Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Juan Eusebio Nieremberg y Otin

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 11
Juan Eusebio Nieremberg y Otin

by Antonio Pérez Goyena


Noted theologian and polygraphist, b. of German parents at Madrid, 1595; d. there, 1658. Having studied the classics at the Court, he went to Alcala for the sciences and from there to Salamanca for canon law, where he entered the Society of Jesus in 1614, much against the wishes of his father who finally obliged him to leave the novitiate of Villagarcia. He remained firm in his resolution and was permitted to return to Madrid to finish his probation. He studied Greek and Hebrew at the Colegio de Huete, arts and theology at Alcala, and was ordained in 1623, making his profession in 1633. At the Colegio Imperial of Madrid he taught humanities and natural history for sixteen years and Sacred Scripture for three. As a director of souls he was much sought, being appointed by royal command confessor to the Duchess of Mantua, granddaughter of Philip II. Remarkable for his exemplary life, and the heights of prayer to which he attained, he was an indefatigable worker, and one of the most prolific writers of his time. Seventy-three printed and eleven manuscript works are attributed to him, of these twenty-four at least are in Latin. Though his works are distinguished for their erudition, those in Spanish being characterized according to Capmani, by nobility and purity of diction, terse, well-knit phrases, forcible metaphors, and vivid imagery, certain defects mar his style, at times inelegant and marked by a certain disregard for the rules of grammar and a too pronounced use of antithesis, paronomasia, and other plays upon words. Lack of a true critical faculty often detracts from the learning. The Spanish Academy includes his name in the " Diccionario de Autoridades". His principal works are: (1) "Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia" (Madrid, 1638), editions of which have been issued at Saragossa, Barcelona, Seville, Majorca, also a second edition of the Madrid edition; it has been translated into Italian, French, Latin, German, Panayano, and condensed into English (New York, 1866, 1891); (2) "De la Diferencia entre lo Temporal y Eterno" (Madrid, 1640), of which there are fifty-four Spanish editions, and translations into Latin, Arabic, Italian, French, German, Flemish, and English (1672, 1684, 1884), Portuguese, Mexican, Guaranian, Chiquito, Panayano; (3) "Opera Parthenica" (Lyons, 1659), in which he defends the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, basing it upon new, although not always absolutely reliable, documents, (4) "Historia naturae maxime peregrinae Libris XVI, distincta" (Antwerp, 1635); (5) "De la afición y amor de Jesus . . . Idem de Maria" (Madrid, 1630), of which there are five Spanish editions and translations into Latin, Arabic, German, Flemish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and an English translation of the first edition (1849, 1880); one edition of (6) "Obras Christianas espirituales y filosóficas" (Madrid, 1651, fol. 3 vols.), and one of (7) "Obras Christianas" (Madrid, 1665, fol. 2 vols.), are still extant. It was customary in many of the Spanish churches to read selections from these books every Sunday.

ANDRADE, Varones ilustres de la Compania de Jesus, VIII (2nd ed., Bilbao (1891), 699-766; CAPMANI Y DF, MONTPALAU, Teatro Historico critico de la Elocuencia espanola, V (Barcelona, 1848), 271; R. P. Joannis Eusebii Nierembergii e Societate Jesu Opera Parthenica. . . . Vita ven. Patris. . . . Collecta ex his quae hispanice scripserunt PP. Alphonsus de Andrade et Joannes de Ygarza ejus. Soc. (Lyons, 1659); SOMMERVOGEI., Bibliot., V, 1725; GUILHERMY, Menologe de la Compagnie de Jesus, Assistance d'Espagne, pt. I (Paris, 1902).

Antonio Pérez Goyena.