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From Professors to Pastors: The Convoluted Careers of Jean Diodati and Théodore Tronchin

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on one particular extended episode in the first decade of the seventeenth century, in which a three-cornered debate surfaced beginning in 1606 between the magistrates, pastors, and professors of Geneva over possible solutions for the acute shortage of qualified leading pastors for the Genevan churches. While the Company of Pastors echoed the professors' concerns, they did eventually join the magistrates in pressing Jean Diodati and Thoédore Tronchin to accept these new roles. The chapter argues that the roots of this conflict went deeper than a debate over the appropriate parameters of professors' responsibilities, and instead signaled a sea change in perceived importance of scholarly work and in the power balance between government and ecclesiastical authorities in seventeenth-century Geneva, over the selection and appointment of pastors. It is worth to analyze the magistrates' rationale for opposing the Company's long-standing practice of promoting rural pastors to vacant city pulpits.

Keywords: ecclesiastical authorities; Jean Diodati; magistrates' rationale; seventeenth-century Geneva; Thoédore Tronchin



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