Pierre Jurieu (1637-1713)

Pierre Jurieu was a pastor of the “refuge” and defended the rights of the people in the kingdom of Louis XIV.

He was a pastor, a professor of theology and a writer

  • Pierre Jurieu

Pierre Jurieu was born in Mer-sur-la-Loire, there had been many pastors in his family before him. His mother was the daughter of Pierre du Moulin, who had been the first pastor of the temple of Charenton (1568-1658).

He studied theology in Saumur, then in Sedan, where he obtained his doctorate. In 1674, he was appointed professor of theology and Hebrew in the Sedan academy. However, in 1681, Louis XIV gave orders for the reformed academy of Sedan to be closed down so Pierre Jurieu had to take refuge in Rotterdam, where he became a pastor in the Flemish Walloon Church (the French-speaking protestant Church in the Netherlands), and professor in the “Ecole Illustre”. He died in the Netherlands in 1713.

He produced many literary works

  • Critical history by Pierre Jurieu © S.H.P.F.

His {glossary_exclude]works included both theology and history. Pierre Jurieu felt deeply about the religious and political causes which he defended.

  • An apologia for the religious beliefs held by those adhering to the reformed faith (1675)
  • A treatise on the power of the Church (1677)
  • A comparative history of Calvinism and Papism ( 1683)
  • Reflections on the cruel persecution of protestants (1685)
  • A critical history of dogmas and religious practice (1704)

A Pastor's Letters, which were sent to France from Holland, a country of "refuge"

  • Pastoral letters from Pierre Jurieu (Rotterdam 1688) © SHPF

After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Jurieu wrote A pastor’s letters to believers undergoing terrible suffering due to the captivity of Babylon (Rotterdam – 1689), which was circulated secretly in France and the whole of Europe. The Letters were written from both a religious and a political standpoint, since Pierre Jurieu contested the legitimacy of the Edict of Fontainebleau (1685) and enlarged on a theory of contractual political power (as opposed to absolutism).

Jurieu defended the "rights of the people"

He was opposed to the Sun King’s politics, preferring to give his support to William III of Orange’s “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 – 1689, which was for him “the greatest event of our time”.

He openly questioned the legitimacy and justice of absolutism and the divine right of kings.

He defended the rights of the people and he believed in the sovereignty of those rights from an early stage onwards.

Similarly, he defended this idea of the people’s sovereignty in Church matters. He also went on to justify the “minor prophets” explaining their position and supporting the Camisard revolt.

Another French protestant refugee also living in Rotterdam, who did not at all share Jurieu’s political and religious views was Pierre Bayle (1647 – 1706),who had remained a loyal monarchist, despite Louis XIV’s “despotic abuse of power”.


  • Books
    • LABROUSSE Elisabeth, Conscience et conviction. Etudes sur le XVIIIe siècle, Universitas, Paris, 1996
    • LUREAU Roger, Les doctrines politiques de Pierre Jurieu, Thèse de Doctorat, Bordeaux, 1904
  • Articles
    • KNECHT F. R. J., "Pierre Jurieu, réfugié unique et caractéristique", Actes du colloque, Le Refuge huguenot, SHPF, Paris, 1969, p. 445-485

Associated notes

  • Pierre Bayle (1647-1706)

    Pierre Bayle can be seen as a forerunner of the Age of Enlightenment because the concept of tolerance was of great importance to him and, a true scholar, he specialized...
  • Pierre Du Moulin (1568-1658)

    Pierre Du Moulin was a scholar and a well known orator, but he is probably mostly remembered today as the first pastor of the Charenton temple.
  • Isaac Mallet (1684-1779)

    Isaac Mallet was the descendant of a French protestant who had taken refuge in Geneva ; he founded the bank Mallet Frères et Cie, which remained a family bank for the...
  • Jacques Saurin (1677-1730)

    Jacques Saurin was a pastor serving in the countries of Refuge, first in London, then in the Hague – as a pastor he was admired for his eloquence and a...
  • Abraham Mazel (1677-1710)

    A prophet and a fighter, Abraham Mazel was the first and the last of the Camisards.
  • Louis de Jaucourt (1704-1779)

    The Chevalier de Jaucourt, a man of great learning, was one of the most prolific writer of the Encyclopédie, who counted both Diderot and d’Alembert amongst his friends. He was...