Civic Catechisms and Reason in the French Revolution by Adrian Velicu

By Adrian Velicu

On the middle of the French Revolution there lay a basic paradox: tips to unencumber the minds of the folks when concurrently making sure their loyalty to the recent regime. it truly is an exploration of the evidence and implications of this rigidity that types the foundation of this learn, which reconstructs the highbrow global of the Revolution. the hot radical regime attacked the previous institutionalized sorts of Catholic worship and its different types of guide, but retained the catechetical outlook with its dogmatic frame of mind as a huge function of political schooling. Catechisms not just conveyed info in an available demeanour, in addition they published the highbrow traits of the orator. Civic catechisms shaped an immense a part of innovative guide; they have been the one class of texts time and again pointed out within the nationwide meeting and in quite a few items of laws, together with schooling money owed, and there have been demands a 'national catechism'. The prestige and kind of the catechisms replaced during the Revolution, and this examine additionally investigates the measure of continuity of goal around the interval, in addition to the catechisms' position along different texts equivalent to speeches and accounts. a massive contribution to the literature at the highbrow background of the French Revolution, this e-book can also be of curiosity to students of rhetoric, schooling and the highbrow background of the eighteenth century, in addition to to progressive experiences in most cases.

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56. For this and the subsequent remarks see ‘Catéchisme’ in Dictionnaire de l’Ancien Régime: Royaume de France XVIe-XVIIIe siècle. Ed. Lucien Bély (Paris, 1996). 24 There was a tension between the tone of controversy, required by circumstances or preserved by imitators, and the educational purpose. Instruction of untutored adults and children presupposed simplicity and clarity. Controversy often entailed rather complex doctrinal matters. Nevertheless, the dialogue form in which Calvin and Auger’s texts were cast is considered the decisive element in the development of the genre, constituting a clear break with the tradition of the early church.

66. , Introducing the Catechism, p. 67. , Introducing the Catechism, p. 70. , 1763), pp. 18, 130. , Introducing the Catechism, p. 102. ), The Enlightenment and Modernity (Houndmills: 2000), p. 39. 50 Johann Lorenz von Mosheim, Kurze Anweisung, die Gottesgelahrtheit vernüftig zu erlernen, in akademischen Vorlesungen vorgetragen (Helmstädt, 1763), pp. 75, 194. 43 44 Catechisms: A Retrospective 33 Christian ones. The authors of secular catechisms preserved the meaning of basic teachings, yet some introduced a critical, indeed a provocative note, as Voltaire did in his Catéchisme de l’honnête-homme (1765) when he included this text in a collection with the general title L’Évangile de la raison.

Rousseau, Emile, p. ) Sophie (‘ou la femme’) should not undergo this sort of pedagogical drill either: ‘Elles [les jeunes filles] ne doivent jamais répondre que ce qu’elles pensent et non ce qu’on leur a dicté. Toutes les réponses du cathechisme sont à contresens, c’est l’écolier qui instruit le maitre; elles sont même des mensonges dans la bouche des enfans, puisqu’ils expliquent ce qu’ils n’entendent point, et qu’ils affirment ce qu’ils sont hors d’état de croire’. (Rousseau, Emile, p. 2, pp.

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