MAURISTS, a congregation of French Benedictines called after St Maurus (d. 565), a disciple of St Benedict and the legendary introducer of the Benedictine rule and life into Gaul. 1 At the end of the 16th century the Benedictine monasteries of France had fallen into a state of disorganization and relaxation. In the abbey of St Vaune near Verdun a reform was initiated by Dom Didier de la Cour, which spread to other houses in Lorraine, and in 1604 the reformed congregation of St Vaune was established, the most distinguished members of which were Ceillier and Calmet. A number of French houses joined the new congregation; but as Lorraine was still independent of the French crown, it was considered desirable to form on the same lines a separate congregation for France. Thus in 1621 was established the famous French congregation of St Maur. Most of the Benedictine monasteries of France, except those belonging to Cluny, gradually joined the new congregation, which eventually embraced nearly two hundred houses. The chief house was Saint-Germain-des-Pr6s, Paris, the residence of the superiorgeneral and centre of the literary activity of the congregation.
1 His festival is kept on the 15th of January. He founded the monastery of Glanfeuil or St Maur-sur-Loire.
The primary idea of the movement was not the undertaking of literary and historical work, but the return to a strict monastic regime and the faithful carrying out of Benedictine life; and throughout the most glorious period of Maurist history the literary work was not allowed to interfere with the due performance of the choral office and the other duties of the monastic life. Towards the end of the 18th century a tendency crept in, in some quarters, to relax the monastic observances in favour of study; but the constitutions of 1770 show that a strict monastic regime was maintained until the end. The course of Maurist history and work was checkered by the ecclesiastical controversies that distracted the French Church during the 17th and 18th centuries. Some of the members identified themselves with the Jansenist cause; but the bulk, including nearly all the greatest names, pursued a middle path, opposing the lax moral theology condemned in 1679 by Pope Innocent XI., and adhering to those strong views on grace and predestination associated with the Augustinian and Thomist schools of Catholic theology; and like all the theological faculties and schools on French soil, they were bound to teach the four Galilean articles. It seems that towards the end of the 18th century a rationalistic and freethinking spirit invaded some of the houses. The congregation was suppressed and the monks scattered at the revolution, the last superior-general with forty of his monks dying on the scaffold in Paris. The present French congregation of Benedictines initiated by Dom Gueranger in 1833 is a new creation and has no continuity with the congregation of St Maur.
The great claim of the Maurists to the gratitude and admiration of posterity is their historical and critical school, which stands quite alone in history, and produced an extraordinary number of colossal works of erudition which still are of permanent value. The foundations of this school were laid by Dom Tarisse, the first superior-general, who in 1632 issued instructions to the superiors of the monasteries to train the young monks in the habits of research and of organized work. The pioneers in production were Menard and d'Achery.
The following tables give, divided into groups, the most important Maurist works, along with such information as may be useful to students. All works are folio when not otherwise noted:
I. THE EDITIONS OF THE FATHERS Epistle of Barnabas M4nard 1645 I in4 w (editio princeps)
Lanfranc d'Achery 1648 I Guibert of Nogent d'Achery 1651 I Robert Pulleyn and Peter of Poitiers Mathou 1655 I Bernard Mabillon 1667 2 Anselm Gerberon 1675 I Cassiodorus Caret 1679 I Augustine (see Kukula, Delfau, Blampin.
Die Mauriner-Ausgabe Coustant, Guesnie 1681-1700 n des Augustinus, 1898)
Ambrose du Frische 1686-1690 2 Acta martyrum sincera Ruinart 1689 I Hilary Coustant 1693 I Jerome Martianay 1693-1706 5 Athanasius Loppin and Mont- faucon 1698 3 Gregory of Tours Ruinart 1699 I Gregory the Great Sainte-Marthe 1705 4 Hildebert of Tours Beaugendre 1708 i Irenaeus Massuet 1710 I Chrysostom Montfaucon 1718-1738 13 Cyril of Jerusalem Touttee and Maran 1720 I Epistolae romanorum Coustant 1721 I pontificum * Basil Gamier and Maran 1721-1730 3 Cyprian (Baluze, not a Maurist) finished by Maran 1726 I Origen Ch. de la Rue (l, 2,3)V.delaRue(4)1733-1759 4 Justin and the Apolo- Maran 1742 I gists Gregory Nazianzen * Maran and Cl^men- cet i 778
1 14 vols. of materials collected for the continuation are at Paris. 1 The printing of vol. ii. was impeded by the Revolution.
