Thomas O'Connor

in The Oxford Handbook of the Ancien Régime

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199291205
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History


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Jansenism was given a name only in the 1640s but originated as a sixteenth-century theological current in Spanish Flanders, where it was part of the Catholic response to the intellectual and pastoral challenges thrown up by the Reformation. It gradually outgrew its university origins and, by the 1640s, had come to represent a distinct and contested renewal tendency in Flemish and French Catholicism. Although Antoine Arnauld (1612–94), the greatest Jansenist so-called, claimed that Jansenism was the product of its critics' febrile imaginations, there was nothing illusory about its capacity to create enemies. Detractors distrusted its positive theological method and suspected its dogged determination to impose St Augustine as the church's unique theological yardstick.

Keywords: Jansenism; Reformation; French Catholicism; St Augustine; the church

Article.  9169 words. 

Subjects: History ; Social and Cultural History

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