Bourignon, Antoinette

Bourignon, Antoinette

Bourignon, Antoinette, 1616-80, Flemish Christian mystic, adherent of quietism. In 1636 she fled from home to avoid a marriage urged by her father, spent a short time in a convent, and was in charge (1653-62) of an orphanage. Believing herself divinely directed to restore the pure spirit of the Gospel, she gathered (1667) at Amsterdam a fanatical following. Moving from place to place, she took her printing press with her and disseminated her quietistic teachings. According to her alleged revelations, religion was a matter of internal emotion, not of faith and practice. Her mystical ideas found particular favor in Scotland, where Bourignianism was declared a heresy (1711) and candidates for the ministry were required to renounce it before ordination. Her autobiography was translated into English as The Light of the World (1696).

See A. R. Macewen, Antoinette Bourignon, Quietist (1910).

It is still celebrated as New Year's Eve by those on the Julian calendar (Old New Year).

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