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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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A sect famous towards the close of the seventh century. They were so called from a kind of absolute rest and inaction, which they supposed the soul to be in when arrived at that state of perfection which they called the unitive life; in which state they imagined the soul wholly employed in contemplating its God, to whose influence it was entirely submissive, so that he could turn and drive it where and how he would. Molinos, a Spanish priest, is the reputed author of Quietism; though the Illuminati, in Spain, had certainly taught something like it before. Molinos had numerous disciples in Italy, Spain, France, and the Netherlands. One of the principal patrons and propagators of Quietism in France was Marie Bouveres de la Motte Guyon, a woman of fashion, and remarkable for her piety. Her religious sentiments made a great noise in the year 1687, and were declared unsound by several learned men, especially Bossnet, who opposed them in the year 1697.

Hence arose a controversy between the prelate last mentioned and Fenelon, archbishop of Cambray, who seemed, disposed to favour the system of Guyon, and who, in 1697, published a book containing several of her tenets. Fenelon's book, by means of Bossuet, was condemned in the year 1699, by Innocent XII. and the sentence of condemnation was read by Fenelon himself at Cambray, who exhorted the people to respect and obey the papal decree. Notwithstanding this seeming acquiescence, the archbishop persisted to the end of his days in the sentiments, which, in obedience to the order of the pope, he retracted and condemned in a public manner. A sect similar to this appeared at Mount Athos, in Thessaly, near the end of the fourteenth century, called Hesychasts, meaning the same the Quietists. They were a branch of the Mystics, or those more perfect monks, who, by long and intense contemplation, endeavoured to arrive at a tranquillity of mind free from every degree of tumult and perturbation.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Quietists'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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