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The crystallization of counter-enlightenment and philosophe identities: theological controversy and catholic enlightenment in pre-revolutionary France.

RECENT works of modern French history have found it fashionable, when focusing on the eighteenth century from across the jagged shoals of nineteenth- and twentieth-century France, to reductively treat Francophone national identity as the dialogical interaction of two related "imagined communities." (1) On the one hand, as scholars such as Joseph Byrnes have unconvincingly argued, French national identity after the Enlightenment and Revolutionary eras has been shaped by the more secular "Cult of the Nation," (2) nourished by the Revolutionary ethos of liberte, egalite, and fraternite; on the other hand, there is the identity of France as Europe's first, most Catholic people. (3) Such stark contrasts between opposing identities, which were in fact self-consciously nourished and cultivated by nineteenth-century writers, are overdrawn, and yet the increasingly dialogical character of French national identity in the centuries after the Revolution remains relevant to the subject of eighteenth-century historiography, for the definition of French national identity or identities is intricately intertwined with the unfolding of Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment identities that arose in various nuanced forms from the intellectual and religious history of France. Recently, provocative and timely work by Jonathan Israel, Dale Van Kley, and Darrin McMahon has taken up different aspects of these broader questions concerning why and when these competing visions may have sprung from the soil of eighteenth-century France. A remaining historiographical curiosity lingers as many historians of the French Revolution are quick to ascribe this dichotomy chiefly to the years after 1791 when the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and the Oath of Allegiance made allegiance to the Revolutionary government more complicated for less Gallican, more ultramontane priests. On the other hand, historians of the French Enlightenment continue to focus on the inherently secular, scientific, and anticlerical nature of the siecle de lumieres as though the Church were inevitably opposed to Enlightenment innovations after mid-century, preferring and harshly defending (as Jonathan Israel has recently and voluminously argued) a comfortable and cautious acceptance of Lockeanism and Newtonianism as the only forms of Enlightenment discourse considered acceptable and capable of synthesis with Catholic orthodoxy. (4) Differing historical perspectives on the relationship between the Enlightenment and religion remain central to the identity of participants in the French Enlightenment at various points throughout the eighteenth century and after, and such questions continue to inform the definition of what it means to be "French" today. As such, the historical processes of Enlightenment identity formation continue to require examination; such processes--one of many lietmotifs within the complex and invaluable conversations opened by the works of Israel, McMahon, and Van Kley--will be the subject of this article. For scholars remain far from a consensus on just what it meant to be Catholic and Enlightened together in the century preceding the French Revolution.


Continuing self-consciously in the tradition of Peter Gay, Jonathan Israel's most recent tome, Enlightenment Contested, analyzes the Enlightenment from a broader European and Atlantic World perspective, seeing within it a fundamental duality between the so-called "Moderate Mainstream" and the "Radical Enlightenment." Israel's work (which is actually more nuanced than his self-proclaimed dichotomies would suggest) enthusiastically proclaims the essentially conservative nature of the moderate Enlightenment, which he sees as essentially dualistic and willing to countenance an epistemological role for both reason and tradition, empiricism and rationalism, natural religion and revealed religion. Under the rubric of the "moderate mainstream," Israel casts a wide and often highly questionable net across the Continent and the Atlantic World, insisting that "Cartesian dualism, Lockean empiricism, Leibnizian monads, Malebranche's occasionalism, Bishop Huet's fideism, the London Boyle Lectures, Newtonian physico-theology, Thomasian eclecticism, German and Swedish Wolffianism" were "all methodologies of compromise" fundamentally at odds with the "Radical Enlightenment," which Israel sees as fundamentally Spinozist and the harbinger of modernity. (5) The Radical Enlightenment, Israel contends, had no truck with revelation or philosophical dualism because of its essentially revolutionary, essentially anticlerical faith that philosophy was socially transformative because of Baruch Spinoza's idea that natural law, God's law, natural reason, and the universe itself were of one substance. This Radical Enlightenment, Israel then asserts, became dominant in France during the 1740s because the moderate mainstream "simply proved unable clearly and cogently to win the intellectual battle" in successive controversies spanning the decades of the 1730s-1760s in France. (6) However, though Israel's work is brilliant and destined to be a standard work of eighteenth-century intellectual historiography, his methodology does not adequately account for the dialogical evolution of Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment in France, and it is imbued with overconfidence in the inevitable modernity embodied by the victorious Radical Enlightenment. As this article demonstrates (in some respects elaborating on a much lengthier book-length manuscript on the topic that I am currently finalizing) (7), the victory of Radical Enlightenment in France was not inevitable, but had much to do with the philosophical and institutional peculiarities of the manner in which Enlightenment thought was adopted by Catholic theologians in France. Though often hostile to Spinoza, philosophically inclined apologists, university theologians, and Jesuits, whom Israel might brand as moderate or even Counter-Enlightenment figures, were not exclusively Lockean and Newtonian in their natural philosophy but often Lockean and Malebranchian in their psychological and theological approaches as well. Many writers who would later be retrospectively branded as "radical," "Spinozist," or "Counter-Enlightenment" by their critics were in their own day passionately convinced that the body of revelation was, in toto, empirically verifiable--whether their arguments seem convincing to present-day historians or later critics is not precisely the point, if we are to avoid a whiggish interpretation of the French Enlightenment.

