God's Plagiarist

Feast of St Eulogios the Innkeeper of Constantinople
God’s Plagiarist: Being an Account of the Fabulous Industry and Irregular Commerce of the Abbé Migne by R. Howard Bloch

IN HIS REVIEW in the New Republic, Anthony Grafton describes God’s Plagiarist as “An unforgettable, Daumier-like portrait” of an “enterprising, austere and somewhat crazed merchandiser of sacred learning.” Grafton is right on the mark. This is the story of a young French Catholic priest who in the early nineteenth century left his provincial parish in the Diocese of Orléans, arrived penniless in the capital city of Paris with no training in journalism or publishing, and within a decade founded ten newspapers and created one of the greatest publishing enterprises since the invention of printing. While an average American academic publishes two books over the course of his entire career, Migne managed to put out one book every ten days for thirty years! And after the first 400 of them, he set out on his life’s work: the Herculean task of bringing together the “best available editions” of the Greek and Latin Fathers of the first fifteen centuries in a “complete, economical, universal Library.” It turned out to consist of over 1,000,000 pages in almost 500 volumes. He was a man with a mission: “I am neither a saint nor a learned man … I hope to die as the priest who will have done the Church the greatest service in the world by reviving in its entirety its Tradition.” Bloch predicts you will have the impression of reading a novel. You will. You will encounter the stuff of fiction. And you will not regret reading this fascinating story of God’s Plagiarist, or maybe better put, God’s Patrologist.

152 pp. paper $26.00

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