Pierre Du Moulin On The Knowledge Of God -- By: Mark J. Larson

Journal: Puritan Reformed Journal
Volume: PRJ 04:1 (Jan 2012)
Article: Pierre Du Moulin On The Knowledge Of God
Author: Mark J. Larson


Pierre Du Moulin On The Knowledge Of God

Mark J. Larson

The impact of Pierre du Moulin surpassed his colleagues, the great doctors of the Reformed world in the first half of the seventeenth century. Several scholars make this point. Roger Nicole asserts, “His stature outranks that of his theological contemporaries, as Louis XIV outranks most other kings of France before and after him.”1 Brian Armstrong affirms that he was “incontestably the leading ministerial voice of the French Protestant Church in the first half of the seventeenth century.”2 Émile Léonard refers to him as “ce grand intellectual.”3 Gédéon Gory ranks him as the greatest among the doctors who followed the Reformers: “Parmi les Docteurs, de Moulin fut, au dire de ses contemporains, le plus grand.”4

In this article, I wish to provide a brief overview of Pierre du Moulin’s life and his Protestant scholastic method before examining in more depth his doctrine of the knowledge of God.

Pastor And Professor Of Theology

Du Moulin was born of the higher nobility in 1568.5 It was a dangerous time for Reformed believers in France; the young boy was almost killed in the massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day in 1572. Ironically,

a Catholic woman hid the child under some straw, protecting him from the attackers who would have murdered him.6

He left his parents’ home in Sedan at the age of nineteen and began his formal education, first at Cambridge University under William Whitaker and then at Leiden University with Franciscus Junius.7 He developed political connections throughout Europe by cultivating personal ties with the leading figures of his time. “He gravitated toward those who held the high positions of state.”8 He established a close relationship with two monarchs of the early seventeenth century, James I of England and Henry IV of France. He served as an adviser to James I,9 and he became the chaplain of Henry IV.10

As one of the premier theologians of his time, du Moulin was truly a colorful figure. He knew what it was to “smell the smoke of battle,” witnessing Prince Maur...

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