The Making of the French Episcopate, 1589-1661

Joseph Bergin

View Inside Format: Cloth
Price: $80.00
Our shopping cart does not support Safari. Please use another browser before attempting to purchase.

Out of Print

This major work, written by one of the leading historians of France's ancien regime, is the first in-depth study of the French upper clergy during the key period of the Catholic Reformation following the Council of Trent. In describing the creation, character, and role of these early French bishops, it also sheds light on social mobility, education, the career patterns and prospects of particular groups, the workings of patronage and clientage networks, and the wider dimensions of royal policy and patronage at this time.

Joseph Bergin begins by analyzing the structures of the French church and the process by which individuals were nominated and confirmed as bishops. He then presents a collective profile of these bishops in terms of their social and geographical origins, educational attainments, and pre-episcopal careers. Bergin examines royal patronage in relation to episcopal office, tracing the successive pressures with which the crown had to deal in the wider social and political world. In particular he shows how the crown painfully and gradually recovered control of church patronage after the low point of the religious wars, reducing the grip of the nobility on large numbers of dioceses. He also examines how reforming pressures were brought to bear on the crown to appoint bishops who met the standards of the counter-reformation church and how the crown became increasingly in tune with these reformist pressures. He concludes by explaining particular features of the French episcopate within a wider European context.

The book, the result of years of research in French and Italian archives, includes an extensive biographical dictionary that will make it an invaluable reference for all French historians of the period.

Joseph Bergin is professor of history at the University of Manchester. He is also the author of Cardinal de la Rochefoucauld and The Rise of Richelieu, published by Yale University Press.

"This is a major contribution in its own right, which will surely become a standard reference tool. . . . One can only admire the dedicated labour which has unearthed so much useful material, complete with admirable references to aid further inquiry. While there have been several useful studies of the episcopate, none has approached this level of thoroughness and accuracy."—Robin Briggs, Times Literary Supplement

"Without question this is a very significant book of the greatest importance to anyone interested in early modern France."—J. Michael Hayden, Canadian Journal of History

"This volume is a source from which books are written. To date, Joseph Bergin offers the most thorough study of the French episcopacy during the period."—John B. Roney, Sacred Heart University (History)

"This is a book which no one who studies religion and society in early modern France can ignore."—J.H.M. Salmon, Sixteenth Century Journal

"Bergin's earlier study of Cardinal de la Rochefoucauld and his two books on Cardinal Richelieu all grew out of a larger interest in the French Church in the first half of the seventeenth century. Here at last is the larger study these three books have been pointing to, and it is well worth the wait. . . . In short, this is about as thoroughly researched as a book of this sort can be. . . . The result of these efforts is a book that, despite its hefty retail price, is a bargain in every sense of the word."—Mack P. Holt, Journal of Ecclesiastical History

"Scholars will value Bergin's study for its monumental contribution to our understanding of the leadership of the Gallican church."—Thomas M. Carr, Jr., French Review

"One has to applaud Bergin for the enormous amount of information he assembled for this book, although it makes reading the book difficult. That volume of information will make this book the starting point of any future discussion of the French episcopate of the seventeenth century."—Frederic J. Baumgartner, Catholic Historical Review

"The 160-page biographical dictionary is a mine of information. . . . A great book and a model for other studies. Belongs in every university library."—Richard M. Golden, Religious Studies Review

ISBN: 9780300067514
Publication Date: November 27, 1996
774 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Cardinal Richelieu

Power and the Pursuit of Wealth

Joseph Bergin

View details