Louis Auguste Sabatier

1839-1901. French Protestant scholar. Of Huguenot stock, he was brought up in the early nineteenth-century Protestant revival and became a leading exponent of liberal Protestantism in France. His work in the Protestant faculty of theology in Strasbourg (1868-70) was cut short for political reasons, but eventually in 1877 he helped to refound the faculty in Paris. From 1886 he taught also in the nonsectarian religious studies department of the école des Hautes �tudes of the Sorbonne. His theology was evolved in relation to his wide interests in modern cultural problems, evidenced in prolific regular writings on literature and politics. His view that concepts in religion could be no more than symbols undermined the traditional authority of dogma. He held that the proper method of theology was the historical and psychological study of religious phenomena, which at once relativized dogma, seen as changing historical forms, and revealed faith as the enjoyment of God's gift of spiritual life, which was the unchanging essence of religion. His presentation of this approach has a christological center, reminiscent of Schleiermacher.* His chief works were Outlines of a Philosophy of Religion (1897) and The Religions of Authority and the Religion of the Spirit (1903).