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Coquerel, Athanase Laurent Charles

COQUEREL, ATHANASE LAURENT CHARLES (1795-1868), French Protestant divine, was born in Paris on the 17th of August 1795. He received his early education from his aunt, Helen Maria Williams, an Englishwoman, who at the close of the 18th century gained a reputation by various translations and by her Letters from France. He completed his theological studies at the Protestant seminary of Montauban, and in 1816 was ordained minister. In 1817 he was invited to become pastor of the chapel of St Paul at Jersey, but he declined, being unwilling to subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England. During the following twelve years he resided in Holland, and preached before Calvinistic congregations at Amsterdam, Leiden and Utrecht. In 1830, at the suggestion of Baron Georges de Cuvier, then minister of Protestant worship, Coquerel was called to Paris as pastor of the Reformed Church. In the course of 1833 he was chosen a member of the consistory, and rapidly acquired the reputation of a great pulpit orator, but his liberal views brought him into antagonism with the rigid Calvinists. He took a warm interest in all matters of education, and distinguished himself so much by his defence of the university of Paris against a sharp attack, that in 1835 he was chosen a member of the consistory of the Legion of Honour. In 1841 appeared his Réponse to the Leben Jesu of Strauss. After the revolution of February 1848, Coquerel was elected a member of the National Assembly, where he sat as a moderate republican, subsequently becoming a member of the Legislative Assembly. He supported the first ministry of Louis Napoleon, and gave his vote in favour of the expedition to Rome and the restoration of the temporal power of the pope. After the coup d'état of the 2nd of December 1851, he confined himself to the duties of his pastorate. He was a prolific writer, as well as a popular and eloquent speaker. He died at Paris on the 10th of January 1868. A large collection of his sermons was published in 8 vols. between 1819 and 1852. Other works were Biographie sacrée (1825-1826); Histoire sainte et analyse de la Bible (1839); Orthodoxie moderne (1842); Christologie (1858), etc.

His brother, Charles Augustin Coquerel (1797-1851), was the author of a work on English literature (1828), an Essai sur l'histoire générale du christianisme (1828) and a Histoire des églises du désert, depuis la revocation de l'édit de Nantes (1841). A liberal in his views, he was the founder and editor of the Annales protestantes, Le Lien, and the Revue protestante.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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