NT exegete and Rabbinic scholar; b. in Lavaur, Diocese of Albi, France, Jan. 25, 1880; d. Toulouse, Feb. 12, 1958. After his education at the Sulpician seminary in Paris, Bonsirven was ordained on Sept. 19, 1903, and immediately thereafter he was assigned to teach Scripture at the major seminary of Albi. In 1906 he studied at the École Biblique under Père Lagrange, and in 1909 he received his licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Commission.
The following year his doctoral thesis on rabbinic eschatology, for reasons that had little to do with its scientific merit, was not accepted, and he was forbidden to teach Sacred Scripture. Bonsirven humbly accepted the decision and returned to his diocese for pastoral work, but this was interrupted by his service and subsequent imprisonment during World War I. While a prisoner of war, he was appointed by Benedict XV to teach dogmatic theology and Sacred Scripture to imprisoned seminarians.
After the war he entered the Society of Jesus (Sept. 9, 1919). Following his noviceship and his theological studies, he taught fundamental and dogmatic theology at Enghien, Belgium. In 1928 he finally returned to teaching NT exegesis: in Enghien (1928–40 and 1946–47) and in Lyon–Fourvière, France (1941–46). In 1948 he joined the faculty of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, where he remained until 1953, when ill health forced him to seek his native climate.
Among his numerous published works are "Bulletins du Judaïsme ancien," in Revue des sciences religieuses from 1929 to 1938; a commentary on Hebrews (Paris 1943); the Johannine Epistles (Paris 1935, 2d ed.1954) and the Apocalypse volumes for the Verbum Salutis Series (Paris 1951); Le judaïsme palestinien au temps de Jésus-Christ (Paris 1934–35) in two volumes, later abridged into one (Turin 1950); Exégèse rabbinique et exégèse paulinienne (Paris 1939); Théologie du NT (Paris 1951); Textes rabbiniques des premiers siècles chrétiens pour servir à l'intelligence du NT (Rome 1955); and Le Règne de Dieu (Paris 1957).
Bibliography: s. lyonnet, Biblica 39 (1958) 262–268.
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