a website dedicated to the memory of Adolphe Monod (1802-1856)



André Encrevé (1942-)

André Encrevé is a French historian and probably one of the best specialists of the Reformed Church of France during the 19th century. Having graduated in history, he has been a researcher at the CNRS (1969-1975) and then lecturer in modern history at the university of Reims (1975-1988). He terminated his professional career at a university in Paris (1997-2007). In his doctoral thesis “Protestants français au milieu du XIXe siècle. Les réformés de 1848 à 1870 ”(“French protestants of the 19th century. The Reformed from 1848 to 1870”, Geneva, Labor et Fides, 1986, p. 125 et seq., we find a short portrait of Adolphe Monod:

*** My translation of the French original ***

“… Son of pastor Jean Monod, student of divinity in Geneva, pastor of the French colony in Naples – where he suddenly “converted”, following the original revivalist tradition – he then became pastor in Lyon. He soon entered in conflict with the Church council (which he presided before J. Martin-Paschoud became its president) because of his dogmatic beliefs but also because of his uncompromising character. After a long fight, he was finally revoked by the Church council in 1831. He stayed in Lyon and became the pastor of a small community of dissenters. But this ministry appears not to suit him. In 1836 his friends obtain his call as professor to the faculty of Montauban, which marks his return to the national Church. Incidentally, his teaching activities lead Monod to adopt a somewhat different doctrinal stance. For instance, he qualifies his former assertions on the plenary inspiration of Scripture. In 1847, he leaves Montauban for Paris, where he becomes suffragan pastor assisting pastor Juillerat. It is not so much his doctrinal originality – which is limited – but his eloquence that makes him famous very rapidly. Nowadays we find it quite out-dated and too grandiloquent, but in his days it was unanimously praised; he was quite successful in Paris (when he preached, the Temple de l’Oratoire was too narrow for all those who came to hear him. …”

In the collecive work “L’Oratoire du Louvre et les protestants parisiens” (“The Louvre Oratory and the protestants of Paris”), p. 121 et seq., Encrevé adds the following remarks on Adolphe Monod:

*** My translation of the French original ***

“… Although he was above all a pastor, most of his activity on Paris is centred on preaching. And indeed he is very successful and makes himself a name (very much like A. Coquerel) well beyond the protestant community. Paul Stapfer refers to him as follows:

I have seen the great Temple of Saint-Honoré street, the Oratory […] in profound silence, although it was full of seated and standing people, right until the steps of the pulpit and up to the galleries of the upper storeys, which were normally empty […]. I was struck by the silence before and after [the sermon], first the silence of expectation and then the silence produced by the sermon.

Today we definitely tend to find his eloquence out-dated, all the more so because he does not hesitate to try to provoke emotions and even fear in his listeners. Michelet said of him: “Whoever has heard him still trembles.” This being said, his eloquence was particularly appreciated by his contemporaries. E. G. Léonard calls him “the voice of the Awakening” and asserts that “others have spoken in the name of the Awakening with power and authority […] but none has had gained such an audience”. His ministry in Paris, however, is short, because he dies in 1856.”

back to the main page