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Bernard Lamy

Bernard Lamy
Born (1640-06-15)15 June 1640
Le Mans
Died 29 January 1715(1715-01-29) (aged 74)
Residence France
Nationality French
Fields Mathematics
Institutions College of Juilly, University of Angers
Known for Parallelogram of force

Bernard Lamy (15 June 1640, in Le Mans, France–29 January 1715, in Rouen, France) was a French Oratorian mathematician and theologian.


  • Life 1
  • Works 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • External links 6


After studying in Le Mans, he went to join the Maison d'Institution in Paris, and to Saumur thereafter. In 1658 he entered the congregation of the Oratory.

Lamy became professor of classics at Vendôme in 1661, and at Juilly in 1663. He was ordained in 1667.

After teaching a few years at Le Mans he was appointed to a chair of philosophy in the University of Angers. Here his teaching was attacked on the ground that it was too exclusively Cartesian, and Rebous the rector obtained in 1675 from the state authorities a decree forbidding him to continue his lectures.

He was then sent by his superiors to Grenoble, where, thanks to the protection of Cardinal Le Camus, he again took up his courses of philosophy. In 1686 he returned to Paris, stopping at the seminary of Saint Magloire, and in 1689 he was sent to Rouen, where he spent the remainder of his days.


His best known work is the Traité de Mécanique (1679), showing the parallelogram of force. He also wrote Traité de la grandeur en general (1680) and Les éléments de géometrie (1685).

His writings are numerous and varied. Among them may be mentioned:

  • "La Rhétorique ou l'art de parler", (Paris, 1675, Rhetoric, or the art of speaking, English translation 1676) of this twenty editions were published.[1]
  • "Apparatus ad Biblia Sacra", etc. (Grenoble, 1687), translated into French by order of the Bishop of Châlons under the title "Introduction a la lecture de l'Ecriture Sainte" (Lyons, 1689).
  • "Harmonia, sive Concordia quatuor Evangelistarum", a harmony or concordance of the Four Gospels (Paris, 1689). In this work he contends that John the Baptist was twice cast into prison, first in Jerusalem by order of the Sanhedrin, and later by Herod in Galilee. He maintains also that the Saviour and His Apostles did not eat the paschal lamb at the Last Supper, and that the Crucifixion occurred on the day on which the Jews celebrated the Passover. He considers Mary Magdalen, Mary the sister of Lazarus, and the sinner mentioned in Luke, vii, 37 sqq. to be one and the same person. These and other opinions involved him in controversy with Bulteau, pastor of Rouen, Jean Piénud, Le Nain de Tillemont, and others (see "Traité historique de l'ancienne Pâque des Juifs", Paris, 1693).
  • "Apparatus Biblicus", which is a development of his introduction (Lyons, 1696; Jena, 1709; Amsterdam, 1710). It was translated into French by Abbé de Bellegarde (Paris, 1697) and by Abbé Boyer (Lyons, 1709). In this work he calls in question the historical character of the book of Tobias and book of Judith, and maintains that even after the Council of Trent a difference of authority should be recognized between the proto-canonical and deutero-canonical books of the Bible.
  • "Défense de l'ancien sentiment de l'Eglise latine touchant l'office de sainte Madeleine" (Rouen, Paris, 1697).
  • A volume of commentaries on his previous harmony of the Four Gospels (Paris, 1699).
  • A Latin treatise on the Ark of the Covenant (Paris, 1720), a posthumous work published by Père Desmollets, who prefixed to the volume a biography of the author.

See also


  1. ^ Translated in English in 1676; modern edition: John T. Harwood (ed.), The Rhetorics of Thomas Hobbes and Bernard Lamy, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1986.


  • François Girbal, Bernard Lamy (1640-1715), étude biographique et bibliographique, París: PUF, 1964.
  • Regnier in Fulcran Vigouroux, Dictionnaire de la Bible, s.v.
  • Ingold (1880–1882). Essai de biblioqraphie Oratorienne V. pp. 64–70. 

External links

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