Pierre Charron Biography

Pierre Charron (1541 – November 16, 1603) was a French 16th-century Catholic theologian and philosopher, and a disciple and contemporary of Michel Montaigne.

Pierre Charron was born in Paris, one of the twenty-five children of a bookseller. After studying law at Orléans and Bourges he practiced as an advocate, for a few years. He then entered the church and soon became a popular priest, rising to become a canon.

He moved to the southwest of France, invited by Arnaud de Pontac, Bishop of Bazas. He was appointed priest in ordinary to Marguerite de Valois, wife of Henry IV of Navarre. In about 1588, Charron decided to become a monk, but being rejected by both the Carthusians and the Celestines, he returned to his old profession. He delivered a course of sermons at Angers, and in the next year moved to Bordeaux, where he formed a famous friendship with Michel de Montaigne. On Montaigne's death, in 1592, Charron was requested in the will to bear the Montaigne arms.

From 1594, he used his own name; he spent from 1594 to 1600 under the protection of Antoine Hérbrard de Saint-Sulpice, Bishop of Cahors, who appointed him grand vicar and theological canon. His first book led to his being chosen deputy to the general assembly of the clergy, for which he became chief secretary.

Charron retired to Condom in 1600; he died suddenly of a stroke; his works were then receiving attention.