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Calmet, Augustin (Antoine)


Exegete and historian; b. Ménil-la-Horgne (Meuse), France, Feb. 26, 1672; d. Senones, France, Oct. 25, 1757. After his early studies at Breuil and the University of Pontà-Mousson, he entered the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Mansuy in Toul and was professed there, Oct. 23, 1689. He studied philosophy at Saint-Evre in Toul and theology at Munster in Alsace and was ordained, March 17, 1696. He became in turn professor at Moyen-Moutier (1698), subprior at Munster (1704), professor at Paris (1706), titular prior of Laye-Saint-Christophe (1716), abbot of Saint-Leopold in Nancy (1718), visitator of the Benedictine Congregation of St. Vanne and St. Hydulphe (1719), president of this congregation (1727), and abbot of Senones (1728).

Calmet was one of the best Catholic exegetes of the 18th century. He endeavored to adhere to the literal sense at a time when the influence of J. B. bossuet had made the spiritual and mystical interpretation of Scripture supreme. Yet his exegetical works are merely conscientious compilations and lack true critical judgment. These works include his Commentaire littéral sur tous les livres de l'Ancient et du Nouveau Testament (26 v. Paris 170716) and Dictionnaire historique de la Bible (Paris 1719). Of much greater value is his Histoire ecclésiastique et civile de la Lorraine (3 v. Nancy 1728).

Bibliography: p. schmitz, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques 11:450453. p. auvray, Catholicisme 2:392393. p. volk, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche (Freiburg 195765) 2:886. e. kusch, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegen-wart 1:1587. j. e. mangenot, Dictionnaire de la Bible 2.1:7276. f. bechtel, The Catholic Encyclopedia 3:189.

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