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BILLtTART


567


BILLY


Billuart, Charles-Rene, Dominican preacher, controversialist, and theologian, b. at Revin, a small town of the Ardennes on the Meuse, Belgium, 28 Jan- uary, 1685; d. there 20 January, 1757. He com- pleted his classics at the Jesuit college of Charleville and soon after entered the Dominican convent in his native town. He was sent to the novitiate at Lille, whence he returned a year later for profession, 7 Nov- vember, 1702. He followed the regular courses, re- ceiving ordination in 1708. The two following years he spent at Liege, pursuing higher studies, and in 1710 was appointed profes.sor of philosophy at Douai. The next year he was transferred to ReWn, but was speedily promoted to a chair of theology which he held until 1715, when he was appointed master of students at Douai. Here, in 1718, he became second regent of studies and was also designated to preach the Advent and Lenten courses at Liege. Invited to Maastricht by Count Tilly, the famous CathoHc gov- ernor of the city and Commander-in-Chief of the armies in Holland, he preached on the Real Presence during the Corpus Christi celebration and later de- fended the doctrine at a public discussion in the town hall. All this had been arranged by the count, who had the satisfaction of seeing the ministers reduced to silence by Billuart's incisive logic and irresistible learning. After three years as Prior of Revin, Billuart was called to the regency of Douai and three years later, 15 October, 1728, he was elected provincial. The honours of the doctorate were conferred upon hira in 1729. In 1732 he again preached a course at Liege, adding to his fame as a preacher. He next held the office of Prior of Revin for three successive terms until, in 1741, he was re-elected provincial. In 1746 he began and in five years completed his celebrated and monumental work, the "Summa S. Thoms hodiernis Acaderaiarum moribus accommodata" (19 vols. Li ge, 1746-51). This work had been entrusted to him by the master general of the order nearly four- teen years before. It was a fitting response to a peti- tion of his former colleagues at Douai, and it answered a general demand, as is evidenced by its publication in thirteen standard editions. In 1754, while serv- ing a third term as provincial, Billuart published a compendium, also well known to the scholastic world, in six editions, the "Summa Summie S. Thomae, sive compendium theologia?" (Li?ge, 1754).

Billuart's work is characterized by a facile style, copious treatment, and fearless exposition; by well planned logical divisions and precise, clear-cut dis- tinctions. It ranks among the leading commen- taries on St. Thomas. It is esteemed for its annexed historical essays, the materials for which are drawn largely from the ecclesiastical history of Natalis Alex- ander, O. P. In his moral science Billuart favours a moderate probabiliorism, in which position, however, he no longer commands a very great following outside of his own school. Generally speaking, Billuart stands forth as a theologian of authority. He is one of the foremost writers who have shed lustre on the school of the Angelic Doctor. In his polemical WTit- ings, Billuart was a devoted member of his order and a keen disciple of St. Thomas, zealous for the integrity of the saint's accepted teachings. Dignified in bear- ing, he was gentle to those around him. He was un- remitting in his labours and a man of prayer withal, much given to devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

His principal works, besides those mentioned, are the following: "Supplementum cursus theologia; ' (Lidge, 1759); "De niente ecclesiae catholics circa accidentia eucharistia>" (Liege, 1715); " Le thomisme vengd de .sa pr^tendue condamnation par la constitu- tion rnigenitus" (Bru-s.-iels, 1720); "LettreiMM. los docteurs de la faculty de theologie de I'universit^ de Douai" (172:3); "Examen critique des reflexions sur le bref de notre S. P< re le pape Benoit XIII" (1725); " Le thomisme triomphant par le bref Demissas preces


de Benoit XIII"; "R^ponse . . . ^ M. Stidvenard, Chanoine de Cambrai, au sujet de son Apologie pour feu Mgr. de F^nelon"; "Avis k M. Stidvenard .sur la seconde Apologie pour Mgr. F^nelon"; "Justification de I'avis"; "Apologie du thomisme triomphant" (Liege, 1731); "Rdponse a I'auteur d'un libelle" (1734); "Apologie . . . contre I'Histoire du baia- nisme compos^e par le Pere Duchesne" (Avignon, 1738); "Sermons du R. P. C. R. Billuart", edited by Abbd LelievTC (2 vols., Paris, 1846).

L.\BYt:, Vita Auctoris in Supphmentum Cursus Theol. (Li^ge. 1759): Mandonnet in Diet, de theol. cath.; Lelievre. preface to Sermons du B. P. Billuart (Paris, 1846), I; Hurtek, A'omtn- clator, II, 1284.

J. R. VoLz.

Billy, (BiLLi) Jacques de, a French patristic scholar, theologian, jurist, linguist, and Benedictine abbot, b. 1535 at Guise in Picardy; d. 25 December, 1581 at Paris. He began his studies at Paris, com-

Cleted a course of philosophy and theology before e was eighteen years of age, and then, at the request of his paients went to Orleans and later to Poitiers to study jurisprudence. But ha\'ing no incHnation for law, he devoted most of his time to literature. The early death of his parents (Louis de Billy, of an old French family originally from Ile-de-France, and Marie de Brichanteau) gave him the opportunity he desired of pursuing unhampered his favourite study of letters. Quietly withdrawing to Lyons and later to Avignon, de Billy devoted himself, for a period, entirely to the study of Greek and Hebrew. He already held in commcndatn the Abbey of St.- Leonard of Ferricres in Anjou, and the Priory of Taus.signy in Tourraine, when his older brother Jean, who had hitherto led a very worldly life, suddenly announced his intention of becoming a Carthusian, and resigned in favour of Jacques his two abbeys. Notre-Dame des Chatelliers and St.- Michel-en-l'Herme. After some hesitation de Billy accepted them, then entered the Order of St. Bene- dict, and later was made a regular abbot. Thence- forth he led a very ascetic life and go\'enied his monasteries with great prudence. He was especially solicitous for the proper observance of monastic discipline and with that object in view renewed, in 1506, the statutes of his predecessor, Abbot Bertrand de Moussy. During the civil wars that devastated France at this period the monasterj' of St.-Michel-en- I'Herme was wholly destroyed. The abbot bjmself was frequently obliged to seek refuge from the ravages of war, and resided, for short periods, at Laon, Nantes, Paris, and in the Priory of Taussigny. The hardships he had to imdergo in his joumejnngs, his incessant toil and study, and his ascetic observ- ances gradually shattered his health, and while staying in Pan's with his friend Gilbert Gendbrard, he died at the comparatively early age of forty-six. Ho .was buried in the choir of the church of Saint- S^vcrin.

From the day on which he entered the novitiate, de Billy set aside all profane studies and devoted him.self exclusively to the study of the Fathers. His critical abilities and exceptional linguistic attain- ments (he wrote Greek and Latin with singular purity and precision) enabled him to do much for the emendation of the text and the correct interpre- tation of many obscure passages in the Church Fathers. His favourite among the Fathers was Si. Gregory Nazianzen. His principal works are: (1) "S. Gregorii Nazianzeni opera omnia latine" (Paris, 1569); a second and better edition appeared in 1583. (2) "Consolations et instructions" (Paris. 1.570). (3) "R6er6ations spirituelles" (Paris, 1573).

(4) "S. Gregorii Nazianzeni opuscula" (Paris, 1575).

(5) " Interpretatio Latina x\'iii priorum capitum S. Irensei" (Paris, 1575). (6) "Anthologia sacra" (Paris, 157C). (7) "Joannis Damasceni opera '