St Jerome's Latin Bible Origen's Hexapla Old Latin versions II. BIBLICAL WORKS Martianay Montfaucon Sabbathier 1693 1713 1743-1749 III. GREAT COLLECTIONS OF DOCUMENTS Spicilegium d'Achery Veterae analecta Mabillon Musaeum italicum Mabillon Co'.lectio nova patrum Montfaucon graecorum Thesaurus novus anecdo- Martene and Dur- torum and Veterum scriptorum col- Martene and Dur- lectio and De antiquis ecclesiae- Martene ritibus (Final form)
IV. MONASTIC HISTORY Acta of the Benedictine Saints Benedictine Annals (to 1157)
d'Achery, Mabillon and Ruinart 1668-1701 9 Mabillon (1-4), Massuet (5), Martene (6) 1703-739 6 V. ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY AND ANTIQUITIES OF FRANCE A. General. Sainte-Marthe (1,2,3)
Gallia Christiana (3 other vols. were published 1856-1865)
Monuments de la monarchic francaise Histoire litteiaire de la France (16 other vols.
were published 1814- 1881) Recueil des historiens de Bouquet (l-8), Brial la France (4 other vols.
were published 1840- 1876) Concilia Galliae (the printing of vol. ii. was interrupted by the Revolution ; there were to have been 8 vols.
B. Histories of the Provinces.
Bretagne Lobineau 1707 Paris Felibien and Lobi- neau 1725 Languedoc Vaissette and de Vic 1730-1745 Bourgogne Plancher (1-3), Merle 1739-1748, (4) 1781 Bretagne Monce 1742-1756 Montfaucon Rivet, C16mencet, Clement (12-19)
Labbat 17I5-J785 13 1729-1733 5 1733-1763 1738-1833 19 1789 De re diplomatica Ditto Supplement Nouveau trait6 de diplomatique Paleographia graeca Bibliotheca coisliniana Bibliotheca bibliotheca- rum manuscriptorum nova L'Antiquit6 expliqu6 New ed. of Du Cange's glossarium Ditto Supplement Apparatus ad biblio- thecam maximam patrum L'Art de verifier les dates Ed. 2 Ed. 3 Mabillon 1681 Mabillon 1704 ToustainandTassin 1750-1765 Montfaucon Montfaucon Montfaucon 1708 1715 1739 Montfaucon Dantine and Carpentier Carpentier le Nourry 1719-1724 1733-1736 1766 1703 2 Dantine, Durand, Cl^mencet C16ment C16ment 1750 1770 1783-1787 3 The 58 works in the above list comprise 199 great folio volumes and 39 in 4' or 8. The full Maurist bibliography contains the names of some 220 writers and more than 700 works. The lesser works in large measure cover the same fields as those in the list, but the number of works of purely religious character, of piety, devotion and edification, is very striking. Perhaps the most wonderful phenomenon of Maurist work is that what was produced was only a portion of what was contemplated and prepared for. The French Revolution cut short many gigantic undertakings, the collected materials for which fill hundreds of manuscript volumes in the Bibliotheque nationale of Paris and other libraries of France. There are at Paris 31 volumes of Berthereau's materials for the Historians of the Crusades, not only tn Latin and Greek, but in the oriental tongues; from them have been taken in great measure the Recueil des historiens des croisades, whereof 15 folio volumes have been published by the Academic des Inscriptions. There exist also the preparations for an edition of Rufinus and one of Eusebius, and for the continuation of the Papal Letters and of the Concilia Galliae. Dom Caffiaux and Dom Vitlevielle left 236 volumes of materials for a Tresor genealogique. There are Benedictine Antiquities (37 vols.), a Monasticon Gallicanum and a Monasticon Benedictinum (54 vols.). Of the Histories of the Provinces of France barely half a dozen were printed, but all were in hand, and the collections for the others fill 800 volumes of MSS. The materials for a geography of Gaul and France in 50 volumes perished in a fire during the Revolution.
When these figures were considered, and when one contemplates the vastness of the works in progress during any decade of the century 1680-1780; and still more, when not only the quantity but the quality of the work, and the abiding value of most of it is realized, it will be recognized that the output was prodigious and unique in the history of letters, as coming from a single society. The qualities that have made Maurist work proverbial for sound learning are its fine critical tact and its thoroughness.
The chief source of information on the Maurists and their work is Dom Tassin's Histoire litteraire de la. congregation de Saint-Maur (1770); it has been reduced to a bare bibliography and completed by de Lama, Bibliotheque des ecrivains de la congr. de S.-M. (1882). The two works of de Broglie, Mabillon (2 vols., 1888) and Montfaucon (2 vols., 1891), give a charming picture of the inner life of the great Maurists of the earlier generation in the midst of their work and their friends. Sketches of the lives of a few of the chief Maurists will be found in McCarthy's Principal Writers of the Congr. of S. M. (1868). Useful information about their literary undertakings will be found in De Lisle's Cabinet des MSS. de la Bibl. Nat. Fonds St Germain- desPres. General information will be found in the standard authorities: Helyot, Hist, des ordres religieux (1718), vi. c. 37; Heimbucher, Orden and Kongregationen (1907) i. 36; Wetzer und Welte, Kirchenlexicon (ed. 2) and Herzog-Hauck's Realencyklopadie (ed. 3), the latter an interesting appreciation by the Protestant historian Otto Zockler of the spirit and the merits of the work of the Maurists.
(E. C. B.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)