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Johann Nikolaus Von Hontheim

1701-1790. Suffragan bishop of Trier, and known pseudonymously as “Justinius Febronius,” was the formulator of Febronianism.* After eighteen years' work, he published his doctrines in The State of the Church and the Legitimate Authority of the Roman Pontiff, a Book Composed for the Purpose of Uniting in Religion Dissident Christians (in Latin, 1763). It reflected Gallican and Protestant motifs, although remaining devoutly Catholic, and not secular. Clement XIII condemned it (1764), but intensive public debate continued throughout Europe. Hontheim later unconvincingly recanted (1778), while others, including Austrian chief minister Kaunitz, used his ideas to support a more secular Josephinism.* He studied law at Louvain, Leyden, and Rome, winning a doctorate in jurisprudence (1724); then became priest (1728), professor (1732), university pro-chancellor (1746), and suffragan bishop (1748), all at Trier.