QUESNEL, kê"nel', PASQUIER: Jansenistic author; b. at Paris July 14, 1634; d. at Amsterdam Dec. 2, 1719. He was educated at the Sorbonne, where he completed his theological studies (M.A., 1653). In 1657 he entered the Congregation of the Fathers of the Oratorium, then involved in the Jansenistic controversies; and in 1659 became priest. Before the age of twenty-eight he became director of the Paris Institute, the seminary of his order, where he was distinguished as a brilliant instructor, of keen understanding and immovable stability, as well as an amiable and modest character. He devoted himself early to the study of the Scriptures, and from this originated his main work, which drew upon him the enmity of the Jesuits, Réflexions morales sur le Nouveau Testament (Le Nouveau Testament en François avec des réjlezions morales sur chaque verset, 4 vols., Paris, 1692; Eng. transl., The New Testament, with Moral Reflections upon Every Verse, by R. Russel, 4 vols., London, 1719-25). Originally only a brief treatment of a few passages of the Gospels, entitled Abrégé de la morale de l'Évangile, intended for practical use among his order, it gained such acceptance that Quesnel enlarged it to cover the four Gospels. Each new and enlarged edition met with an increased favor and the bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne, Felix Vialard, in a pastoral letter in 1671, commended it to his spiritual charge. When he published Sancti Leonis papæ opera (1675; folio, 1700), in which he defended the liberties of the Gallican Church (see GALLICANISM) and failed to dedicate the same to the archbishop of Paris, he gained the latter's ill-will, and was by him forced to leave Paris, whereupon he took up his residence at Orléans. Soon he felt constrained to retire from the Oratorium; and, unable to subscribe the Anti-Jansenistic formulas, he fled to Brussels in 1685, where Anton Arnauld (q.v.) was living, with whom he remained till the latter's death. Here he further extended the Reflexions to cover the entire New Testament, the work appearing complete for the first time in 1687, a new edition (of 1693) being endorsed by the bishop of Châlons, afterward archbishop of Paris and later Cardinal Louis Antoine de Noailles (q.v.). The work represented the Jansenistic doctrine, both dogmatic and practical; and when Quesnel had succeeded Arnauld at his death (1694) as head of the party and the strife was renewed in 1703, an order of arrest was secured from Philip V. of Spain, and Quesnel was imprisoned in the ward of the archbishop's palace. With the aid of friends he made his escape and lived in Holland the rest of his life. The seizure of all his papers and correspondence proved a disastrous weapon in the hands of the Jesuits against the Jansenists. The former secured a decree in 1708 from Pope Clement XI., condemning the Réflexions, but this was inhibited in France by reason of objections of a formal nature, and Quesnel's work obtained only the greater circulation. In the formally correct bull, Unigenitus, of 1713, 101 theses were condemned in the most violent pronouncements. The Cardinal de Noailles and seven other prelates rejected the bull, supported by most of the clericals of the orders and by the people, ever ready to take sides against the Jesuits. The main point at issue was the freedom of the Gallican Church. Quesnel meantime vindicated himself by various writings; and quiet and resigned, meek and pious, continued his authorship in exile, in a clear, forceful, elegant, and precise style. Other principal works were, Tradition de l'église romaine sur la prédestination et la grâce (4 vols., 1687); La Discipline de l'église, tirée du Nouveau Testament et de quelques anciens conciles (2 vols., Lyons, 1689); Histoire abrégée de la vie et des ouvrages de M. Arnauld, appearing originally in 1695 as Question curieuse (Liége, 1699); La Foi et l'innocence du elergé de Hollande défendues (1700); and L'Idée du sacerdoce et du sacrifice de Jésus Christ (very many reprints). Some of his works of edification were, Instructions chrétiennes et élévations à Dieu sur la passion (Paris, 1702); Jéssus Christ pénitent, ou exercise de piété pour le temps du carême (1728); Elévation à Jéssus Christ Notre Seigneur sur sa passion et sa mort (reprinted many times); Le Jour évangtélique ou trois cent soixante vérités tirées du Nouveau Testament (1700); Le Bonheur de la mort chrétienne (new ed., 1738), and L'Office de Jésus, avec des réflexions. P. F. Le Courayer has published a collection of correspondence, Recueil de lettres spirituelles sur divers sujets de morale et de piété (3 vols., Paris, 1721-23). His letters were edited by Madame Le Roy (2 vols., Paris, 1900).


BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Schell, Die Constitution Unigenitus, pp. 27 eqq., Freiburg, 1878; G. H. Putnam, The Censorship of the Church of Rome, i. 357-381, ii. 410, New York, 1906-1907; Reusch, Index, ii. 881 sqq.; Princeton Review, 1856, pp. 132 sqq.; Lichtenberger, ESR, xi. 82-65; KL, x. 678-679.


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