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Jean Martianay

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Born 30 Dec., 1647, at Saint-Sever-Cap, Diocese of Aire; died 16 June, 1717, at Saint Germain-des-Prés, Paris. He entered the Benedictine Congregation of St. Maur at an early age, and devoted himself to Biblical studies. He is spoken of repeatedly in the Benedictine annals as "most learned in Greek and Hebrew", and he was ever engaged in perfecting his knowledge. He spent over thirty years in searching the libraries of France for information, particularly with regard to the works of St. Jerome. A circular letter of Martianay's is still extant, in which he begs the co-operation of all the Benedictine abbeys in the work of producing a critical and complete edition of Jerome's writings. Ziegelbauer says (op. cit. below, II, 58) that Martianay completed without aid the gigantic task of editing St. Jerome's works; this is true if we except the "Divina Bibliotheca", or Hieronymian edition of the Vulgate. This work was executed with the collaboration of Dom Ant. Pouget. Martianay's fame as editor of St. Jerome has unfortunately eclipsed his repute as a Biblical scholar. He undertook the work of editing St. Jerome simply because he felt the pressing need of such an edition for all who devoted themselves to Biblical research. He himself taught Scripture at Arles, Bordeaux, and Carcassonne. In addition, he published many critical works on Biblical questions; he wrote a treatise on inspiration against Richard Simon; also a vindication of the Hebrew text and of the chronology given in the Vulgate. Martianay also treated of the history of the canon; the French versions of the New Testament the "Tentamen Versionis": and wrote a treatise on "The Method of explaining Holy Scripture". In 1711 he published the life of a nun in the monastery of Beaume.

In one sense it may be said that Martianay's most important contribution to Biblical criticism was his edition of the "Divina Bibliotheca", or St. Jerome's text of the Vulgate. It was a bold thing at that date to attempt to reproduce St. Jerome's text, for the materials were comparatively scanty, and, considering the means at his disposal, Martianay's work was a triumph, not only of industry, but of critical acumen. He tells us at the close of his prolegomena what manuscripts he had at his disposal, six in all, the most important of which was the famous manuscript Sangermanensis. Martianay published (1695) a separate collation of this text in his edition of the old Latin version of St. Matthew's Gospel and of the Epistle of St. James. This collation, reproduced by Bianchini in his "Evangelium Quadruplex", was faulty, and the student will find a correction of it in the first volume of Wordsworth and White, "Old Latin Biblical Texts". Ziegelbauer mentions also another work of Martianay, never printed, namely, an edition of the Vulgate with variant readings suggested by the Hebrew and Greek texts, and furnished with a series of references to the parallel passages. He also published the three psalters of St. Jerome; these appeared in French. Lastly should be mentioned his "New Testament in French" (2 vols., Paris, 1712).


Ziegelbauer, Hist. rei. lit. Ord. S. Bened. (Augsburg, 1754); Tassin Hist. litt. de la Congrég. de St-Maur (Paris, 1770), 382-97; de Lama, Bibl. des écrivains de la congrég. de Saint-Maur (Paris, 1882).

About this page

APA citation. Pope, H. (1910). Jean Martianay. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Pope, Hugh. "Jean Martianay." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Marianne King.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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