Loisy, Alfred Firmin

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Loisy, Alfred Firmin

Alfred Firmin Loisy (älfrĕd´ fērmăN´ lwäzē´), 1857–1940, French theologian, biblical critic, and leading exponent of biblical modernism. He was ordained (1879) a Roman Catholic priest and was (1881–93) professor at the Catholic Institute in Paris. His belief in greater freedom in interpreting the history and development of religious doctrine brought him into conflict with Popes Leo XIII and Pius X. In 1893, he was dismissed from the institute. He taught (1900–1904) at the École des Hautes Études and (1909–30) at the Collège de France. At the beginning of the 20th cent. he became the principal leader of the Modernism movement, which accepted the theories of higher criticism and developed a kind of liberal humanitarianism. His books were condemned severally and collectively by the Holy See, and in 1908 he was excommunicated. Thereafter he became increasingly opposed to the teachings of the church. Among his works are L'Évangile et l'église [the gospel and the church] (1902), Le IVe Évangile [the fourth gospel] (1903), and Les Évangiles synoptiques [the synoptic gospels] (1908). His autobiography appeared in 1924.

See J. Ratté, Three Modernists (1968).

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