Etudes Epistémè (2017-12-01)

Célébrer la providence divine. Jubilé et culture commémorative réformée (Genève, XVIe-XVIIe siècle)

  • Christian Grosse

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 32


Read online

If reformation commemorations began in Germany in 1617, using the posting of Luther's 95 theses as a date of reference, it is only a century later that a commemoration culture emerged in Geneva. This article examines the reasons for this delay. One factor was theological: the rejection of the jubilee as a Catholic practice. The other is related to the persistence of a conception of history in which events related to the conversion of the city to the Reformation, were read as a spiritual history, in which divine providence was the main actor, rather than as a temporal history, depending mainly on human action. The notion of Geneva being an elected city, and the object of particular divine protection, is central to this conception. The article argues that elements of public commemoration practice were gradually set up, first through the erection of a monument (1558), then through the definition of a proper reformed way of celebrating a jubilee (1635). These steps led to the first public celebration of the bicentenary of the Genevan Reformation in 1735.