Massuet, RénÉ

Massuet, Réné

a French Benedictine monk of the Congregation of St. Maur, was born at St. Ouen, in Normandy, in 1665. He studied philosophy and theology in different Benedictine convents; was made licentiatus juris at Caen; and came to the abbey of St. Germain des Pres, at Paris, in 1703. Here he commenced his scientific labors, which secured him a distinguished place in that learned congregation. After the death of Ruinart, Massuet was entrusted with the continuation of the annals of the order, and he furnished the fifth volume. The principal work from his pen is an edition of the works of Irenaeus, published under the title Santcti Irencti, episcopi Lugdunensis, contra Haereses Libri v (Paris, 1710, fol.); considered as having been the best edition of this Church father that had appeared up to Massuet's time. He prefaced the works of Irenaeus by three dissertations, which give good proof of the editor's penetration and judgment. In the first dissertation the person, character, and condition of Irenaeus are considered, setting forth particularly the writings and heretics he encountered; in the second, the life, actions, martyrdom, and writings of this saint are treated of; and in the third his sentiments and doctrines are reviewed. Massuet took an active part in the Jansenistic controversies. Having undertaken to defend the edition of the works of St. Augustine against the attacks of the Jesuit Langlois, he wrote Lettre d'un Ecclesiatstique au R. P. E. L. L. sur celle qu'il a ecrite aux R. P. Benedictins de la Cong. de Saint-Maur (Osnabruck, 1699). He is also the author of a Lettre a M. I'evequ e de ryeux, sur son mandement du 5 Mai 1707 (La Haye, 1708, 12mo); and a book entitled Augustinus Graecus, in which he defends the opinions of his order on grace and free agency, but which was never published. He died at Paris, Jan. 11, 1716. See Hist. Litter. de la Cong. de St. Matiur, p. 375; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 34:217; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 9:145.

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