The Protestant Independent school of theology of Paris

The Protestant Faculty of theology of Paris was founded in 1873, and called Protestant Independent school of theology, upon the initiative of Strasbourg University professors, especially Frédéric Lichtenberger and Auguste Sabatier, who did not wish to remain in the Alsatian city that had become German after the defeat at Sedan in 1870.

  • Faculté de théologie protestante de Paris (2016)
    The Protestant Independent school of theology of Paris (2016) © Fondation Bersier (Thibault Godin - 2015)

Until then there had never been a Protestant faculty of theology in the capital city. Training for pastoral and diaconal ministries was provided at the Faculty of Reformed theology in Montauban. The professors in Strasbourg were Lutherans. For a few years the problem was of an agreement between Lutherans and Reformed. Once it was reached the independent School became a Faculty in 1877 and was established in the Collège Rollin on rue Lhomond in Paris.

In 1879 Wiliam Waddington, the minister of Education, granted the Protestant Faculty of theology of Paris the private mansion located 83 boulevard Arago in Paris. They were allowed to deliver state diplomas, a favour not granted to Catholic university education since 1877. But this favour was rapidly rescinded. In the late 21st century it became the Protestant independent faculty of theology.

Since it was founded the Faculty of Paris has had many outstanding professors, such as Adolphe Lods, Wilfred Monod, Pierre Maury, and in the nineteen-sixties Jean Bosc, André Dumas, Oscar Cullmann, Georges Casalis, and those who are presently in charge, of course.

The Protestant faculty of theology of Paris and the one in Montpelier constitute the Protestant Institute of theology. The Institute does not deliver state diplomas, but organises common classes with various academic institutions, which allows students to be eligible for state diplomas.

The Protestant Faculty of theology of Paris has a large theological library of theology and an important archive reserve, among which those of the philosopher Paul Ricœur are housed in a special dedicated new building inaugurated in June 2010.

The building of the Protestant Faculty of theology of Paris is in the vicinity of La Santé Prison built in 1867. This explains why some of the windows are obstructed to prevent unauthorised exchange with prisoners.

It should be noted that a 100 metres further down, at the crossroads of the boulevard Arago and the rue de la Santé, stands the last public urinal in use in the city of Paris.

Denfert-Rochereau square

  • Le Lion de Belfort (1875-1879), sculpture de Bartholdi
    © Ville de Belfort

A big statue of a lion stands in the middle of Denfert-Rochereau square in remembrance of the defenders of Belfort during the 1870-71 siege. On the pedestal is a medallion featuring colonel Denfert-Rochereau who controlled the stronghold. The statue is a replica of the very big statue in Vosgian sandstone erected at the foot of the Belfort citadel. Both statues were made by the Alsatian sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi. He also designed the Statue of Liberty in New York. Both Denfert-Rochereau and Bartholdi were Protestant.

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The Protestant Independent school of theology of Paris

83 Boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France

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