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Maimbourg, Louis


Church historian, controversialist, and preacher; b. Nancy, France, January 10, 1610; d. Paris, August 13, 1686. He was admitted to the Jesuit novitiate, May 20, 1626, completed his theological courses at Rome, and then taught humanities at Rouen for six years. Maimbourg developed a skill for polemics and was known for his preaching and writings against Jansenists and Protestants. He criticized Antoine Arnauld, and under the pseudonym François Romain, he wrote a reply to the circular letter written on April 25, 1668, by Bps. Nicolas Pavillon of Alet, François Caulet of Pamiers, Henri Arnauld of Angers, and Nicolas Buzenval of Beauvais, in which they explained their refusal to sign Alexander VII's formulary, Regiminis apostolici (February 15, 1665). Seeking common ground for discussion and possible agreement with Protestants, he wrote: La Méthode pacifique pour remaner sans dispute les protestants à la vraie foi sur le point de l'eucharistie (Paris 1670); Traité de la vraie Église (Paris 1671); and Traité de la vraie parole de Dieu (Paris 1671). Maimbourg's reputation rests principally upon his historical works, some of which because of their sympathy for Gallican Liberties were placed on the Index. These include: Historie du grand schisme d'occident (Paris 1678; condemned May 23, 1680); Histoire de la décadence de l'empire depuis Charlemagne (Paris 1679; condemned May 23, 1680); Traité historique de l'etablissement et des prérogatives de l'Église de Rome et de ses évêques (Paris 1685; condemned June 4, 1685); Histoire du pontificat de St. Gregoire le Grand (2 v. Paris 1686; condemned February 26, 1687). His Histoire du luthéranisme (Paris 1680) was similarly censured by a decree of December 12, 1680, for its treatment of indulgences. On Feb. 10, 1682, he left the Jesuits at the order of Innocent XI. Louis XIV granted him a pension of 3,000 livres and a lodging in the Abbey of Saint-Victor at Paris. At the time of his death from apoplexy he was working on a history of Anglican orders. Among Maimbourg's works that escaped proscription by the Index are: Histoire de l'arianisme (2 v. Paris 1673); Histoire de l'hérésie des iconoclastes (3 v. Paris 1674); Histoire des croisades pour la déliverance de la Terre Sainte (2 v. Paris 1675); Histoire du schisme des Grecs (2 v. Paris 1677); Histoire du calvinisme (2 v. Paris 1682); and a book of his sermons, Sermons pour le carême (2v. Paris 1672).

Bibliography: h. reusch, Der Index der verbotenen Bücher, 2 v. (Bonn 1885) 2:583586. c. sommervogel, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus 5:343356. j. carreyre, Dictionnaire de la Théologie Catholique 9.2:165661, bibliog. and description of Maimbourg's major works. f. stegmÜller, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2 6:1298. h. liebing, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart 3 4:610611.

[e. d. mcshane]

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