First Advisor

Michael F. Reardon

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Pierre de Bérulle (1575-1629), Spirituality -- France -- Catholic Church



Physical Description

1 online resource (110 p.)


The sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries witnessed a revival of spirituality throughout Europe. Positive theology emerged as both an instigation to and instrument for Christian humanists in their endeavor to redress the Church's fundamental relationship to the laity.

The early efforts for reform in France were discouraged by Gallicanist sympathies. Further, growing numbers of Calvinists combined with the possibility of a Protestant king led to thirty-five years of sporadic civil war.

From the 1580's and 90's, French spirituality began a period of renewal and growth. At the heart of the French experience was the famous Acarie circle among whose members was Pierre de Bérulle. Bérulle eventually rejected the abstract mysticism of the Acarie circle and elaborated his own spiritual doctrine. synthesis of theocentrism, Bérulle's achievement was a inherently opposed to humanism's anthropocentrism, and Christian humanism. Bérullian spirituality was the culmination of the Reformation of the French Church. This achievement, however, is largely ignored by historians of Christianity.

The object of this thesis, therefore, is to describe the historical context of Bérullian spirituality and to examine the spirituality itself so as to confirm or deny the claims of the handful of French historians who have resurrected the memory of Bérulle. At the end of this process of description and examination, causes for the disparagement of Bérulle, of his spirituality and of his congregation will be suggested.


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