Famous Swiss Theologians

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Swiss Theologians

 1 
Karl Barth
(Theologian)

Karl Barth
4
Birthdate: May 10, 1886
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
Died: December 10, 1968

Swiss theologian Karl Barth is best remembered for his iconic work The Epistle to the Romans. His opposition to the German National Socialism got him suspended as a professor at the University of Bonn. Along with Eduard Thurneysen, he revolutionized Protestant ideals. He also delivered sermons to prisoners in Basel.

 2 
Hans Urs von Balthasar
(Theologian and Catholic Priest Known for His 15-Volume Trilogy on Beauty, Goodness, and Truth)

Hans Urs von Balthasar
5
Birthdate: August 12, 1905
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lucerne, Switzerland
Died: June 26, 1988

Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar was one of the chief figures behind the formation of the Community of St. John. He also co-launched the Catholic journal Communio and penned numerous books on themes such as classical literature. Declared a cardinal, he died shortly before his investiture.

 3 
Theodore Beza
(Theologian)

Theodore Beza
3
Birthdate: June 24, 1519
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vezelay, Burgundy, France
Died: October 13, 1605

One of the best Latin poets of his time, Theodore Beza soared to fame with his poetry collection Juvenilia. He later adopted Calvinism and succeeded John Calvin as the main spiritual leader of the Republic of Geneva. He is remembered as a major force behind the spread of Calvinism in Europe.

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 4 
Heinrich Bullinger
(Theologian, Writer)

Heinrich Bullinger
3
Birthdate: July 18, 1504
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bremgarten, Switzerland
Died: September 17, 1575

Swiss reformer Heinrich Bullinger is remembered for his role in the spread of Zwinglianism, or the teachings of reformer Huldrych Zwingli. He later succeeded Zwingli in Zurich. He also played a major role in the First and Second Helvetic Confession and in bringing about the Reformed tradition.

 5 
Johann Kaspar Lavater
(Poet, Philosopher, Physiognomist and Theologian)

Johann Kaspar Lavater
3
Birthdate: November 15, 1741
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: January 2, 1801

Best known for his research on physiognomy, Johann Kaspar Lavater was also a theologian and an author. He had penned books such as Aussichten in die Ewigkeit and several epic and lyric poems. He died of a grenade wound during the French occupation of Switzerland.

 6 
Philip Schaff
(Church historian, Translator, Theologian, University teacher, Writer, Bible translator)

Philip Schaff
2
Birthdate: January 1, 1819
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chur
Died: October 20, 1893

Swiss-American theologian Philip Schaff is remembered for his works such as The Creeds of Christendom. He believed that the positive aspects of both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism could be blended into an ecumenical form of spirituality. He later founded and headed the American Society of Church History.

 7 
Thomas Erastus
(Physician)

Thomas Erastus
2
Birthdate: September 7, 1524
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Aargau, Switzerland
Died: December 31, 1583

While he initially studied theology, the 1544 plague drove him to study medicine, too. He is said to have been a pioneer of Erastianism, a union between the church and the state. In his writings, he also often opposed philosopher Paracelsus and his views.

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 8 
Georges Cottier
(Theologian, Archbishop)

Georges Cottier
2
Birthdate: April 25, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Carouge, Switzerland
Died: March 31, 2016

Papal theologian and Catholic cardinal Georges Cottier had initially taught at the Universities of Geneva and Fribourg. He was also part of the Second Vatican Council and had led the International Theological Commission as its secretary. He retired at age 83 and passed away a decade later.

 9 
Gilberto Agustoni
(Theologian, Catholic priest)

Gilberto Agustoni
2
Birthdate: July 26, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Schaffhausen
Died: January 13, 2017

Catholic cardinal Gilberto Agustoni initially studied theology in Rome but later moved to Fribourg due to World War II. He had served as part of the Roman Curia, had been the Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy, and was named as part of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

 10 

Alexandre Vinet
1
Birthdate: June 17, 1797
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ouchy, Lausanne, Switzerland
Died: May 4, 1847

French-Swiss theologian Alexandre Vinet was a major figure of the Protestant Reformation in the French-speaking regions of Switzerland. While he initially taught French and theology at the universities of Basel and Lausanne, he later spoke against religious dogma and supported the separation of church and the state.

 11 
Emil Brunner
(Theologian)

Emil Brunner
2
Birthdate: December 23, 1889
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Winterthur, Switzerland
Died: April 6, 1966

Swiss Reformed theologian Emil Brunner was an important figure of the theological movement known as neo-orthodoxy. While he taught theology at the University of Zürich, he also lectured on tours all over the world and, in his later years, worked in Tokyo. He often disagreed with neo-orthodox figure Karl Barth.

 12 
Jean Leclerc
(Theologian)

Jean Leclerc
1
Birthdate: March 19, 1657
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: January 8, 1736
Theologian, biblical scholar, and encyclopedist Jean Leclerc is remembered for propagating methods such as exegesis for the analysis of the Bible. He eventually broke all association with Calvinism due to his criticism. He edited 3 major encyclopedias and also taught Hebrew and philosophy in the Remonstrant Seminary of Amsterdam, too.

 13 
Giovanni Diodati
(Theologian)

Giovanni Diodati
1
Birthdate: June 3, 1576
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: October 3, 1649
Giovanni Diodati was a Calvinist translator and theologian whose translation of the Bible from Hebrew, Latin, Syriac, and Greek sources into Italian became the most reliable version of the book for Italian Protestants. In addition to translating the Bible into Italian, Giovanni Diodati also translated it into French, which made him popular in France as well.

Johann Jakob Breitinger
0
Birthdate: March 1, 1701
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: December 14, 1776

One of the greatest literary critics of the 18th century, Swiss-German author Johann Jakob Breitinger was best known for his collaborations with author and academic Johann Jakob Bodmer. A well-known professor and philologist, he is remembered chiefly for his work Critische Dichtkunst. He also founded the journal Discourse der Mahlern.

 15 

Jean-Pierre de Crousaz
0
Birthdate: April 13, 1663
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lausanne, Switzerland
Died: March 22, 1750

Swiss philosopher and theologian Jean-Pierre de Crousaz had been a professor of math and philosophy at the University of Lausanne and had also served as its rector 4 times. He is best remembered for his works such as Treatise on Beauty and his critique of Pope’s Essay on Man.

 16 
Pierre Viret
(Reformer)

Pierre Viret
1
Birthdate: 1511 AD
Birthplace: Orbe, Switzerland
Died: May 4, 1571

One of the most famous French-speaking reformers of the 16th century, Swiss-born Pierre Viret earned the nickname The Smile of the Reformation for his gripping preaching during the Protestant Reformation. He also set up a Reformed Academy in Lausanne, which was later relocated to Geneva.

 17 

Johann Jakob Herzog
0
Birthdate: September 12, 1805
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
Died: September 30, 1882

Swiss-German theologian Johann Jakob Herzog didn’t just teach church history and New Testament exegesis, but also rose as a major figure of Protestantism. He is chiefly remembered for his iconic work The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. His writings covered the Reformation and its history.