis XIV made him professor of Canon Law at the Collège de France in 1689. Baluze resigned as librarian for Colbert in 1700 and withdrew outside Paris. In 1710 Louis XIV exiled him from the capital because Baluze had insisted on publicizing in his Histoire généalogique de la maison d'Auvergne in 1709 the descent of Cardinal bouillon from the Dukes of Aquitaine and the Counts of Auvergne, much to the displeasure of the king. In Tours, Baluze made copies of a wealth of documents later destroyed by fire. In 1713 he was allowed to return to Paris, but without position or pension. After his death the 10,000 printed works in his library were auctioned separately, but the king purchased the 1,500 MSS which are today in the Bibliothèque Nationale. Baluze was one of the greatest scholars of the age of Louis XIV.
The classification of Baluze's writings, mostly in Latin, is itself a task of historical research. His 1663 Latin version of a work of Cardinal de Marca, De concordia sacerdotii et imperii seu de libertatibus ecclesiae gallicanae, was put on the Index of Prohibited Books but went through five more editions. Baluze edited the works of Salvian of Marseilles; Vincent of Lerins; Lupus of Ferrières; Agobard, Leidradus, Amulo, and Florus of Lyons; Caesarius of Arles; Regino of Prüm; Antonio Agustin; Lactantius; letters of Innocent III (incomplete); and Cyprian of Carthage (completed 1726 by P. Maran). His capitularies of the French kings (2 v. 1677), in the 1780 edition of P. de Chiniac, was incorporated into Mansi's Concilia. In 1683 Baluze published the first volume of a new collection of councils but, perhaps fearing that his Gallican ideas might jeopardize his position, carried the work no further. In this volume he called attention to certain early councils not noted previously and, on the basis of manuscripts, published the most critical texts available. The mass of variant readings are useless, but the notes are exceptionally good. His lives of the Avignon popes (2 v. 1693), whom he accused of introducing immorality into Avignon, was put on the index. G. Mollat has re-edited the work (4 v. 1914–28) in line with later research and Baluze's own notes. Baluze's letters, many in French, are to important men about important matters, and some amount to official pronouncements.
Bibliography: Autobiography in Capitularia regum Francorum (Paris 1780). j. marlin, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50; Tables générales 1951–), 2.1:138–139. g. mollat, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912–), 6:439–452. Catholicisme. Hier, aujourd'hui et demain, g. jacquement (Paris 1947–), 1:1197.
[w. e. langley]
"Baluze, Étienne." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 20, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/baluze-etienne
"Baluze, Étienne." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved February 20, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/baluze-etienne