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Launoy, Jean de


Theologian; b. Valdesie, France, Dec. 21, 1601; d. Paris, March 10, 1678. Launoy studied philosophy and theology at the College of Navarre in Paris, of which he became the historian. Receiving a licenciate and doctorate in 1634, he was ordained a priest in 1636. As an historian he developed an extreme form of criticism, pointing out the false attributions of works and the unchecked assertions of the martyrologium. He admitted neither the identity of Denis, Bishop of Paris, with the Areopagite, nor the legend according to which St. Magdalen would have taken refuge at Sainte-Baume. In his books and letters he developed a strong and coherent form of Gallicanism, rejecting the infallibility of the Roman pontiff and professing the superiority of the general council.

In 1649, he took part in the controversy concerning the author of the Imitation of Christ: according to him, the author was not Thomas à Kempis, but Gersen, Abbot of Vercelli. He defended nicholas of clamanges who was posthumously attacked by his adversaries, and he published his unedited works. He also took part in a controversy about durandus of saint-pourÇain's theory of the divine action on human beings. He did not favor the Immaculate Conception or the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, and took part in literary controversies on these issues. Although opposed to the Jansenists, he encouraged frequent communion and considered attritionism authorized by Trent.

He was excluded from the Faculty of Theology of Paris for his refusal to subscribe to the censure of A. Arnauld (1656). In his Regia in matrimonium potestas (Paris 1674), he claimed that Christian marriage was only a civil contract and was exclusively under the jurisdiction of the state. His works were issued in 10 volumes, Joannis Launoii opera omnia (Geneva 173133).

Bibliography: j. carreyre, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., (Paris 190350) 9.1:26. p. fÉret, La Faculté de théologie de Paris et ses docteurs les plus célèbres. Époque moderne (Paris 1906). a. g. martimort, Le gallicanisme de Bossuet (Paris 1953). j. m. gres. gayer, Le Jansénisme en Sorbonne, 16431656 (Paris 1996); Le gallicanisme de Sorbonne, 16561688 (Paris 2001).

[g. mollat/

j. m. gres-gayer]

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