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Prelude to the Modernist Crisis: The "Firmin" Articles of Alfred Loisy

Thirlway, Christine E., trans.


Alfred Firmin Loisy (1857–1940) was a French theologian, biblical scholar, and Roman Catholic priest. Between 1898 and 1900, he published six articles under the pseudonym “A. Firmin” in the Revue du Clergé Français that represent an attempt to develop a critical, historical apologetic for Catholicism. Loisy’s advocacy of a more liberal approach to the interpretation of Christian history and doctrine created heated conflict with the Catholic Church, resulting in his removal from his position as professor at the Catholic Institute in Paris, the denouncement of his writings by the Vatican, and his eventual excommunication from the Church. This volume comprises new translations of the five theoretical articles from the Revue du Clergé Français. The articles are accompanied by an introduction by the editor and by a response by Loisy’s contemporary and frequent critic Charles Maignen. The writings included in this book are essential not only for the study of Catholic theology but also for critical understanding of the liberal reforms of the turn of the twentieth century.

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