Le réformateur Jean Le Comte (1500–1572): De l’oubli à une mémoire remodelée

Reinhard Bodenmann


In a publication of 1707, Abraham Ruchat (1680–1750) exhumes for the first time the reformer Jean Le Comte (1500–1572), hitherto completely unknown to Protestant historiography. According to Ruchat, Le Comte was, along with Guillaume Farel and Pierre Viret, one of the most important reformers of the Romandie. To back his assertion, he refers to a diary supposed to have been written by Le Comte himself and derives from it new details about the Reformation, pertaining especially to the dominion of Grandson. Since then, historians have used the extracts excerpted by Ruchat over and over again, while a few others claim to have used the diary itself, the last of which was Eduard Bähler at the end of the 19th century. It was assumed since then that this diary of Jean Le Comte had been lost. This article establishes that the diary was not written by Jean Le Comte, but by his son Jacques (1543–1613) on the basis of paternal archives, afterwards destroyed by the son in order to blur any evidence of the strong disagreements which existed between his father on the one hand and the reformers Farel, Calvin and Viret on the other. This original diary composed by Jacques, which still existed in 1767, has probably been destroyed since. However, extracts of it dating from 1629 have been rediscovered, similar and yet a little bit more exhaustive than the ones known so far. They were discovered for the first time at the end of 1916 in the castle of Champvent, were shown at that time to the well-known historian of the Canton Vaud, Henri Vuilleumier (1841–1925), before falling into oblivion once again.


Reformation; historiography; Jean Calvin; Pierre Caroli; Guillaume Farel; Jean Le Comte; Pierre Viret; French-speaking Switzerland; Grandson; Romainmôtier

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