Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Philippe du Contant de la Molette

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 4
Philippe du Contant de la Molette

by Romain Francis Butin


Theologian and Biblical scholar, born at Côte-Saint-André, in Dauphiné, France, 29 August, 1737; died on the scaffold during The Terror, 1793. He studied at the Sorbonne, and, in 1765, defended a thesis on Job, in six languages. Louis XV was so well pleased that he allowed him to pass the examinations for the licentiate without the required delays, a privilege, however, which de la Molette did not use. Later on, he became Vicar-General of the Diocese of Vienne, France. As a Biblical author, he shows great erudition and is well versed in the Oriental languages, but be lacks originality, and his criticism is often misleading. His works, all published in Paris, are the following. "Essai sur l'Ecriture Sainte, ou Tableau historique des avantages que l'on peut tirer des langues orientales pour la parfaite intelligence des Livres Saints" (1775); "Nouvelle méthode pour entrer dans le vrai sens de l'Ecriture sainte" (1777); "La Genèse expliquée d'après les textes primitifs", etc. (1777), 3 vols., a work intended especially as a refutation of Voltaire; "L'Exode expliqué", 3 vols. (1780); the thesis that he had defended in 1765 is printed in the beginning of this work; "Les Psaumes expliqués", etc., 3 vols. (1781); "Traité sur la poésie et la musique des Hébreux" (1781), a continuation of the preceding; "Le Lévitique expliqué", 2 vols. (1785). He had also done considerable work as a preparation for a "Nouvelle Bible polyglotte", but it is doubtful whether he ever published it.

FELLER, Biog. Univ., s. v.; MANGENOT in VIGOUROUX, Dict. de la Bible, s. v.

R. BUTIN