Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Jansenism: quietism, Cornelius Jansen


see under Jansen, CornelisJansen, Cornelis
, 1585–1638, Dutch Roman Catholic theologian. He studied at the Univ. of Louvain and became imbued with the idea of reforming Christian life along the lines of a return to St. Augustine.
..... Click the link for more information.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an unorthodox current in French and Dutch Catholicism; part of the wave of individualistic mysticism that spread through Western Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, chiefly affecting the educated townspeople.

The stimulus for the emergence of Jansenism was the publication in 1640 of a work about Augustine by the Dutch theologian C. Jansen. True faith was sharply contrasted by Jansen to the masses’ formal acceptance of church doctrine; his assertion that Christ had not shed his blood for all people was in line with the Calvinist doctrine, of predestination. In 1642, Jansen’s book was condemned by Pope Urban VIII, and in 1653 a bull by Innocent X condemned some of Jansen’s theses; nevertheless, the “disciples of St. Augustine” continued their struggle while remaining within the Catholic Church.

In France, J. Duvergier de Hauranne, known as Abbé de Saint-Cyran, made the Abbey of Port-Royal de Paris a stronghold of Jansenism; the abbey became an important center of French culture in the second half of the 17th century. The repressions against the Jansenists, their staunchness in the face of royal despotism and Jesuit church policy, and their ethical uncompromisingness attracted B. Pascal and A. Arnauld; the latter headed the Port-Rȯyal community and was coauthor, with P. Nicole, of the theory known as Port-Royal logic. J. Racine was another author who leaned toward Jansenism.

Jansenism created a type of person who was intellectually developed, with a high sense of moral responsibility but also with a fanatical sectarian narrowmindedness. In France, the movement died out after the French Revolution. In the Netherlands, by 1723 the Jansenists had succeeded in establishing their own church, which in the 19th century drew close to the German Old Catholics; the various reforms enacted by the church in the 20th century, such as the elimination of fasting and of celibacy for the clergy, brought it closer to Protestantism. Jansenism survives to this day.


Gazier, A. Histoire générale du mouvement janséniste depuis ses origines jusqu’á nos Iours, 3rd ed. Paris, 1922–24.
Cognet, L. Le Jansénisme. Paris, 1961.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


unorthodox Roman Catholic movement of the 17th and 18th centuries led by Cornelius Jansen. [Christian Hist.: EB, V: 515]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Jansenism was another movement that had a significant impact during this period, although there is little data about jansenism in Brazil.
From 1729 onward, as Jansenism was "purified by force of arms" from "the citadel and sanctuary" of the Paris faculty, however, the pro-Jansenist forces were compelled to regroup as they became theologically and philosophically marginalized in the aftermath of their forcible exclusion from the Sorbonne.
Not all were so engaged, and Monod discusses the subject/self disengaged from the monarch through the case of Jansenism which "pointed towards the reasonableness of a pact between the inward-looking self and the monarch ...
Basing this study on family papers, notarial records, manuscript collections at the Biblioth[acute{e}que Nationale and the Bib1ioth[acute{e}que de la Soci[acute{e}]t[acute{e}] de Port-Royal, and published correspondence, memoirs, and journals, Alexander Sedgwick enlarges on his earlier work, Jansenism in Seventeenth-Century France by chronicling the history of the Arnauld family from the religious wars to the Enlightenment.
In all of these works, Van Kley argues for a far more generous assessment of the role of Jansenism in shaping French public opinion and opposition to the monarchy in the 1700s.
Jansenism, we learn from the Preface, was, among other things, `a reactionary model of Christian faith and life, a desperate attempt to ward off the grim menace of the burgeoning Enlightenment'.
The memoire served as an increasingly effective vehicle for highlighting contemporary political concerns, and it is no accident, Maza asserts, that recourse to public trial briefs coincided with the important political crises of the period: Jansenism, the Maupeou crisis, and then the multiple concerns of the last years of the 1780s.
See Gratia Operans 333, 441." He continues: "However, the notion of a distinct form of grace that can be refused versus a grace that is irresistible was developed in the post-Tridentine period by Thomists to oppose Jansenism and Protestantism on the one hand, and Molinism on the other....
The latent Jansenism of American Catholicism, combined with the moralism of the mainstream culture, robbed Catholicism in the United States of the kinds of cultural expressions of faith one finds in Catholic countries.
The first part focuses on "Church, State and Society in the European World"; the second on "Christian life" in Europe; the third on the Enlightenment, the Evangelical Awakenings, and Jansenism; the fourth on Africa, Asia, and the Americas; and the final part on the impact of the American and French Revolutions.
The only certainty is that Jansenism was not the only show in town.
The stress on hatred of sin and fear of God's justice as seen throughout the novel highlights certain elements of Jansenism (6) still visible in the spirituality of the times.