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Encyclopedia > Claude Fleury

Claude Fleury (December 6, 1640 - July 14, 1723), French ecclesiastical historian, was born at Paris.

Destined for the bar, he was educated at the aristocratic college of Clermont (now that of Louis-le-Grand). In 1658 he was nominated an advocate to the parlement of Paris, and for nine years followed the legal profession. But he had long been of a religious disposition, and in 1667 turned from law to theology. He had been some time in orders when Louis XIV, in 1672, selected him as tutor of the princes of Conti, with such success that the king next entrusted to him the education of the count of Vermandois, one of his natural sons, on whose death in 1683 Fleury received for his services the Cistercian abbey of Loc-Dieu, in the diocese of Rhodez.

In 1689 he was appointed sub-preceptor of the dukes of Burgundy, of Anjou, and of Berry, and thus became intimately associated with Fénelon, their chief tutor. In 1696 he was elected to fill the place of La Bruyère in the French Academy; and on the completion of the education of the young princes the king bestowed upon him the rich priory of Argenteuil, in the diocese of Paris (1706). On assuming this benefice he resigned, with rare disinterestedness, that of the abbey of Loc-Dieu.

About this time he began his great work, the first of the kind in France, and one for which he had been collecting materials for thirty years--the Histoire ecclésiastique. Fleury's evident intention was to write a history of the church for all classes of society; but at the time in which his great work appeared it was less religion than theology that absorbed the attention of the clergy and the educated public; and his work accordingly appealed to the student rather than to the popular reader, dwelling as it does very particularly on questions of doctrine, of discipline, of supremacy, and of rivalry between the priesthood and the imperial power.

Nevertheless it had a great success. The first edition, printed at Paris in 20 volumes 4to, 1691, was followed by many others, among which may be mentioned that of Brussels, in 32 vols 8vo, 1692, and that of Nîmes, in 25 vols 8vo, 1778 to 1780. The work of Fleury only comes down to the year 1414. It was continued by John Claude Fabre and Goujet down to f 595, in. 16 vols. 4to. In consulting the work of Fleury and its supplement, the general table of contents, published by Rondel, Paris, 1758, 1 vol. 4to will be found very useful. Translations have been made of the entire work into Latin, German and Italian. The Latin translation, published at Augsburg. 1758_1759, 85 vols. 8vo, carries the work down to 1684.

Fleury, was appointed confessor to the young king Louis XV ~fl 1716, because, as the duke of Orleans said, he was neither Jansenist nor Molinist, nor Ultramontanist, but Catholic. His great learning was equalled by the modest simplicity of his life and the uprightness of his conduct.

Fleury left many works besides his Histoire ecclésiastique. The following deserve special mention:

  • Histoire du droit français (1674, 12mo)
  • Mœurs des Israelites (1681, 12mo)
  • Mœeurs des Chrétiens (1682, 12mo)
  • Traité du choix et de la méthode des études (1686, 2 vols 12mo)
  • Les Devoirs des maîtres et des domestiques (1688, 12mo)

A pumber of the smaller works were published in one volume at Paris in 1807. The Roman Congregation of the Index condemned his Catéchisme historique (1679) and the Institution du droit ecclésiastique (1687).

See C Ernst Simonetti, Der Character eines Geschichtsschrejbers in dem Leben und aus den Schriften des Abbé C. Fleury (Göttingen 1746, 4to); CFP Jaeger, Notice sur C. Fleury, considéré comme historien de l'eglise (Strassburg, 1847, 8vo); Reichlin-Meldegg, Geschichte des Christentums, i.

This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.

  Results from FactBites:
Andre Hercule de Fleury - LoveToKnow 1911 (725 words)
ANDRE HERCULE DE FLEURY (1653-1743), French cardinal and statesman, was born at Lodeve (Herault) on the 22nd of June 1653, the son of a collector of taxes.
Fleury had economized in the army and navy, as elsewhere, and when in 1733 war was forced upon him he was hardly prepared.
Fleury was driven by Chauvelin to more energetic measures; he concluded a close alliance with the Spanish Bourbons and sent two armies against the Austrians.
Claude Fleury - LoveToKnow 1911 (479 words)
CLAUDE FLEURY (1640-1723), French ecclesiastical historian, was born at Paris on the 6th of December 1640.
It was continued by J. Claude Fabre and Goujet down to 1595, in 16 vols.
Fleury, who had been appointed confessor to the young king Louis XV.
  More results at FactBites »



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