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Labbe, Philippe


French scholar and Jesuit; b, Bourges, July 10, 1607;d. Paris, March 17, 1667. Philippe Labbe was born into a middle-class family whose professional connections were with the law. After entering the Society of Jesus (Sept. 28, 1623), Labbe taught the upper classes at the Jesuit college in Bourges. He soon abandoned teaching for ambitious projects of research, many of which remained unfinished at the time of his death. Many of his works were compilations, dealing with a variety of disciplines and comprising numerous volumes. Every year he produced one or more works. Labbe, like other of his contemporaries, was given to stating controversial opinions and to defending them vigorously in print. He spoke of Protestants and the intolerance typical of his century. De scriptoribus ecclesiasticis quos attigit card. Robertus Bellarminus (Paris 1660) is a criticism of a bibliography of ecclesiastical authors in which Labbe censured certain Protestant writers. Labbe's learning was extensive. His scholarly interests included hagiography, ecclesiastical and secular history, heraldry, antiquities, geography, and Greek prosody. In some fields his learning was sound, and certain of his works have been useful to subsequent generations of scholars. For a complete list of his publications (some 80 titles), see C. Sommervogel et al., Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, 11 v. (Brussels-Paris 18901932).

In Pharus Galliae Antiquae (Moulins 1644), Labbe bitterly criticized a similar account by Sanson. The dispute that ensued reached such proportions that the Chancellor of France, Pierre Séguier, Duc de Villemor, had to intervene and pacify the irate scholars. Labbe was responsible for the first plan of a history of Byzantium, De Byzantinae historiae scriptoribus (Paris 1648). This work was his most precious contribution to historical studies and the most useful to posterity. Aristotelis et Platonis graecorum interpretum types hactenus editorem (Paris 1657) is the plan of a work devoted to the history of Greek and Roman philosophy. Claudii Galeni Vita (Paris 1660) and Claudii Galeni chronologium eloquim (Paris 1660) are basic works on the life of Galen. Labbe attempted a historical concordance that is useful to the study of French history, L'Abrégé royal de l'alliance chronologique de l'histoire sacrée et profane (Paris 1651). Another major and lasting contribution is his collection of councils, Sacrosancta concilia ad regiam editionem exacta (Paris 167172). This particular work comprised eight volumes and was completed by G. Cossart.

Bibliography: h. hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae, 5 v. in 6 (3d ed. Innsbruck 190313) 4:184190. c. sommervogel et al., Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, 11v. (Brussels-Paris 18901932) 4:12951328; 9:561563. l. koch, Jesuiten-Lexikon: Die Gesellschaft Jesu einst und jetzt (Paderborn 1934) 2:105354.

[c. holmes]

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