Masclef, Francois

Masclef, Francois a noted Roman Catholic divine and Orientalist, was born at Amiens in the year 1662. He very early devoted himself to the study of Oriental languages, and attained in them an extraordinary degree of proficiency. Educated for service in the Church, he became first a curate in the diocese of Amiens, but afterwards obtained the confidence of De Brou, bishop of Amiens, who placed him at the head of the theological seminary of the district, and made him a canon. De Brou died in 1706, and Masclef, whose opinions on the Jansenistic controversy were not in accordance with those of the new prelate Sabbatier, was compelled to resign his place in the theological seminary and retire from public life. From this time he devoted himself to study with such close application as to bring on a disease, of which he died, on Nov. 24, 1728, when only in his prime. Though austere in his habits, he was amiable and pious. Masclefs chief work is the Grammatica Hebraica, a punctis aliisque inventis Massorethicis libera, still considered one of the best works of the kind; it embodies an elaborate argument against the use of the vowelpoints. The first edition was published in 1716, and speedily called forth a defense of the points from the abbé Gutarin, a learned Benedictine monk. In the year 1731 a second edition was published at Paris, containing an answer to Guarin's objections, with the addition of grammars of the Syriac, Chaldee, and Samaritan languages. Other works of Masclef are, Ecclesiastical Conferences of the Diocese of Amiens: — Catechism of Amiens: — and in manuscript, Courses of Philosophy and Divinity; not printed because it is thought to contain Jansenistic opinions.

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