Natalis (Noel), Alexander

Natalis (Noel), Alexander a distinguished Roman Catholic theologian,was born at Rouen January 19, 1639. He studied at first in the Dominican school of his native city, and joined that order in May, 1655. His talents having attracted the attention of his superiors, he was sent to Paris, where he first studied, then taught, theology, and received the degree of D.D. in 1675. Colbert appointed him to write a history of the Church, and in consequence he published in 1677 the first volume of his Selecta historiae ecclesiasticae capita et in loca ejusdem insignia dissertationes historicae, criticae, dogmaticae, the twenty-fourth and last volume of which appeared in 1686. It extends down to the close of the Council of Trent. It is written in the spirit of Gallicanism, learnedly, but in a dry, scholastic style. This was followed by the Historia ecclesiastica Veteris Novique Testamenti (Paris, 1699; Lucca, 1754; Bingen-on-the-Rhine, 1785-90), one of the most important works of the Gallican school, but the character of which is more dogmatic and polemic than historical. The free, Gallican spirit of this work caused it to be condemned by pope Innocent XI, who by a bull of July 13, 1684, forbade the reading of Natalis's works under penalty of excommunication. Natalis, however, did not retract, but defended his work, and it was finally withdrawn from the Index by pope Benedict XIII. In 1706 Natalis became provincial of his order. His sight began to fail him in 1712, and, becoming entirely blind, he was obliged to discontinue his labors. He died in the convent of the Jacobins at Paris, August 21, 1724. His principal works, besides the above, are, Theologia dogmatica et moralis (Paris, 1693, 1703, 1743, 1768): — Praecepta et regulce ad prcedicatores verbi divini infoibnandos: — Expositio literalis et moralis (S.S. Evangeliorum), etc.

(editio novissima, Paris, 1769, 2 volumes, 4to), etc. See Herzog, Real- Encyklopadie, 10:222 sq.; Mosheim, Eccles. Hist. volume 2; Hase, Ch. Hist. page 8; Schaff, Hist. Christians Ch. 1:28; Hagenbach, Hist. Doctr. 2:199, 206; Ch. Remembrancer, 1862, page 35; Bibliotheca Sacra, 7:59. (J.H.W.)

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