Un regard scientifique sur les monothéismes depuis les origines jusqu’à l’époque moderne

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About the LEM

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A scientific approach to monotheisms, from their origins to modern times

The Laboratoire d’études sur les monothéismes (LEM), is one of the main research centres for the study of religion in France. It aims to study the texts and doctrines of the European and Mediterranean religious traditions from a historical and comparative perspective, detached from confessional considerations.

Researchers at LEM focuse on Judaism, Christianism and Islam, as well as on certain forms of religious dissent in Antiquity (such as Gnosticism or Manicheanism) and pagan philosophical monotheism. The Centre also seeks to explore the confrontation between philosophical and religious rationalities. Chronologically, research at LEM considers the history of the monotheistic traditions from the emergence of a scriptural canon in the context of ancient Judaism, to modern debates on religion.


LEM is a CNRS mixed teaching and research center (UMR 8584). It is part of the Paris-Sciences-et-Lettres Research University (PSL) and is associated with the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE), Sorbonne University, and the University of Saint Etienne. The UMR status is a mark of international recognition. Reassessed every four years, this label makes it possible to hire CNRS personnel (researchers, engineers, technicians, administrative staff), and have access to the institution’s funds and international cooperation tools.

 LEM is part of scientifically recognized institutions

LEM is at the heart of the Centre of Excellence in Research on “History and anthropology of knowledge, Technologies and Beliefs” (LabEx Hastec).




Le LEM is part of the Campus Condorcet project, with a focus on the history of scholarship and religious studies.



Via the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), LEM is part is part of the Paris-Sciences-et-Lettres Research University (PSL)/ Université Paris Sciences Lettres (PSL), Université Paris Sciences Lettres (PSL), which includes eleven schools and institutes : the Collège de France, the Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique, Dauphine, the École nationale des chartes, the École nationale supérieure de Chimie de Paris, the École nationale supérieure des Mines de Paris, the École normale supérieure, the École Pratique des Hautes Études, ESPCI Paris, the Curie Institute, and the Observatoire de Paris. It and receives support from three research institutions : CNRS, Inria, Inserm.

- LEM is also part of several organizations of scientific interest (Groupements d’intérêt scientifique, or GIS).

The GIS on the Middle East and the Muslim World (« Moyen-Orient et Mondes musulmans ») focuses in particular on the Middle East and the Maghreb. Its objective is to bring together all French research teams working on this theme, regardless of their affiliation or discipline.


The GIS Religions. Practices, Texts, Powers which aims to create a network that associates disciplines and research centers to allow better collaboration and exchange. The second and complementary objective of the group is to promote French research on religion on a national and international scale.



How was LEM created ?

 In 1970, Henry Corbin, Paul Vignaux and Georges Vajda founded the Centre d’études des religions du Livre (Center for the study of the the “religions of the book”) which would later become LEM. Since September 2019, LEm is located in Aubervilliers on the site of the Campus Condorcet.

 In 1995, the « Nouvelle Gallia Judaica  » research unit, focusing on the history and prosopography of Jews in France, joins LEM.

 In 2002, the Institut d’études augustiniennes (Institute for Augustinian studies), associated by Sorbonne University, joins LEM.

 In 2007, a research unit from the University of Saint-Étienne, the European Center for Research on Communities, Congregations and Religious Orders (Centre européen de recherche sur les communautés, congrégations et ordres religieux - CERCOR), joins LEM.

The Laboratoire d’Études sur les Monothéismes in Numbers

55 researchers and professors/lecturers
88 members and associate researchers
90 PhD students, of which 50 % are international


5 journals internationally recognized in their field are based at LEM : Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge, Apocrypha, Revue d’études augustiniennes et patristiques, Recherches augustiniennes et patristiques and the Revue Mabillon
Several conferences , scientific workshops, round tables discussions with internationally scholars are organized every year.


LEM is organized according to research theme and not according to areas of study, namely

 Cluster 1, "Sacred Books : Canons and Heterodoxies", focuses on the history and philology of Sacred Scriptures such the Bible (Hebrew and Christian) and the Qur’an.

> To know more about the Cluster "Sacred Books: Canons and Heterodoxies"

 Cluster 2, "Bible Exegesis, Religious Literature and History from Antiquity to Modern Times", focuses on the writings of the Church Fathers and biblical exegesis in the Wester context until the Middle-Ages. The Institut d’études augustiniennes (Institute of Augustinian studies) is part of this cluster.

> To know more about the Cluster "Bible Exegesis"

 Cluster 3, « Ancient, Medieval and Modern Philosophies and Theologies » ”, focuses on the philosophical and doctrinal contents of the fundamental texts of the Western history of ideas, including theological debates.

> To know more about the Cluster "Philosophies and theologies"

 Cluster 4, "Religious Institutions and doctrines (medieval and modern Europe and Mediterranean)", aims to study the history of religious doctrines along with the history of the communities in which they were received and circulated, from the middle ages to the modern era. The " Nouvelle Gallia Judaica " and the CERCOR oresearch units are both part of this cluster.

> To know more about the Cluster "Religious Institutions and Doctrines"




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