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Title: Developing French Protestant identity: the political and religious writings of Antoine de Chandieu (1534-1591)
Authors: Barker, Sara
Supervisors: Pettegree, Andrew
Keywords: French Wars of Religion
Issue Date: Jul-2007
Abstract: As French Protestantism emerged in the 1550s, the young community needed charismatic leaders. The main impetus came from native pastors with strong links to Geneva. Antoine de Chandieu was a key figure amongst these men. His writings promoted the values of French Protestantism over three decades and provide insight into how this vulnerable community faced the challenges of the civil war years. This study uses Chandieu’s prose and verse writings to examine how French Protestants defined themselves from the 1550s to the 1590s. Chapter one looks at Chandieu’s life and career, placing his works in the context of the Wars of Religion. Chapter two examines the early structural development of the French Church and the attempt to establish a system independent of that in Geneva. Chapter three concentrates on the Conspiracy of Amboise, and the tension that developed between the political and religious concerns of the movement. Chapters four and five explore the ways in which Chandieu engaged with perceived threats from internal and external sources. Chapter six focuses on the shift towards meditative writing provoked by the Protestants’ losses during the later wars, whilst chapter seven highlights the continuing preoccupation with theological issues throughout Chandieu’s later years of exile. Chandieu’s career provides a personal experience of the French religious wars which underlines how French Protestantism tried to retain its independence. This became increasingly difficult as the wars progressed, and the movement consistently returned to the refuge of Genevan influence. Although his faith was never shaken, the sustained losses suffered by the Protestants caused Chandieu to abandon his hopes of a fully independent French Church, and to reflect deeply on the emotional torment that resulted from years of interconfessional strife. In his works we see the French church’s struggle to find a workable group identity in the face of civil war.
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Type: Thesis
Publisher: University of St Andrews
Appears in Collections:Modern History Theses

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