Contenson, Guillaume Vincent de

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Dominican theologian and preacher; b. Auvillar, France, 1641; d. Creil-sur-Oise, Dec. 26, 1674. After six years of study under the Jesuits at Montauban, Contenson became a Dominican at Toulouse in 1655. He began teaching philosophy in 1664 at Albi at the invitation of the archbishop but was called back to Toulouse in 1666 to teach theology. He taught in various episcopal seminaries throughout France. His sermons testified to his extensive learning and earned him great popularity. But Contenson's reputation is based primarily on his Theologia mentis et cordis, which is still used and highly valued by many. It was completed by Massoulie and published in nine volumes, the last of which appeared posthumously (1681). Basically, the work is a speculative commentary on the Summa theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas. Contenson, believing strongly that theology does not attain its perfection until it unites knowledge and love, attempted to appeal to the heart as well as the mind and to enliven the dry reasoning of scholasticism. He added to his speculative comments, which are accurate and solidly established, asceticomystical reflections drawn from his own opinions and personal experience, illustrating them with imagery borrowed from the Fathers of the Church.

Bibliography: j. quÉtif and j. Échard, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum, 5 v. (Paris 171923); continued by r. coulon (Paris 1909); repr. 2 v. in 4 (New York 1959) 2.2:656657. Á. touron, Histoire des hommes illustrée de l'Ordre de Saint Dominique, 6 v. (Paris 174349).

[c. lozier]