Vinet, Alexandre Rodolphe

views updated


Swiss liberal Protestant apologist; b. Lausanne, Switzerland, June 17, 1797; d. Lausanne, May 5, 1847. He studied French literature and theology at Lausanne and Basel. After teaching French literature and doing some pastoral work in Basel, he became professor of practical theology at Lausanne (1838). His thought was influenced by Wilhelm De Wette, a disciple of schleier macher, and by the Scottish Calvinist, Thomas Erskine. Vinet was particularly interested in the psychological aspects of the doctrine of grace. He participated in the current revival of Protestantism, and became more and more attached to theological liberalism. Dissatisfied with Protestantism in his own sect, he repudiated the Helvetic Confession of Faith, and established a liberal church at Lausanne. Vinet's movement spread, especially among Protestants in the French-speaking cantons. He also supported liberalism of a political kind, and championed the separation of Church and State. His chief significance to Protestant theology, however, rested on his formulation, at least in bare outline, of a theology of experience. In this he anticipated the later theories of Louis Auguste sabatier and Modernism. Four volumes of his correspondence and twenty-four volumes of his works have been published in the definitive edition since 1908.

Bibliography: l. m. lane, The Life and Writings of Alexander Vinet (Edinburgh 1890). p. bridel, La Pensée de Vinet (Lausanne 1944). p. a. robert, La Flamme sur l'autel: Le Crise religieuse de Vinet (Lausanne 1948). h. meylan, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (3rd ed. Tübingen 195765) 6:140506. "Vinet," Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) v.10.

[m. b. schepers]