Surius, Lawrence

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Carthusian spiritual writer; b. Lübeck, 1522; d. Cologne, May 23, 1578. Surius took the degree of master of arts at Cologne in 1539 and became a Carthusian the following year. At the time of the Reformation the Carthusians were doing little original work, but, especially at Cologne, they were active in translating, editing, and printing the works of the great ascetical and mystical authors of the Rheno-Flemish School and of the Devotio Moderna. Surius compiled from available sources a voluminous hagiographical work, De probatis Sanctorum historiis (Cologne 157075). Remarkably critical for its time, this work was useful to the Bollandists, especially after George Garnefelt, also of the Cologne charterhouse, published a revised edition of it that carefully indicated the sources Surius had used (Cologne 161718). Revised, enlarged, abridged, and translated into various languages, the editions of the Lives of the Saints are countless. The last Latin edition, in 13 volumes, was published at Turin (187580). Surius also translated and edited the Meditations on the Life of Christ, and Pearl of the Gospel, and the works of Henry suso, Johannes tauler, and Jan van ruysbroeck. These translations of the Rhenish and Flemish mystics are valuable because they reflect the interpretation of these authors current at the time of the Reformation. Historically, they were important also for their contribution to the revival of interest in the spiritual life in the Counter Reformation period. Surius's total literary production amounted to 36 volumes.

Bibliography: s. autore, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant, 15 v. (Paris 190350; Tables générales 1951) 14.2:284249.

[b. du moustier]