Duchesne, Louis (1843-1922)

DUCHESNE, LOUIS (1843-1922)

A church historian. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1887 and completed his theological studies at Rome. His interest in the history of the early church was intensified by his travels in and Asia Minor. He became a professor of history at the in Paris in 1885, though he was forced to resign from that position for some ten years on account of his outspoken lectures on the history of doctrine, which were contrary to the accepted views of the Catholic hierarchy.

In 1895 he was nominated director of the School at Rome, a position he held until his death. He was elected a member of the French Academy in 1910. His major works concentrate on early church history. L’Histoire ancienne de l’eglise chrétienne (3 vols., Paris, 1905-1910; translated as Early History of the Christian Church, New York, 1909-1924) is a classic, but was put on the Index for his critical views. He supplemented it with L’Eglise du siècle, published posthumously under the editorship of H. Quentin (Paris, 1926). Other important works include Liber Pontificalis (2 vols., Paris, 1886-1891), Origines du culte chrétien (Paris, 1920; translated by M. L. McClure, London, 1923), and Fastes épiscopaux de l’ancienne Gaule (3 vols., Paris, 1894-1915).

  • Cabrol, F. “Mgr. Louis Duchesne: Son oeuvre historique.” Journal of Theological Studies 24 (1922-1923):253-82.
  • Dupont, E. Mgr. Duchesne chez lui Bretagne 1843-1922. Rennes, 1923.
  • Habloville, C. d’. Grandes Figures de l’eglise contemporaine. Paris, 1925.