Meaning And Scope Of The Return To Origins In Richard Simon’s Work -- By: Jacques Le Brun

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 03:1 (Spring 1982)
Article: Meaning And Scope Of The Return To Origins In Richard Simon’s Work
Author: Jacques Le Brun


Meaning And Scope Of The Return To Origins
In Richard Simon’s Work

Jacques Le Brun*

Hautes Etudes

Professor Jacques Le Brun is a distinguished Professor of Roman Catholic history at Hautes Etudes, Paris. He is a genuine polymath who is equally at ease reading a Hebrew text from the Old Testament as commenting upon the intricacies of French verse from the seventeenth century. Professor Le Brun has written well-received volumes and articles on Bossuet, Fenelon, Richard Simon, Pierre-Daniel Huet and other important Catholic savants.

In the present piece he demonstrates the riches that can be mined by the careful assessment of primary sources. Moreover he elucidates several of the textual problems that stirred the thinking of the Roman Catholic scholar, Richard Simon (1638–1712), one of the founders of modern biblical criticism. Professor Le Bruns essay has a further merit. It highlights the fact that seventeenth century Roman Catholic apologists believed that contemporary Protestant disputants made distinctions between copies and theoriginals of the Bible. Recent Anglo-Saxon commentators on theoriginal autographs thesis (Ernest Sandeen, James Barr, Jack Rogers and DonaM McKim) have often failed to understand the dynamics of seventeenth century discussions of textual problems. This has led them into the interpretative cul-de-sac of emphasizing thenovelty of the nineteenth centuryPrincetonians’“view of the infallibility of the original autographs.

Professor Le Bruns own religious background is Roman Catholic. He writes, however, with a goal of crafting responsible historical analyses which are not determined by his own religious preferences. Since 1974 I have had the privilege of working with him on diverse projects (see especially n. 7, below). It is a personal pleasure. for me to see Professor Le Bruns important essay appear in the Trinity Journal. Not only is Professor Le Brun one of the foremost seventeenth century scholars in the world, but he is a gentleman and a close personal friend. -John D. Woodbridge

*This article first appeared in French in the distinguished journal XVIIe Sicle, and is here reprinted in English with the kind permission of the author and of the editor of that journal. Dr. John Woodbridge of Trinity’s Department of Church History consented to write the brief introductory note, drawing attention to some of the highly significant conclusions of Prof. Le Brun’s work, conclusions which have prompted TrinJ to make an exception to its policy of not publishing work that has appeared elsewhere. The translation was prepared by my f...

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