Du Vair, Guillaume

   French politician and moral philosopher. Trained in both law and theology, he remained Catholic and was concerned about the rapid spread of Protestantism in France before and during the Wars of Religion (1562-1598), but the excesses of the Catholic League made him into a Politique, the group of Frenchmen (mostly Catholic) who regarded the preservation of national unity and domestic tranquillity as more important than the forcible extirpation of heresy. He had served as a member of the highest judicial court, the Parlement of Paris, during the violent coup d'état staged at Paris by extremist members of the Catholic League in 1588. Du Vair became a trusted adviser to the new King Henry IV, serving as intendant of justice in Marseille, and becoming premier président of the Parlement of Provence. Under Louis XIII he became keeper of the seals and bishop of Lisieux. His contemporary fame rested partly on his eloquent oratory, notably his Exhortation à la Paix / An Exhortation to Peace (1592), supporting the moderate royalist Politiques against the extremist Catholics.
   Du Vair was also a highly regarded moral philosopher, defending a neo-Stoic philosophy that blended ancient Stoicism with Christian faith and emphasized the duty of public service as second only to Christian faith. These ideas were best expressed in his La philosophie morale des Stoiques, his Exhortation à la vie civile, and his Traité de la constance et consolation ès calamités publiques. In these books he criticized citizens who reacted to the civil wars by retreating into private life and abandoning public service.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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  • Vair, Guillaume du — ▪ French philosopher born March 7, 1556, Paris, Fr. died Aug. 31, 1621, Tonneins  a highly influential French thinker and writer of the troubled period at the end of the 16th century.       A lawyer by training, du Vair occupied high offices of… …   Universalium

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  • Guillaume du Vair — (Paris, 7 March 1556 – Tonneins, 3 August 1621) was a French author and lawyer. He was born in Paris. After taking holy orders, he exercised only legal functions for most of his career. However, from 1617 till his death he was Bishop of Lisi …   Wikipedia

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  • DU VAIR (G.) — DU VAIR GUILLAUME (1556 1621) Considéré par un grand nombre de ses contemporains comme le magistrat le plus éloquent du siècle, Guillaume Du Vair fut un des représentants caractéristiques de son époque, de toute une tradition d’hommes de loi que… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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