Jacques-Bénigne BOSSUET

Family tree of Jacques-Bénigne BOSSUET

Author, Bishop, cardinal

FrenchBorn Jacques-Bénigne BOSSUET

French bishop and theologian

Born on July 27, 1627 in Dijon, France , France

Died on April 12, 1704 in Paris, France

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Bossuet was born at Dijon. He came from a family of prosperous Burgundian lawyers - on both his paternal and maternal side, his ancestors had held legal posts for at least a century. He was the fifth son born to Beneigne Bossuet, a judge of the parlement (a provincial high court) at Dijon, and Marguerite Mouchet. His parents decided on a career in the church for their fifth son, so he was tonsured at age 10.



The boy was sent to school at the Collège des Godrans, a classical school run by the Jesuits of Dijon. When his father was appointed to the parlement at Metz, Bossuet was left in Dijon under the care of his uncle Claude Bossuet d'Aiseray, a renowned scholar. At the Collège des Godrans, he gained a reputation for hard work: fellow students nicknamed him Bos suetus aratro, an "ox broken in to the plough". His father's influence at Metz allowed him to obtain for the young Bossuet a canonicate in the cathedral of Metz when the boy was just 13 years old.

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In 1642, Bossuet enrolled in the Collège de Navarre in Paris to finish his classical studies and to begin the study of philosophy and theology. His mentor at Navarre was the college's president, Nicolas Cornet, the theologian whose denunciation of Antoine Arnauld at the Sorbonne in 1649 was a major episode in the Jansenist controversy.



For the time being, however, Cornet and Arnaud were still on good terms. In 1643, Arnaud introduced Bossuet to the Hôtel de Rambouillet, a great centre of aristocratic culture and the original home of the Précieuses. Bossuet was already showing signs of the oratorical brilliance which served him so well throughout his life. On one celebrated occasion at the Hôtel de Rambouillet, during a dispute about extempore preaching, the 16-year-old Bossuet was called on to deliver an impromptu sermon at 11 pm. Voiture famously quipped: "I never heard anybody preach so early nor so late."



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Geographical origins

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