4 June 2008
JANSEN, Cornelius (1585-1638, father of Jansenism). Autograph letter (possibly a draft, the signature 'C. Janssenius' apparently added in another hand) to Gerard de Courselle (Corselius), Louvain, 4 October 1635, in Latin, 1½ pages, folio (browning to right edge). Provenance: Stargardt sale, 18 May 1997, lot 545; the Albin Schram Collection.
A dispute at the Louvain 'Collegium Baianum' (of which Jansen was rector), originating in the displacing of the faculty of law from its traditional privilege of supplying one of the presidents of the college: Guillaume Merchier, the Professor of Theology, one of the chief parties in the dispute, refuses to moderate his position or to accept the combined opinion of the faculties of law and theology, and has requested legal representation if the matter is discussed before a committee of the universities of Louvain, Brussels and Mechlin. The letter continues with a request to Corselle to consider his nephew for a prebendary which has been vacated the previous day by the death of a canon of St Peter's: the nephew is skilled in Greek, but a poor theologian ('graecae linguae peritum, Theologiae mediocriter'), and for some years his maintenance has been Jansen's responsibility.
Jansen was much concerned with the university politics of the Netherlands, being particularly concerned throughout the 1620s to resist the encroachments of the Jesuit college in Louvain. He was appointed bishop of Ypres in the year after this letter, and died two years later, leaving his great work on St Augustine unfinished.
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