Claude, Jean

Claude, Jean one of the most eminent of French Protestant divines, was born at La Sauvetat, near Agen, in the south of France, in 1619. He studied theology at Montauban, was ordained in 1645, and began his pastoral labors at La Tregue in the same year. In 1654 he was called to the church at Nismes, where he also taught in the theological school. In 1661 he was interdicted from his functions by the government, as a penalty for opposing, in the provincial synod, a project of union between Romanists and Protestants proposed by the governor of Languedoc. He went to Paris to have this penalty revoked, and while there was prevailed upon by Madame Turenne (who wished to save her husband from Romanism) to write against Arnauld on the Eucharist, which led to a controversy of great note. Claude's tractate was circulated in MS.; but in 1664 Arnauld published his celebrated Perpetuite de la Foi, etc. SEE ARNAULD, to which Claude replied in 1667 in his Reponse au Traite de la Perpetuite de la Foi, etc. (see an account of the controversy in Bayle, translation of 1736, 10 vols., 4:366). He had previously been appointed minister at Montauban (1662), and also professor of theology. In 1666 he was interdicted again, and in that year he became pastor of the Reformed church at Charenton, near Paris. Here he remained, popular and useful, regarded as the chief literary defender of French Protestantism, until 1685. The eminent Port-Royalists, Arnauld and Nicole, found him a capable and worthy opponent. "In 1673 appeared his Defense de la Reformation, ou Response aux Prejuges legitimes de Nitcole (latest ed. Paris, 1844, 8vo). In 1681 Claude had a controversial conference with Bossuet, after which he published Reponse a la Conference de Bossuet (La Haye, 1683, 8vo). The conference, as usual, led to no approximation between the contending parties." In 1685 the revocation of the edict of Nantes by Louis XIV obliged Claude to seek refuge in Holland, where he was well received, on account both of his talents: and his personal character, and the prince of Orange granted him a pension. He died Jan. 13, 1687. His Plaintes des Protestans cruellement opprimes dans le Royaume de France was published after his death (best ed. by Basnage, Cologne, 1763, 8vo). His style, though simple, was vigorous, being sustained by logical skill and erudition. La Deveze wrote a biography of Claude (Amsterdam, 1687)" (Eng. Cyclopaedia). Several of his works are translated, viz. Townsend, Claude's Historical Defence of the Reformation, with Life of Claude (Lond. 1815, 2 vols. 8vo): — Essay on the Composition of a Sermon (latest ed. N. Y. 1853, 12mo) . — Account of the Complaints of the Protestants (London, 1707, 12mo). — Haag, La France Protestante, 3, 473; Mosheim, Ch. Hist. cent. 17, sec. 2, pt. 1, ch. 1, § 12, note; Bayle, l. c. On Claude's qualities as a preacher, and his homiletical services, see Vinet, Histoire de la Predication, p. 303 sq. (Paris, 1860, 8vo).

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