Sertillanges, Antonin Gilbert
SERTILLANGES, ANTONIN GILBERT
Dominican preacher, apologist, and philosopher; b. Clermont-Ferrand, France, Nov. 16, 1863; d. Sallanches (Haute-Savoy), July 26, 1948. In 1883 Sertillanges entered the order (then exiled from France) in Belmont, Spain, taking the name of Dalmatius. He was ordained in 1888 and in 1890 was assigned to teach theology in Corbara, Corsica. Named secretary of the Revue Thomiste in Paris (1890), he taught moral theology at the Catholic Institute from 1900 to 1920. At the same time he gave an important series of conferences that was uninterrupted by the expulsion of religious in 1903. From then on he published books and articles that numbered more than 700 by the time of his death. His principal theological works include La preuve de l'existence de Dieu et l'éternité du monde (Fribourg 1898), Les sources de la croyance en Dieu (Paris 1903), S. Thomas d'Aquin (2 v. Paris 1910), La philosophie morale de S. Thomas d'Aquin (Paris 1916), and L'idée de création et ses retentissements en philosophie (Paris 1945). In religious sociology he wrote Le patriotisme et la vie sociale (Paris 1903), La politique chrétienne (Paris 1904), Socialisme et christianisme (Paris 1905), and La famille et l'etat dans l'éducation (Paris 1907). In Christian aesthetics his works include Un pélerinage artistique à Florence (Paris 1895), Art et apologétique (Paris 1909), and Prière et musique (Paris 1930). One of the most famous and inspirational of all Sertillanges's works, however, was La vie intellectuelle (Paris 1921).
World War I increased his preaching activity; the three series of La vie héroïque (Paris 1914–18) contain the most important sermons of this period. The political tenor of one sermon in 1917 led to his suspension from the ministry after 1922 and to his successive exiles in Jerusalem in 1923, in Rijckholt (Holland) in 1924, and in Saulchoir (Belgium) from 1928 to 1939, when he was permitted to return to France.
Although he had already published such works as Jesus (Paris 1897), moral suffering intensified his output of spiritual books: Ce que Jésus voyait du haut de la Croix (Paris 1924); L'eglise (2 v. Paris 1926); Les plus belles pages de S. Thomas (Paris 1929); and the four volumes Recueillements, Affinités, Devoirs, and Spiritualité (Paris 1935–38). His open-mindedness and respect for the opinions of others made him an outstanding apologist. This is evident more particularly in Le catéchisme des incroyants (Paris 1930) and in Dieu ou rien (2 v. Paris 1933). He was elected as a philosopher to the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences in 1918. He made a close study of Henri bergson, with whom he was intimately associated, in Avec Henri Bergson (Paris 1941); Henri Bergson et le catholicisme (Paris 1941); and Lumière et périls du bergsonisme (Paris 1943). He studied also Claude Bernard in La philosophie de Claude Bernard (Paris 1944), and wrote the synthesis Le christianisme et la philosophie (2 v. Paris 1939–41) and La philosophie des lois (Paris 1946). His last work, interrupted by his death, was Le problème du mal (2 v. Paris 1948).
Bibliography: m. f. moos, Le père sertillanges: maître de vie spirituelle (Brussels 1958); Cahiers S. Dominique 44 (1964) 172–177. The introductions of h. lelong to a. d. sertillanges, De la mort (Le jas du Revest-Saint Martin; 1963) 13–56; De la vie (ibid.; 1964) 13–50.
[m. h. vicaire]