Turretin - Encyclopedia




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TURRETIN, or Turretini, the name of three Swiss divines.

Benoit Turretin (1588-1631), the son of Francesco Turretini, a native of Lucca, who settled in Geneva in 1579, was born at Zurich on the 9th of November 1588. He was ordained a pastor in Geneva in 1612, and became professor of theology in 1618.

In 1620 he represented the Genevan Church at the national synod of Alais, when the decrees of the synod of Dort were introduced into France; and in 1621 he was sent on a successful mission to the states-general of Holland, and to the authorities of the Hanseatic towns, with reference to the defence of Geneva against the threatened attacks of the duke of Savoy. He published in 1618-1620 (2 vols.) a defence of the Genevan translation of the Bible, Eine Verteidigung der genfer Bibeliibersetzung (Defense de la fidelite des traductions de la Bible faites a Geneve), against P. Cotton's Geneve plagiaire. He died on the 4th of March 1631.

Francois Turretin (1623-1687), son of the preceding, was born at Geneva on the 17th of October 1623. After studying theology in Geneva, Leiden and France, he became pastor of the Italian congregation in Geneva in 1647; after a brief pastorate at Lyons he again returned to Geneva as professor of theology in 1653, having modestly declined a professorship of philosophy in 1650. He was one of the most influential supporters of the Formula Consensus Helvetica, drawn up chiefly by Johann Heinrich Heidegger (1633-1698), in 1675, and of the particular type of Calvinistic theology which that symbol embodied, and an opponent of the theology of Moses Amyraut and the school of Saumur. His Institutio theologicae elencticae (3 vols., Geneva 1680-1683) has passed through frequent editions, the last reprint having been made in Edinburgh in 1847-1848. He was also the author of volumes entitled De satisfactione Christi disputationes (Geneva, 1666) and De necessaria secessione nostra ab ecclesia romana (Geneva, 1687). He died on the 28th of September 1687.

Jean Alphonse Turretin (1671-1737), son of the preceding, was born at Geneva on the 13th of August 1671. He studied theology at Geneva under L. Tronchin, and after travelling in Holland, England and France was received into the "Venerable Compagnie des Pasteurs" of Geneva in 1693. Here he became pastor of the Italian congregation, and in 1697 professor of church history, and later (1705) of theology. During the next forty years of his life he enjoyed great influence in Geneva as the advocate of a more liberal theology than had prevailed under the preceding generation, and it was largely through his instrumentality that the rule obliging ministers to subscribe to the Formula Consensus Helvetica was abolished in 1706, and the Consensus itself renounced in 1725. He also wrote and laboured for the promotion of union between the Reformed and Lutheran Churches, his most important work in this connexion being Nubes testium pro moderato et pacifico de rebus theologicis judicio, et instituenda inter Protestantes concordia (Geneva, 1729). Besides this he wrote Cogitationes et dissertationes theologicae, on the principles of natural and revealed religion (2 vols., Geneva, 1737; in French, Traite de la verite de la religion chretienne) and commentaries on Thessalonians and Romans. He died on the 1st of May 1737.

See E. de Bude, Francois et Alphonse Turretini (2 vols., 1880), and Lettres inedites a Jean Alphonse Turretini (3 vols., 1887-1888); F. Turretini, Notice biographique sur Benedict Turretini (1871); C. Borgeaud, Histoire de l'universite de Geneve (1900).

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