Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

French theologian Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet passed on this day, April 12th, in the year 1704. The Bishop of Meaux made part of his mark on history as a homilist. He also served as tutor to Louis XIV's son Louis de France.

Like Walter Scott, Bossuet developed an interest in history at an early age. In the study "The Early Mental Traits of Three Hundred Geniuses", Catherine Morris Cox states that 'While at Navarre, Bossuet had been wont to attend the theater, where he was charmed by the tragedies of Corneille, and under this influence he began to write madrigals and pious poems in the precieux taste of the age. ' Bossuet also had a passion for reading; Homer being a favorite. Cox's work imputes an IQ value of between 160 - 170 for Bossuet.

Scott's estimated IQ is also quite favorable, coming in at 150 - 160. A paragraph from Cox sounds vaguely reminiscent to the one on Bossuet: 'Scott delighted in the theater; an interest which had its birth in his first visit there at the age of 4 to see "As you Like It", which ever remained a vivid picture in his mind. In spite of the efforts of his teachers, Scott was unable to master the technique of music and painting, but his interest in literature grew, and at 15, he used his earnings to learn Italian, so that he might read the literary treasures in that language...At school Scott was behind his class, and so fell into the habit of doing inferior work. His master was annoyed at this, for he recognized the boy's ability. On one occasion, Scott succeeded in winning a place at the top of the class by a ruse; and from that time, he maintained his high position, being encouraged to strive to excel by the rector's statement that others might understand the Latin better, but Scott's understanding of the meaning was seldom exceeded...'

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