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Tanquerey, Adolphe Alfred


Sulpician theologian; b. Blainville, Normandy, May 1, 1854; d. Aix-en-Provence, Feb. 21, 1932. Tanquerey attended the College of Saint-Lô and studied for the priesthood at the diocesan seminary of Coutances (1873) and at Saint-Sulpice in Paris (1875). After graduate work at Rome (1876), he received his doctorate in theology in 1878. In the same year he was ordained and entered the Society of St. Sulpice. He was then assigned to the Sulpician novitiate, but this period was interrupted by his appointment to teach philosophy at Nantes from December 1878 to March 1879. After completing the novitiate he taught dogmatic theology in the seminary at Rodez (187987). In the summer of 1887 he went to St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, Md., where he taught dogmatic theology (188795) and canon law (188993). He played an important part in expanding the program of theological studies at St. Mary's. Recognizing the acute need for suitable textbooks in theology, he published his Synopsis theologiae dogmaticae (2 v., 1894) and in 1896 his Synopsis theologiae dogmaticae fundamentalis. From 1896 to 1902 he was professor of moral theology at St. Mary's and also served as its vice president.

His Synopsis theologiae moralis (2 v.) appeared in 1902. In the same year Tanquerey returned to Saint-Sulpice in Paris, where he taught moral theology until 1905, when the third volume of his work on moral theology was published. He left Paris in 1906 and retired to the Issy seminary, where from 1907 he acted as spiritual director for the English-speaking seminarians. In 1911 he published an abridged version of his work on dogmatic theology and two years later he did the same for his work on moral theology.

About 1915 he was named a consultor of the superior general, and from 1915 to 1926 he served as superior of the solitude, the Sulpician novitiate at Issy. These years were also devoted to a study of the spiritual life and the preparation of his Précis de théologie ascetique et mystique (1923). From 1921 to 1927 he published articles on spirituality and pedagogy in various French and English publications. In 1926 his Dogme generateurs de la piété was published and the same year marked the end of work as superior of the solitude. The next year he returned to the major seminary at Aix-en-Provence. From 1927 until his death he devoted himself to various works for the clergy and the publication of several booklets on spiritual topics. Tanquerey's textbooks have been widely used in seminaries in the U.S., France, and other countries. The various volumes of his theology have seen many editions, several of which were done by the author himself. The works were noted for their comprehensive treatments of the matter and for their emphasis on the practical application of the speculative truths. His treatise on ascetical theology, still recognized as a standard work, deals with the principles, nature, and means of the spiritual life and with the three classical ways. The book is comprehensive in scope and was written with the conviction that dogmatic truth is the foundation of ascetical theology and the source of true, balanced piety.

Bibliography: f. cimetier, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 190350; Tables générales 1951) 15.1:4748.

[j. a. laubacher]

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