Bolsec, Jérôme Hermès
BOLSEC, JÉRÔME HERMÈS
Writer and physician; b. Paris, date unknown; d. Lyons, France c. 1585. As a Paris Carmelite, Bolsec was suspected of heresy, so he fled to Italy and the sympathetic protection of Duchess Renée of Ferrara (1545). There he renounced his religious vows and Catholicism, studied medicine, and married.
By 1550 he was in Geneva where he differed publicly with Calvin over predestination. Bolsec maintained that if faith was the consequence rather than the condition of election, God must be charged with partiality. He called Calvin's position illogical and absurd, saying that it manifested a fundamental weakness in the reformer's theological system. In consequence, Bolsec was arrested, imprisoned, and banished from Geneva.
He went to Bern, but was soon expelled from there as well. In 1551 he returned to France and sought a pastorate from the Reformed Church, but was rejected because of unorthodoxy. In 1563 he sought asylum at Lausanne; but when Theodore beza insisted that he first sign the Confession of Bern as proof of orthodoxy, Bolsec refused, returned to France, abjured his errors, reembraced the Catholic faith, and retired to Lyons to practice medicine and write. His biographies, Histoire … de Jean Calvin (1577) and Histoire … de Th. de Beze (1582), are highly controversial.
Bibliography: c. de saint Étienne de villiers, Bibliotheca carmelitana, ed. p. g. wessels, 2 v. in 1 (Rome 1927) 637–639. j. dedieu, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1912–) 9:676–679, bibliog. h. liebing, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Tübingen 1957–65) 1:1349–50.
[j. w. rooney, jr.]