Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Reader

Richard A. Muller

Second Reader

Lyle D. Beirma

Third Reader

Laura Smit

Fourth Reader

Irena D. Backus


The present work is the first dissertation to study any of Antoine de Chandieu’s prodigious output of scholastic theological works. Chandieu was a French Reformed pastor and theologian who lived from 1534 to 1591. He had a fascinating life as a French nobleman with extensive land holdings in France who was Protestant in the time of the Wars of Religion. His role in the church polity of the French Reformed Churches was crucial in the period 1559-1572. After this he resided in Lausanne and Geneva and in time taught theology at their academies, with a break from 1585-1588 while he served the future Henry IV of France as chaplain and fundraiser. Chandieu was a master of genres who published famous poetry that was set to music in his own lifetime. He also wrote a martyrology, a stage play, and of course, a lot of emails. Poets in the generation that followed him considered him one member of an illustrious threesome – after 1605 they looked back to the golden years of “Calvin, Chandieu, and Beza.” In the widest sense, then, this dissertation aims to rescue Chandieu from obscurity by understanding him through the eyes of his contemporaries and thus to produce a history that is more accurate to the era because it reaches for the requisite level of detail. More concretely, I argue that polemical and educative reasons primarily lie behind Chandieu’s extended recourse to scholastic method for theological argument. While his works of 1566, 1567, and 1577 certainly prepared the way, six works from the 1580s – all entitled “theological and scholastic” – especially rely on a very intricate scholastic method to make their arguments. This dissertation shows that these model treatises of Chandieu and his appeal to his fellow theologians to reason in accordance with Aristotle’s Analytics fit well into the precise era of 1575-1585 in the Swiss cantons. At the same time, I show that Chandieu was not merely an “Old Aristotelian” (Risse’s category), for he resurrected the medieval genre of the written quaestio disputata and made his arguments predominantly by way of hypothetical syllogisms. Both of these developments go beyond Aristotle and the latter is even to some extent against Aristotle’s Organon. I also prove, based on a statement of Simon Goulart, that Chandieu’s written quaestiones disputatae (he does not call them this, but I have thus identified them) were produced in conjunction with his classroom disputations. By means of these he desired to teach theology and philosophy together. Perhaps most fascinating to some readers will be the argument that Chandieu’s utilization of scholastic method was precisely to present theological conclusions worthy of faith. His recourse to the hypothetical syllogistic appears to be somewhat novel, but his reasons for it extend back to the desire to let Scripture speak and forward to the desire that believers would rely on true and valid theological conclusions with a firm faith. The conclusions of this study confirm the model of continuity from the medieval to reformation eras, while adding detail and nuance to the question of the “rise” of scholastic method and the nature of one of the many Aristotelianisms of the era. As an exercise in intellectual history, and not just Reformation history, this dissertation surveys scholarship on Aristotle and the medieval to early modern university to underline the continuity in intellectual history that existed broadly speaking from 1250 to 1750. At the same time it reveals the particular developments in the mid to late sixteenth century and demonstrates the extent to which Chandieu fits these developments and the extent to which he offers elements of discontinuity.



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