Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

( Also Jansens, Janssen, Janssenius or Jansenius Gandaviensis).

Exegete, born at Hulst, Flanders, 1510; died at Ghent, 11 April, 1576. He received his early education at Ghent from the Brethren of the Common Life (called at Ghent the Hieronymites), and later studied theology and Oriental languages at Louvain. After he had become a licentiate of theology in 1534, he lectured, at the request of the abbot of the Premonstratensian Abbey of Tongerloo, to the young monks on the Holy Scripture until 1542, from which date until 1562 he discharged the duties of pastor of the parish of St. Martin at Courtrai (Kortryk) with great success. Having finally attained the degree of Doctor of Theology in 1562, he was immediately appointed professor of theology at the University of Louvain, became in the following year dean of the collegiate seminary of St. James, and attended the last sessions of the Council of Trent as delegate of the university. On his return, King Philip II appointed him first bishop of the newly founded See of Ghent, which dated only from 1559. For a long time he refused to assume the dignity, on account of the difficult conditions in the diocese, and was not preconized until 1568, by Pius V. As bishop he devoted himself especially to checking the advance of Protestantism, and to carrying out with the greatest exactness the decrees of the Council of Trent. With this object in view, he founded a seminary for priests at Ghent in 1569, held diocesan synods in 1571 and 1574, and published a ritual for his diocese. He was entrusted with the compilation of a ritual to be used in the ecclesiastical province of Mechlin, but did not finish it. While at Tongerloo he wrote a great deal, and, as pastor at Courtrai, had already become widely known for his exegetical work.

Among Jansen's writings is the "Concordia evangelica." (Louvain, 1529), to which he later added the "Commentarius in Concordiam et totem historiam evangelicam" (Louvain, 1572), undoubtedly his best work. He published also: "Commentarius in Proverbia Salomonis" (Louvain, 1567), and "Commentarius in Ecclesiasticum" (Louvain, 1569), both of which were republished in one work at Antwerp in 1589; "Commentarius in omnes Psalmos Davidicos" (Louvain, 1569), with an introduction to each psalm, an excellent paraphrase of the text, and explanations of the difficult passages; "Paraphrases in ea Veteris Testamenti Cantica, quae per ferias singulas totius anni usus ecclesiasticus observat" (Louvain, 1569). After his death appeared "Annotationes in Librum Sapientiae" (Louvain, 1577).

Cornelius Jansen was one of the most distinguished among the exegetes of the sixteenth century, and his masterpiece, the aforesaid "Concordia, Evangelica" was epoch-making in the history of Catholic exegesis, for he insisted on the literal interpretation, as against the mystical interpretation of his predecessors, emphasized also the importance of the original text, and of a profound study of Oriental languages as aids to a full comprehension of the Vulgate.


More Encyclopedia

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 in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

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


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Judges 13:2-7, 24-25
2 There was a man of Zorah of the tribe of Dan, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:3-4, 5-6, 16-17
3 Be a sheltering rock for me, always accessible; you ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:5-25
5 In the days of King Herod of Judaea there lived a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 19th, 2014 Image

St. Nemesius
December 19: Martyr of Egypt. He was burned alive in Alexandria, Egypt, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter