Pierre Allix (1641-1717)
Pierre Allix was a renowned theological writer, an advocate of religious toleration and the most celebrated Huguenot preacher of the 1680s in England. He was born at Alencon and came to England in 1685.
Allix studied at the Huguenot Academy at Saumur and then became minister of the church at Charenton, near Paris. He fled to England in 1685, took Anglican orders and was licenced by James II to set up a church in Jewin Street without Aldersgate using the Anglican ritual in French language. He dedicated one of his books to King James, in gratitude for the treatment he and his fellow refugees had received.
Louis XIV was troubled by his flight, and in 1686 he dispatched a special envoy offering Allix a pension of 4,000 livres if he would convert to Catholicism and return to France, which he of course refused.
Allix was a gifted linguist, distinguished in the study of Hebrew and Syriac, fluent in English and also spoke Latin. In 1686 the diarist John Evelyn writes, ” I waited on the Archbishop at Lambeth, where I dined, and met the famous preacher and writer, Monsieur Allix, doubtless a most excellent and learned person ; the Archbishop and he spoke Latin together, and that very readily.”
Allix was the author of many theological books and was created Doctor of Divinity by Emmanuel College, Cambridge, later became canon and treasurer to the Cathedral of Salisbury.
Allix made a very important discovery, that the ‘Codex Ephraemi Syri’ was a palimpsest. The Codex was a fifth-century Greek manuscript of the Bible written on parchment. The original script was removed by washing and the parchment was re-used and overwritten in the twelfth century. Allix was the first person to notice that the original writing which was just visible was Biblical, and many years later when advanced technology became available it was deciphered and translated.
Peter ALLIX (1641-1717). Brief Life and Works:. Martyn Thompson
Studies on the Text of the New Testament and Early Christianity: edited by Daniel Gurtner, Juan Hernández, Jr., Paul Foster
The Huguenots: History and Memory in Transnational Context: edited by David J.B. Trim
Protestant exiles from France, chiefly in the reign of Louis XIV; or, The Huguenot refugees and their descendants in Great Britain and Ireland”
John Locke, Toleration and Early Enlightenment Culture: John Marshall