Adrien Baillet

Last updated
Adrien Baillet, gravure, postuum (1715) Adrien Baillet, grote gravure.jpg
Adrien Baillet, gravure, postuum (1715)

Adrien Baillet (13 June 1649 21 January 1706) was a French scholar and critic. He is now best known as a biographer of René Descartes.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

René Descartes 17th-century French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist

René Descartes was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. A native of the Kingdom of France, he spent about 20 years (1629–1649) of his life in the Dutch Republic after serving for a while in the Dutch States Army of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange and the Stadtholder of the United Provinces. He is generally considered one of the most notable intellectual figures of the Dutch Golden Age.



He was born in the village of Neuville near Beauvais, in Picardy. His parents could only afford to send him to a small school in the village, but he picked up some Latin from the friars of a neighbouring convent, who brought him under the notice of the bishop of Beauvais. By his kindness Baillet received a thorough education at the theological seminary, and was afterwards appointed to a post as teacher in the college of Beauvais. In 1676 he was ordained priest and was presented to a small vicarage. [1]

La Neuville-en-Hez Commune in Hauts-de-France, France

La Neuville-en-Hez is a commune in the Oise department in northern France.

Beauvais Prefecture and commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Beauvais is a city and commune in northern France. It serves as the capital of the Oise département, in the Hauts-de-France region. Beauvais is located approximately 75 kilometres from Paris. The residents of the city are called Beauvaisiens.

Picardy Region in France

Picardy is a historical territory and a former administrative region of France. Since 1 January 2016, it has been part of the new region of Hauts-de-France. It is located in the northern part of France.

He accepted in 1680 the appointment of librarian to François-Chrétien de Lamoignon, advocate-general to the parlement of Paris. He made a catalogue raisonné (in 35 vols.) of its library, all written with his own hand. [1]

<i>Catalogue raisonné</i> comprehensive, annotated listing of all the known artworks by an artist

A catalogue raisonné is a comprehensive, annotated listing of all the known artworks by an artist either in a particular medium or all media. The works are described in such a way that they may be reliably identified by third parties.

The remainder of his life was spent in incessant, unremitting labour; so keen was his devotion to study that he allowed himself only five hours a day for rest. [1]

With regard to René Descartes, he is popularly said to have recorded in his biography the three dreams [2] leading up to the Cartesian Cogito.


Of his numerous works the following are the most conspicuous:

  1. Histoire de Hollande depuis la trève de ióop Jusqu’d 1690 (4 vols. 1693), a continuation of Grotius, and published under the name of La Neuville
  2. Les Vies des saints (4 vols. 1701)
  3. Des Satires personelles, traité historique et critique de celles qui portent le litre d’Anti (2 vols. 1689)
  4. La vie de monsieur Descartes (2 vols. 1691; modern edition in one volume: La vie de monsieur Descartes, Paris: Éditions des Malassis, 2012)
  5. La vie de mr. Des-Cartes. Réduite en abregé (1692; modern edition: Vie de Monsieur Descartes, Paris, La Table Ronde, 1992)
  6. Auteurs déguisés sous des noms étrangers, empruntes, &c. (1690)
  7. Jugemens des savans sur les principaux ouvrages des auteurs (9 vols. 1685—1686).

The last is the most celebrated and useful of all his works. At the time of his death he was engaged on a Dictionnaire universelle ecclésiastique. The praise bestowed on the Jansenists in the Jugemens des savans brought down on Baillet the hatred of the Jesuits, and his Vie des saints, in which he brought his critical mind to bear on the question of miracles, caused some scandal. His Vie de Descartes is a mine of information on the philosopher and his work, derived from numerous unimpeachable authorities. [1]

Jansenism Christian theological movement

Jansenism was a theological movement, primarily in France, that emphasized original sin, human depravity, the necessity of divine grace and predestination. The movement originated from the posthumously published work of the Dutch theologian Cornelius Jansen, who died in 1638. It was first popularized by Jansen's friend Abbot Jean du Vergier de Hauranne, of Saint-Cyran-en-Brenne Abbey, and, after du Vergier's death in 1643, was led by Antoine Arnauld. Through the 17th and into the 18th centuries, Jansenism was a distinct movement away from the Catholic Church. The theological centre of the movement was the convent of Port-Royal-des-Champs Abbey, which was a haven for writers including du Vergier, Arnauld, Pierre Nicole, Blaise Pascal and Jean Racine.

