Woman's Name Added to Reformation Tablet. (News)

The Christian Century, November 20, 2002 | Go to article overview

Woman's Name Added to Reformation Tablet. (News)


Four new names have been chiseled onto the Wall of the Reformers, one of the world's principal monuments of the Protestant Reformation and one of the most visited sites in Geneva, a cradle of the Reformation. Marie Dentiere, a Flemish-born 16th-century lay theologian, took her place on the monument beside Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and other luminaries.

Officially unveiled at a November 3 ceremony, the quartet of names also included better-known early church reformers Peter Valdes (ca. 1140-1217), who inspired the Waldensian movement; John Wycliffe (ca. 1330-1384), who instituted the first English translation of the Bible; and John Hus (ca. 1369-1415), the preacher whose teachings spurred the Hussite movement in Bohemia.

The four names appear on the two blocks framing the monument at the foot of an old fortress wall in Geneva, a city John Calvin made into a refuge for religious asylum-seekers and a center of Reformation teaching, practice and printing in the 16th century.

For many years the reputation of Dentiere was under a cloud because of critical comments made about her by Calvin and another reformer, Guillaume Farel. She has, however, recently been rehabilitated by a new generation of theology students, said Isabelle Graessle, a theologian and the first woman moderator of the Protestant Church of Geneva's Company of Pastors and Deacons--a position established by Calvin. …

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