Antoinette Bourignon

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Antoinette Bourignon (January 13, 1616 - October 30, 1680), Flemish mystic, was born at Lille.

From an early age she was under the influence of religion, which took in course of time a mystical turn. Undertaking the work of a reformer, she visited France, Holland, England and Scotland. Her religious enthusiasm, peculiarity of views and disregard of all sects raised both zealous persecutors and warm adherents. On her death at Franeker, Friesland, on the 30th of October 1680, she left a large number of followers, who, however, dwindled rapidly away; but in the early 18th century her influence revived in Scotland sufficiently to call forth several denunciations of her doctrines in the various Presbyterian general assemblies of 1701, 1709 and 1710. So far as appears from her writings and contemporary records, she was a visionary of the ordinary type, distinguished only by the audacity and persistency of her pretensions.

Her writings, containing an account of her life and of her visions and opinions, were collected by her disciple, Pierre Poiret (19 vols, Amsterdam, 1679-1686), who also published her life (2 vols, 1679). For a critical account see Hauck, Realencylopädie (Leipzig, 1897), and Étude sur Antoinette Bourignon, by M. E. S. (Paris, 1876). Three of her works at least have been translated into English:

  • An Abridgment of the Light of the World (London, 1786)
  • A Treatise of Solid Virtue (1699)
  • The Restoration of the Gospel Spirit (1707).

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