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Morin, Jean

MORIN, JEAN (latinized JOANNES MORINUS) (1591-1659), French theologian, was born in 1591 at Blois, of Protestant parents. He learned Latin and Greek at Rochelle, and continued his studies at Leiden, subsequently removing to Paris. His conversion to the Roman Church is ascribed to Cardinal du Perron. In 1618 he joined the congregation of the Oratory, and in due course took priest's orders. In 1625 he visited England in the train of Henrietta Maria; in 1640 he was at Rome, on the invitation of Cardinal Barberini, and was received with special favour by Pope Urban VIII. He was, however, soon recalled to Paris by Richelieu, and the rest of his life was spent in incessant literary labour. The Histoire de la delivrance de I'eglise chretienne par I'emp. Constantin, et de la grandeur et souverainetetemporelle donnee a I'eglise romaine par les rois de France (1630) gave great offence at Rome, and a Declaration (1654), directed against faults in the administration of the Oratory, was strictly suppressed. So, too, his great work on penance gave equal offence to the Jesuits and to Port-Royal, and even after his death, in 1659, the polemical vehemence of his Exercitationes biblicae, and the exaggeration of his assertion " apud neotericos Haereticos verba Scripturarum non esse Integra, non superficiem, non folia, nedum sensum, medullam et radicem rationis " long led Protestants to treat his valuable contributions to the history of the Hebrew text as a mere utterance of Popish prejudice.

Morin was a voluminous and prolix writer on ecclesiastical antiquities. His principal works in this field are Commentarius historicus de disciplina in administratione sacramenti poenitentiae XIII. primis seculis in eccl. occid. et hucusque in orient, observata (1651), and Comm. de sacris ecclesiae ordinationibus secundum antiques et receniiores latinos, graecos, syros et bdbylonios (1655), which expresses those irenical views on the subject of ordination which recommended Morin to Urban VIII. The literary correspondence of Morin appeared in 1682 under the title of Antiquitates ecclesiae orientalis (edited by R. Simon).

Morin's chief fame, however, rests on his biblical and critical worK. By his editio princeps of the Samaritan Pentateuch and Targum, in tne Paris Polyglott, he gave the first impulse in Europe to the study of this dialect, which he acquired without a teacher (framing a grammar for himself) by the study of MSS. then newly brought to Europe. Not unnaturally he formed a very exaggerated view of the value of the Samaritan tradition of the text (Exercitationes in utrumque Samaritanorum Pentaleuchum, 1631). A similar tone of exaggerated depreciation of the Massoretic Hebrew text, coloured by polemical bias against Protestantism, mars his greatest work, the posthumous Exercitationes biblicae^ de hebraeici graecique textus sinceritate (1660), in which, following in the footsteps of Cappellus, but with incomparably greater learning, he brings irrefragable arguments against the then current theory of the absolute integrity of the Hebrew text and the antiquity of the vowel points.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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