Theophilanthropists

A Deistic sect founded in France at the Revolution during the rule of the Directory, with the object of establishing a religion completely free of dogma. Their chief patron was the director, L.M. La Réveillière-Lépeaux (1753- 1824). In Manuel des théophilanthropes, J.B. Chemin-Dupontes set forth their creed as belief in God, virtue, and immortality, drawing his inspiration from Voltaire and Rousseau. In 1797 they met in Paris and were given by the director the use of Notre Dame cathedral and seventeen other Parisian churches. They appealed to few apart from some scientists, politicians, and artists, including Jacopus David. After the reestablishment of Catholicism by the Concordat of 1801* they lost ground, and Napoleon restored the churches to Roman Catholic worship (1802). Unsuccessful attempts were made to revive Theophilanthropism in the nineteenth century.