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le Maistre, Antoine and Isaac


Brothers who were prominent in the history of jansenism, particularly as solitaires of port-royal.

Antoine, lawyer and writer; b. Paris, May 2, 1608;d. Port-Royal, near Paris, Nov. 4, 1658. He was the son of Isaac Le Maistre, a master of requests, and of Catherine Arnauld, a sister of the reformer of Port-Royal, Angélique Arnauld. After acquiring a brilliant legal reputation, he came under the influence of Jean Duvergier de Hauranne, Abbé Saint-Cyran and withdrew to Port-Royal in 1637. Antoine was known to his contemporaries primarily for his legal speeches, which were already famous when he published them in 1657. Afterward, Antoine used his eloquence to vindicate his fellow-Jansenists. He defended Saint-Cyrian in a spirited letter to Cardinal Richelieu in 1638, and again in the Apologie pour feu M. l'ábbe de Saint-Cyrian (Paris 1642). He produced several other polemics, devotional works, and translations.

Isaac, spiritual director and writer, better known as Le Maistre de Saci (Sacy; anagrams of Isaac); b. Paris, March 29, 1613; d. Pomponne, Jan. 4, 1684. In 1637 he retired with his brother to Port-Royal. After his ordination in 1649, he became spiritual adviser to the other solitaires. With the imposition of Alexander VII's "formulary" in 1661, he fled from Port-Royal, was imprisoned from 1666 to 1668 in the Bastille, and spent most of his later life in exile. Isaac did much to popularize Jansenism in France by letting it speak through his many translations of the Scriptures and Church Fathers. Among his best-known works was Traduction du Noveau Testament, 2 v. (Amsterdam 1667), which was condemned by Clement IX in 1669. His life's work was to initiate La sainte Bible en latin et en français, 32 v. (Paris 16871702).

Bibliography: g. delassaut, Le Maistre de Sacy et son temps (Paris 1957). j. carreyre, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 190350) 9.1:198202. Biographie universelle, ed. l. g. michaud, 45 v. (Paris 184365) 24:6566; 37:196198.

[j. q. c. mackrell]

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