Mabillon, Jean(zhäN mäbēyôN`), 1623–1707, French scholar, a Benedictine monk. His De re diplomatica (1681; with a supplementary volume, 1704) was the first attempt to develop a critical method of determining the authenticity of documents. Mabillon thus created the science of diplomatics, which made historiography far more scientific. The work remains a classic in its field.
Born Dec. 26, 1632, in St.-Pierremont; died Dec. 27, 1707, in Paris. French historian, member of the congregation of Maurists. Member of the Academy of Inscriptions (1701).
Beginning in 1664, Mabillon worked in the library of the monastery of St. Germain-des-Pres (Paris). He was responsible for the publication of many volumes of sources on the history of the Benedictine Order, including commentary and notes (13 volumes in all; the last two volumes were completed by other Maurists). In preparing the sources for publication, Mabillon scrupulously verified their authenticity and reconstructed the original text. He founded the historical disciplines of diplomatics and paleography. Mabillon worked out a method for determining the authenticity of a document, established signs by which to date and localize a manuscript, and created the theory of “national types” of Latin writing.
REFERENCESDobiash-Rozhdestvenskaia, O. A. Istoriia pis’ma v srednie veka. Moscow, 1936. Pages 90-105.
Kasminskii, E. A. Istoriografiia srednikh vekov. Moscow, 1963. Pages 121-22, 125.
Leclercq, H. Mabillon, vols. 1-2. Paris, 1953-57.