DUTOIT, dü”twā’, JEAN PHILIPPE: French mystic; b. at Moudon (14 m. n.n.e. of Lausanne), Switzerland, Sept. 27, 1721; d. at Lausanne Jan. 21, 1793. He is usually called Dutoit-Membrini, after his mother. He studied theology at the academy of Lausanne, but in 1750 he was taken ill and believed that death was near. As he lay on the ground, he had a vision in which he saw his dead father who announced to him his speedy recovery. When he rose, he heard a voice saying: “Thou shalt eat of the flesh of thy Redeemer and drink of his blood.” He at once felt the effect of these words, and a few days later he was far on the way to recovery. Shortly afterward Dutoit became acquainted with the writings of Madame Guyon and was soon one of her enthusiastic admirers. He vowed never to marry, and often preached in the churches at Lausanne, where he saw rich results from his discourses, although he could not be persuaded to take a permanent position. In 1759 his health obliged him to request that his name be stricken from the clerical list, and he then devoted himself to an earnest study of the Bible and the Fathers of the Church, especially the mystics. He corresponded with the famous men of his time, and gathered about him at Lausanne a small circle of enthusiasts. Despite the injurious reports circulated concerning him, especially at Geneva, and the suspicion of the government at Bern, his influence steadily increased. After his death a number of his followers, chiefly women, entered the Catholic Church, while others returned to the State Church or joined various sects.
Dutoit’s chief works were his Philosophie divine par Keleph ben Nathan (3 vols., Lyons, 1793) and Philosophie chrétienne (4 vols., Lausanne, 1800), a collection of sermons published by his admirers. He also reedited the letters of Madame Guyon, and published a new edition of her works in forty volumes. Dutoit was guided in his labors by two points of view, since he opposed deism, unbelief, fanaticism, and magnetism, and strove to teach an inward and empirical Christianity as contrasted with an external faith based merely on historical belief and a superficial religious life. As in the case of mystics generally, the objective aspect of redemption, though by no means denied, was overshadowed by subjectivity, and justification by faith was not fully recognized. Dutoit accordingly disregarded the Moravians, and was equally unsympathetic with the Jansenists and Calvin. He made a laudable effort to establish the efficacy of grace, and avoided the harshness of particularism, although his system contains no satisfactory solution of the problem. He likewise rejected the certainty of the state of grace, coinciding here with Catholic doctrine. His Biblical and Protestant spirit, however, protected him from quietistic extremes.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Chavannes, J. P. Dutoit, sa vie, son caractère et ses doctrines, Lausanne, 1865; A. Verdeil, Hist. du canton de Vaud, iii. 126-128, ib. 1852; H. L. J. Heppe, Geschichte der quietistischen Mystik, p. 515, Berlin, 1875; Lichtenberger, ESR, iv. 166-169.