Patrologist, b. at Bar-le-Duc, 14 May, 1688; d. at Flavigny, 26 May, 1763. He received his early education if the Jesuit College at Bar-le-Duc. After completing the course of humanities and rhetoric, he entered (1705) the monastery of Moyen-Moutier in the Vosges, belonging to the Benedictine congregation of St-Vannes and St-Hydulphe. Later he was appointed professor in the same monastery, a position which he held for six years. In 1716 he was made dean of Moyen-Moutier, in 1718 prior of the monastery of Saint Jacques de Neufchâteau, in 1724 assistant to Dom Charles de Vassimont at the priory of Flavigny-sur-Moselle, and on the latter's death in 1733 prior of that monastery. Under his wise administration this monastery flourished materially, spiritually, and intellectually. His first great work, prepared while he was professor at Moyen-Moutier, was an "Apologie de la morale des Pères, contre les injustes accusations du sieur Jean Barbeyrac, professeur en droit et en histoire à Lausanne" (Paris, 1718). In this work a long dissertation of 40 pages is devoted to establishing the authority of the Fathers of the Church ; afterwards the author follows step by step the arguments of Barbeyrac, and defends individually those Fathers whom he had attacked — Athenagoras, Clement of Alexandria, Augustine, and others. The success of this work led Ceillier to undertake another, similar in character, but wider in scope, and dealing with all the sacred and ecclesiastical writings. The nature of the work can best be judged from its title, "Histoire générale des auteurs sacrés et ecclésiastiques qui contient leur vie, le catalogue, la critique, le jugemen, la chronologie, l' analyse et le dénombrement des différentes éditions de leurs ouvrages; ce qu'ils renferment de plus intéressant sur le dogme, sur la morale, et sur la discipline de l'Eglise; l'histoire des conciles tant généraux que particuliers et les actes choisis des martyrs ". The first volume appeared in 1729, the others at various intervals, the 23d and last being published after the death of the author. The work contains an historical account of the sacred and ecclesiastical authors, lists, analyses, and critical appreciations of their writings, together with selected quotations; it was incomplete when the author died. It ends with the writings of William of Auvergne in the middle of the thirteenth century. It has passed through several editions; the latest is that of Abbé Bauzon, 17 vols. in 4to with two volumes of indexes (Paris, 1860-1869). The preparation of a work so comprehensive in character was made possible by the assistance which Ceillier received from his confreres. The most valuable portion of the work is that dealing with the Fathers of the first six centuries. Here the author was able to draw upon the writings of Tillemont, and to use the scholarly Benedictine editions of the Fathers. Charges of Jansenism made against Ceillier in his lifetime and afterwards find no substantiation in his writings, and the treatment accorded to the author and his works by Benedict XIV shows that the pope had no doubts as to his orthodoxy.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online