Huet (Huetius), Pierre Daniel

Huet (Huetius), Pierre Daniel a French scholar, and ecclesiastic, was born at Caen Feb. 8,1630. He was educated at the Jesuit school of Caen, and was originally intended for the profession of the law; but the perusal of the "Principles" of Des Cartes and Bochart's "Sacred Geography' turned his attention to general literature, and he became a zealous pupil of these distinguished men. In 1652 he accompanied Bochart to Sweden. Here he discovered and transcribed the MS. of Origen, which subsequently became the basis of his celebrated edition of that Church father. He was solicited by the queen to settle in her dominions, but he refused the offer, and returned to France. In 166-1l he published an essay De Interpretatione, and in 1668 his edition of Origen's Commentaria in Sac. Script. (Rouen, 2 vols. fol.; Cologne, 1685, 3 vols. fol.), with a learned introduction, entitled Origeniana, since reprinted in the Benedictine edition of Origen. He thus acquired so great a reputation that he was honored with the degree of doctor of law, and shortly after was appointed subtutor to the dauphin. He also took a leading part in editing the Delphini edition of the Latin classics. In 1674 he was elected a member of the French Academy; and having taken orders in 1676, he was appointed in 1678 to the abbey of Aunay, near Caen. In 1685 he was made bishop of Soissons, but he never entered on this position and was transferred to the see of Avranches in 1692. Desirous of devoting his time to study, he resigned his bishopric in 1699, and obtained the abbey of Fontelnay near Caen. In 1701 he removed to Paris, and resided at the Jesuits' house. He died Jan. 26,1721. His other principal works are Demonstratio Evangelica (Paris, 1679, often reprinted). "This work, which is the great monument of Huet's literary reputation, was the result of various conversations with the eminent Rabbi Manassehl ben-Israel at Amsterdam. It begins with a set. of definitions on the genuineness of books, history, prophecy, the Messiah, and the Christian religion. Then follow two postulates and four axioms. — The propositions occupy the rest of the book, and in the discussion of these the demonstration consists" (Kitto) — De la situation du Pardlis Terrestre (Par. 1691, 12mo) — Commentarius de rebus ad auctoren pertinentibus (Amst. 1718, 12mo), "his autobiographical memoirs-a model of pure Latinity, as well as the most interesting record of the history of his time." It was translated by John Aikin, M.D. (London, 1810,2 vols. 8vo) — Censura Philosophiae Cartesianae (Par. 1689, 1694,12mo) — Questiones Alnetance de Concordia Rationis et Fidei (Caen, 1690). The two last- named works are aimed at the Cartesian philosophy, to which Huet had adhered in his earlier days, and against which he appears in these works as one of the most formidable opponents — Traite philosophique de la faiblesse de l'Eprit humain (Amsterd. 1723, 8vo), "which, according to Voltaire, was regarded by many as a refutation of his Demonstratio Evangelica, and has caused him to he classed among skeptics." All the works of Huet were published in a collected form in 1712, and An additional volume, entitled Huetiana, in the year following his death (1722). See Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé. 25:387 sq.; English Cyclopedia, s.v.; Quarterly Rev. (London), 4:103 sq.; Chambers, Cyclop. 5, 449 sq.; Morell, list. of Mod. Philosophy, p. 195 sq., 523. (J.H.W.)

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