Related Research Articles

Marin Mersenne French theologian, philosopher, mathematician and music theorist, often referred to as the "father of acoustics"

Marin Mersenne, Marin Mersennus or le PèreMersenne was a French polymath, whose works touched a wide variety of fields. He is perhaps best known today among mathematicians for Mersenne prime numbers, those which can be written in the form Mn = 2n − 1 for some integer n. He also developed Mersenne's laws, which describe the harmonics of a vibrating string, and his seminal work on music theory, Harmonie universelle, for which he is referred to as the "father of acoustics". Mersenne, an ordained priest, had many contacts in the scientific world and has been called "the center of the world of science and mathematics during the first half of the 1600s" and, because of his ability to make connections between people and ideas, "the post-box of Europe". He was also a member of the Minim religious order and wrote and lectured on theology and philosophy.

Louis-Sébastien Le Nain de Tillemont was a French ecclesiastical historian.

Jacques Grévin French dramtist

Jacques Grévin was a French playwright.

Gabriel Bonnot de Mably French philosopher, historian, and writer

Gabriel Bonnot de Mably, sometimes known as Abbé de Mably, was a French philosopher, historian, and writer, who for a short time served in the diplomatic corps. He was a popular 18th century writer.

François Bernier French physician and traveller

François Bernier was a French physician and traveller. He was born at Joué-Etiau in Anjou. He was briefly personal physician to Mughal prince Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, and after Dara Shikoh's demise, was attached to the court of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, for around 12 years during his stay in India.

Alexandre Astruc French film director

Alexandre Astruc was a French film critic and film director.

Ferdinand Alquié (French: [alkje]; was a French philosopher and member of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques from 1978. In the years 1931 to 1945 he was a professor in various provincial and Parisian lycees, and later at the University of Montpellier and Sorbonne where he worked until he retired in 1979.

Dezallier dArgenville French naturalist and writer

The family of Dezallier d'Argenville produced two writers and connoisseurs in the course of the 18th century.

Michel Le Quien French historian and theologian

Michel Le Quien was a French historian and theologian. He studied at Plessis College, Paris, and at twenty entered the Dominican convent in Faubourg Saint-Germain, where he made his profession in 1682. Excepting occasional short absences he never left Paris. At the time of his death he was librarian of the convent in Rue Saint-Honoré, a position which he had filled almost all his life, lending assistance to those who sought information on theology and ecclesiastical antiquity. Under the supervision of Père Marsollier he mastered the classical languages, Arabic, and Hebrew, to the detriment, it seems, of his mother-tongue.

Pierre-Sylvain Régis French philosopher

Pierre Sylvain Régis (1632–1707) was a French Cartesian philosopher and a prominent critic of Spinoza. Known as a philosopher, he was nominated to the French Academy of Sciences in 1699.

Antoine Godeau French bishop and poet

Antoine Godeau was a French bishop, poet and exegete. He is now known for his work of criticism Discours de la poésie chrétienne from 1633.

Claude-Étienne Savary was an orientalist, pioneer of Egyptology and translator of the Qur'an.

Jacques-André Naigeon French philosopher and artist

Jacques-André Naigeon was a French artist, atheist–materialist philosopher, editor and man of letters best known for his contributions to the Encyclopédie and for reworking Baron d'Holbach's and Diderot's manuscripts.

Bernard de la Monnoye French poet

Bernard de La Monnoye was a French lawyer, poet, philologue and critic, known chiefly for his carols Noei borguignon.

Henri Basnage de Beauval was a French Huguenot historian and lexicographer, known also as a journal editor.

Albert Flamen Flemish engraver

Albert Flamen was a Flemish engraver, painter, and tapestry designer. He was active in Paris, where he worked mainly as an illustrator on numerous publications.

Georges-Louis-Jacques Labiche, better known as Georges Duval, was an early 19th-century French playwright.

Auguste Creuzé de Lesser French politician, poet and librettist

Baron Auguste Creuzé de Lesser was a French poet, playwright, librettist and politician.

Adrien-Michel-Hyacinthe Blin de Sainmore was an 18th–century French poet, playwright and historian.

René Ballet French journalist

René Ballet was a French journalist, novelist and essayist. A communist, he was an international correspondent for L’Humanité. He was the author of 14 novels and 35 essays, many of which were about Roger Vailland.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Baillet, Adrien". Encyclopædia Britannica . 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 219. The article contains this footnote: See the edition by M. de la Monnoye of the Jugemens des savans (Amsterdam, 4 vols. 1722), which contains the Anti-Baillet of Gilles Ménage, and an Abrégé de la vie de Mr Baillet.
  2. La vie de monsieur Descartes, vol. I, pp. 81-86.