Vacant, Alfred

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Theologian; b. Morfontaine, France Feb. 23, 1852; d. Nancy, April 2, 1901. He did his classical and philosophical studies at the minor and major seminary at Metz and studied theology at Saint Sulpice in Paris. He was ordained June 10, 1876, and received his licentiate in theology in 1879. He taught apologetics and dogmatic theology at the seminary in Nancy. Vacant wrote numerous scholarly articles on philosophy and contributed to Jaugey's Dictionnaire apologétique. He became well known for an important work, Etudes théologiques sur les constitutions du Concile du Vatican d'après les Acres du Concile, 2 v. (Paris 1895). He knew how to determine the sense of the apostolic constitution Dei Filius without exaggerating or minimizing the meaning of the text. Remaining above polemics, so frequent at the time, he exposed facts and ideas with exactness. He was one of the promoters in France of the historical method in theological studies. Most important of all, he was the founder and first director of the Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique.

Bibliography: e. amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 190350) 15.244762.

[j. de vaulx]