Established in 1969 by Jean PEPIN, the Jean Pépin Center has long been, in the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the Research Unit (UPR 76) specializing in the study of Late Antiquity doctrines, Neoplatonism in particular. In 1993, the creation of an index of scholarly works in classical studies entitled L’Année philologique helmed by Pierre-Paul Corsetti led to the launching of the scientific information mission which, since then, the research group has continued to expand steadily.

In 1997, partnering with the Monotheistic Religions Research Center (LEM), the Medieval Studies Center of Paris (LAMOP), and the History of Arab and Medieval Science and Philosophy Center (CHSPAM), UPR 76 established the Textual Traditions Institute (CNRS Research Federation 33), active up to 2013.

When the Research Group on Theories and History of Esthetics, Technology, and Art (THETA) headed by Pierre Caye and Serge Trottein and the Arab Philosophy Research Group headed by Maroun Aouad joined the Jean Pépin Center in 2004 and 2006, respectively, its field of research expanded to encompass not only how ancient doctrines evolved but also how they were transmitted and received up to the eighteenth century. From 2008 to 2015, together with the University of Chicago, the University of Bologna, the University of Pisa, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and the Paris Observatory, the Center founded the International Research Group (GDRI) on Art Theories and Treatises from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment (STAR). In 2012, UPR 76 joined the Center of Excellence for the History and Anthropology of Knowledge, Technologies, and Beliefs (LabEx HASTEC). From 2014 to 2019, the Jean Pépin Center, partnering with Istanbul’s Yildiz University, founded the International Joint Research Center (LIA) on Arab Philosophy in the Ottoman Empire.

In 2015, the Center became a joint research unit (UMR 8230), attached to the departments of Philosophy and Ancient Science of the graduate university École normale supérieure (ENS) in Paris, in the framework of the advanced studies institute Paris Sciences & Lettres (PSL). From 2015 to 2019, the Jean Pépin Center coordinated the Scientific Interest Grouping (GIS) entitled Humanities. From 2017 to 2021, it was the research center in charge of the Key Research Sector (DIM) on Arab and Syriac Philosophy Manuscript Heritage in Île-de-France and elsewhere (PhASIF) with support from the Île-de-France region. In 2019, the Jean Pépin Center joined the PSL’s Graduate School of Advanced Research (EUR) Translitteræ.

Photo Jean Pépin

Jean Pépin (born March 30, 1924–deceased September 10, 2005) was a historian of ancient philosophy, specializing in patristic literature. His work exerted considerable influence on the study of Neoplatonism and Christianity.


From 1942 to 1948, he studied philosophy and theology in Toulouse. In 1950, he joined the CNRS, where he established, in 1969, the research team entitled “The History of Doctrines of Late Antiquity and the High Middle Ages” (Internal Research Unit 76) which he headed until 1986. Alongside this, beginning in 1963, he taught at the advanced studies university École pratique des hautes études (EPHE) (fourth section: historical and philological sciences). In 1979, he created the series “History of the Doctrines of Classical Antiquity” for the publisher J. Vrin in Paris. Throughout his career, on several occasions, he participated actively in the activities of the CNRS Philosophy Commission, which he also chaired.

In 1992, at the instigation of M. O. Goulet-Cazé, G. Madec and D. O'Brien, a volume of Mélanges in his honor, entitled Chercheurs de sagesse, was published in the "Études Augustiniennes" collection. It contains his complete bibliography up to 1992.


-Mythe et allégorie, Paris, Éditions Aubier-Montaigne, 1958.

-Les Deux approches du christianisme, Paris, Éditions de Minuit, 1961.

-Théologie cosmique et théologie chrétienne, Paris, PUF, « Bibliothèque de philosophie contemporaine », 1964.

-Dante et la tradition de l'allégorie, Montréal, Institut d'études médiévales-Paris, Librairie philosophique J. Vrin, 1970.

-Idées grecques sur l'homme et sur Dieu, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1971.

-Saint Augustin et la dialectique, Paris, Villanova (Pa.), Villanova University Press, 1976.

-Études sur les lectures philosophiques de saint Augustin, Amsterdam, A.M. Hakkert, 1977.

-De la philosophie ancienne à la théologie patristique, London, Variorum reprints, 1986.

-(dir.), Proclus lecteur et interprète des anciens, Paris, Éditions du CNRS, 1987.

-La Tradition de l’allégorie de Philon d'Alexandrie à Dante, Paris, Études augustiniennes, 1987.

Skip to content