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De la Croze
Home > Mezzofanti > Eminent linguists > French Linguists > De la Croze

Matthew Veysiere de la Croze, too, the apostate Benedictine, although a superficial scholar and a hasty and inaccurate historian, was a very able linguist. But, as we descend lower in the history of this generation of French linguists, we find comparatively few names which, for variety of attainments, can be compared with those of Italy or Germany. Beyond the cultivation of the Biblical languages, little was done in France for this department of study during the rest of the seventeenth century. There seems but too much reason to believe that the reputation of the learned but pedantic Menage as a linguist, is extravagantly exaggerated. He was an accomplished classicist, and his acquaintance with modern languages was tolerably extensive. He was a good etymologist, too, according to the servile and unscientific system of the age. But his claims to Oriental scholarship appear very questionable. And in truth during this entire period, if it were not for the interest of the controversy above referred to, on the antiquity and authority of the Masoretic Points, it might almost be said that Oriental studies had fallen entirely into disuse in France Even of those who took a part in that discussion, the name of Masclef (who knew Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, Chaldee, and Arabic, with perhaps some of the modern languages) is the only one which can approach the rank of the higher masters of the study. The three Buxtorfs (father, son, and grandson), Guarin, and even Girandeau, were mere Hebraists; patient and accurate scholars, it is true, but with few of the characteristics of an eminent linguist. La Bletterie can hardly claim even this qualified reputation.

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