New Testament scholar; b. Presles, Belgium, June 14, 1883; d. Lourdes, France, Aug. 11, 1968. Before matriculating at the Belgian College in Rome, Cerfaux studied at the minor seminary of Good Hope in the diocese of Tournai. He received a Ph.D. and an S.T.D. from the Gregorian University (1903–10) and studied for one year in the Pontifical Biblical Institute (1910–11). He served as professor of Sacred Scripture in the seminary of Tournai for the next 20 years (1911–30), a period enriched by his friendship with the Dominican Antoine Lemonnyer and with Léonce de Grandmaison, S.J. He was named a part-time instructor at the Catholic University of Louvain in 1928 and was appointed to the chair of New Testament studies at the university in 1930. Among his disciples were Joseph Thomas, Jacques Dupont, Archbishop Maxime Hermaniuk, and Bishop Albert Descamps, the secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. Cerfaux was named to the Biblical Commission in 1941 and served as a peritus for the Second Vatican Council. He founded Studia Hellenistica and served on the editorial board of several other journals, including the Ephemerides theologicae Lovanienses, of which he was coeditor until his death. He cofounded (1949) the Colloquium Biblicum Lovaniense and served as its first president.
Cerfaux's scholarly activity falls into two periods. In his first period, Cerfaux was principally interested in the New Testament environment. He devoted his time and writing to Gnosticism, the mystery religions, Alexandrine Judaism, and the Apostolic Fathers. After 1936, his main interest was New Testament exegesis. This period is marked by the appearance of his Pauline trilogy: The Church in the Theology of St. Paul (1942), Christ in the Theology of St. Paul (1951), and The Christian in the Theology of St. Paul (1962). Cerfaux's interest in the Synoptics resulted in several books and many articles, as well as in the posthumous publication of Jésus aux origines de la tradition.
Bibliography: j. duculot, ed., Recueil Lucien Cerfaux, 3 v. (Gembloux 1954–62). f. neirynck, ed., "Bibliographie Lucien Cerfaux," L'Évangile de Luc: Biblioteca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium 32, ed. j. duculot (Gembloux 1973) 71–90. a. descamps, "La carrière scientifique de Monseigneur Cerfaux," Ephemerides theoligicae Lovanienses 30 (1954) 683–696; "Monseigneur Lucien Cerfaux: Ébauche d'un portrait," L'évangile de Luc 9–21. j. coppens, "La carrière et l'oeuvre scientifique de Mgr. Cerfaux," L'évangile de Luc 23–59.
[r. f. collins]