Turretini the name of a family of theologians of Geneva, whose ancestor, Francis Turretin or Turretini, the son of a gonfalonier of Lucca, was expatriated on account of his religion. He came to Geneva in 1579. Among his descendants three men deserve mention in this place.
1. BENEDETTO was born in 1588 at Zurich, became pastor at Geneva in 1612, and professor of theology in 1618. In 1620 he represented the Church of Geneva at the national synod of Alais, which introduced the decrees of Dort into France, and in the following year he was sent to Holland and the cities of the Hanseatic League to solicit aid towards fortifying Geneva, a task in which he was eminently successful. He died in 1631, leaving to the world a number of sermons and theological writings. See Leu, Allgem,. Hist. Lexikon, 18:375; Senebier, Hist, Lit. de Geneve, 2, 136.
2. FRANCOIS was born in 1623, became pastor of the Italian congregation at Geneva, and in 1653 professor of theology. He was sent to Holland on a similar mission to that formerly undertaken by his father Benedetto. He is particularly known as a zealous opponent of the theology of Saumur, SEE AMYRAUT, and defender of orthodoxy in the sense of Dort. He was also one of the originators of the Helvetic Consensus (q.v.) He left numerous works, the more important of which, were reprinted at Edinburgh in 1847 sq.
3. JEAN ALPHONSE, the son of Fran9ois, was born in 1671, and became the pupil of the Cartesian Chouet and of the Arminianizing Louis Tronchin (q.v.) at Geneva. In 1691 he went to Holland to study church history under Spanheim, and in 1692 he visited England, where he became acquainted with Newton and acquired the English language. On his return to the Continent lie sojourned for a time in Paris, and was admitted to the society of men like Bossuet, Mabillon, Malebranche, etc. He availed himself of this opportunity to study Arabic under the tuition of the abbé Langueme. In Geneva he was received into the ministry at the age of twenty-two, and soon afterwards into the Venerable Compagnie des Pasteurs. His ability as an orator at once commanded attention. He was accustomed to follow the English practice of presenting to the view a leading truth or duty; but he made the application of his discourse with greater unction than the English speakers cultivated, and by thus combining the methods of the Genevan and the English pulpit he became the originator of a new method. The arrangement of his sermons was natural and logical, his statement clear and simple, his manner dignified. In 1697 he was made professor of church history, and in 1701 became rector of the academy. The latter honor was conferred upon him ten times, to which fact we are indebted for ten important addresses delivered on the successive days of promotion. He followed Tronchin, in 1705, as professor of systematic theology, though still retaining his own (historical) chair. He wrote upon almost the whole of dogmatics, and connected with these labors exegetical lectures on parts of the New Test.
The influence of Turretini was especially apparent in the management of the enterprise to bring about the abrogation of the Helvetic Consensus as a binding formula. He kept it before the Venerable Company, the council, and the Two Hundred until a majority were gained over to that project; and he induced Wake, archbishop of Canterbury, to urge the abrogation upon 'leading men throughout Switzerland, and also to persuade the king of England to address an appeal to the cantons in behalf of the same measure. He was also prominent in promoting fraternal relations between Lutherans and Reformed Christians in Geneva, in recognition of which fact he was made a member of the Royal Academy of Berlin, and awarded a gold medal by the Prussian king.
The principal theological works of Turretini, from: which his tendency may most readily be learned, are, Nubes Testium pro Moderato et Pacfico de Rebus Theol. Judicio et Instituenda inter Protestantes Concordia (1729), with a dissertation on the fundamental articles of the faith annexed. Such articles he describes as "quorum cognitio atque fides ad Dei gratiam salutemque obtinendam necessaria est." This dissertation exposed Turretini to attack from two different directions: first, from the Jesuit De Pierre, Lyons, 1728, who sought to show that the Reformed Church had no greater reason to renounce the communion of the Church of Rome than that of the Lutheran Church; and, second, from Crinsons, Protestant pastor of Bionens, 1727. A second and more important work is his Cogitationes et Dissertationes Theologicae, in which he displays a liberal type of orthodoxy. He emphasizes the importance of natural theology in genuine Reformed fashion, but holds that revealed religion has for its object merely the supplementing and completing of what natural religion teaches. He recognizes the existence of mysteries in revealed religion, but zealously rejects foreign and scholastic additions in theology. With respect to the doctrine of the divine decrees, he avoids, as he does everywhere, all extreme statements, but lays hold on the elements of practical utility in, the teaching. With reference to the doctrine of Divine Providence, he represented the optimistic Leibnitzian theory. He followed that philosopher also in his rejection of innate ideas. The Cogitationes contained much apologetical material, and earned for their author an honorable place among apologists (see Pelt, Encyclop. p. 391). The form in which his apologetical ideas were given to the French world of readers by Vernet is, it should be noted, revised and altered, in the first editions with the author's consent, as Vernet claimed; but the improvement progressed with each successive edition, and Vernet clearly reveals the deism of the 18th century in his work.
In 1725 Turretini was commissioned to deliver the so called Cloture des Promotions, an address in the French language, together with the charge prescribed by the laws for the occasion, when the Two Hundred and the General Assembly of citizens were to elect the principal magistrates of the State. The twenty-five addresses, which he delivered to these bodies, were highly commended because of the striking and practical ideas with which they were filled. He also took active part in the improvement of the liturgy, in the ordering of week-day services, in the publication of a new edition of the French New Test. (1726), in the forming of a society for the religious instruction of youth, and finally in the introduction of the public confirmation of catechumens. He rendered important services to the churches of Hungary, Transylvania, the Palatinate, and the Waldenses, and maintained an extensive correspondence with Switzerland, England, Holland, Germany, etc. George II of England and his consort honored him with expressions of their favor, and employed him in works of benevolence. His last years were disturbed by the troubles of Geneva in 1734. He died May 1, 1737. After his death were issued from the press his Comment. Theoret. pract. in Ep. ad Thessalonic. (Basle, 1739): — Prcelectiones on Romans 11 (Geneva, 1741): — and a tractate on the exposition of Scripture (Berlin, 1766). A complete edition of his works appeared in Leeuwarden in 1775. Sources. — Senebier, Hist. Lit. de Genzve, 2, 259; Sayous, Hist. de la Lit. Franc. a l'Etranger, etc. (1853); Cellerier, L'Academie de Geneve (1855); Vernet, Eloge Historique, sur J. A. Tur. in the Bibl. Raisonnee, 21; various biographical dictionaries; and Herzog, Real Encyklop. s.v.