In short, the philosophical, theological, and sociocultural permeability of the first half of the eighteenth century makes it difficult to distinguish Radical Enlightenment from Moderate Enlightenment from Counter-Enlightenment until the 1750s. The questions, then, that my work addresses are the often uniquely French contingencies of the 1750s by which both Counter-Enlightenment and philosophe identity formation occurred. Israel does recognize that the Counter-Enlightenment often unintentionally played directly into the hands of the most radical writers, but he insists that this has much to do with their "faith-based hostility to philosophy"; (8) on the contrary, it is here argued that the Counter-Enlightenment was often a child of the very same moderate center, but an offspring beset by an identity crisis of its own creation. Passionately fearful of unbelief after the 1750s especially, and endlessly divided against themselves, Counter-Enlightenment partisans and apologists often argued for the social utility and rationality of church history and mystery while retrospectively condemning the epistemological bases for such arguments vested in the theological enlightenment of the early eighteenth century that had rhetorically synthesized certain Lockean and Cartesian principles.

Israel's work reminds us that advancing toward a more nuanced consensus that is attuned to the plurality of religious and secular Enlightenment discourses in France, and indeed Europe as a whole, necessitates a willingness to eschew reification. For example, though anticlericalism was a salient common denominator of the Enlightenment, and all Enlightenment writers were attuned to the voice of nature and deeply suspicious of the tendency for corrupt priesthoods to usurp and falsify God's voice in sectarian religions, not all Enlightenment writers throughout the eighteenth century believed that the voice of God was synonymous with the voice of nature. My own research into the intersection of religion and Enlightenment in France reveals the existence (pre-1750s) of a plurality of Enlightenments, often bisecting national boundaries or scholarly categories like "Radical," "Moderate," or "Counter-Enlightenment." Some were more or less deistic, most were anticlerical in some sense, but most were also not intrinsically anti-Christian (anticlericalism does not equal anti-Christian--if it did, Erasmus and nearly every European writer as early as the Renaissance would have to be considered anti-Christian). Some Enlightenment discourses were more materialistic, while others wanted a purification of revealed religion more susceptible to natural science and reason, and not precisely the metaphysical abolition of revelation entirely. In short, legitimate and creatively enervating differences of scholarly opinion prevail on these matters, and rushing to define Enlightenment as inherently anticlerical, inherently modern, primarily deistic, or materialistic, and therefore anti-Catholic, is merely another form of reification in defiance of the fluid and nuanced discourses of early eighteenth-century France revealed in the sources themselves.

No less reductionist is the redefinition of Enlightenment as a variety of eighteenth-century courtly styles and institutions, (9) whose revolutionary impact is linked solely with changes to reading taste, histories of the book, and broadening networks of sociocultural exchange. (10) The Enlightenment may have been all of these things, but a holistic historiography of Enlightenment demands greater attention to the generation of new content in the fault lines created by the collision of culture, appropriation, and religio-political contingencies. This "controversialist approach," (11) as Jonathan Israel productively defines it, is adapted as the methodological fulcrum of this article, which focuses anew on the factional politics afflicting France from 1751-1764, and especially on the condemnations of De l'Esprit by Claude Adrien Helvetius, and of Denis Diderot's Encyclopedie. In using Israel's controversialist approach to intellectual history, I argue two related points that differ somewhat from his own conclusions: first, that the fundamentally secular, self-conscious Enlightenment identity was calcified (if not precisely created) by its opposition within the Catholic Church in France; second, that this more coherent, equally self-conscious religious opposition to Enlightenment was relatively new (a creation of the 1750s predominately). When these self-conscious anti-Enlightenment tendencies arose, they were generated by the mutual antagonism of contending factions within the Church itself (Jansenist versus Jesuit), with all sides eager to blame one another for the radicalization of the Enlightenment. The factions within the Gallican Church of the eighteenth century defined themselves by philosophical differences as well as by the more frequently studied differences of ecclesiology and moral theology, with Jansenists favoring Cartesian epistemology, and Jesuits often favoring a kind of epistemological sensationalism deriving from both John Locke and Nicolas Malebranche. As such, at least among many Jesuits, bishops, and Sorbonne professors, there was little inherently clerical opposition to Locke, Newton, or other lesser Enlightenment figures, as Israel notes as well. However, unlike Israel, this article demonstrates that the manner in which Locke's sensationalism, and Malebranche's occasionalism (defined subsequently), was employed by many professors, Jesuits, and apologists of the eighteenth century was fluid, adaptive, and not doomed to philosophical contradiction when confronted with the increasingly vitalistic, often Spinozan, discourses of the Radical Enlightenment. Contingent factors, instead, indirectly contributed to the mainstreaming of the Radical Enlightenment in France during the 1750s, for philosophical confrontations with the more assertively Cartesian Jansenists, whose popularity grew precipitously in the 1750s, and jurisdictional contests of secular versus sacral power of censorship, education, and sacrament administration all conspired to set the stage for the more polarizing identities of late eighteenth-century Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment France. Dale Van Kley has previously and extensively argued for the religious origins of the French Revolution; yet, it is no less essential to historicize the French Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment as twin movements arising from common origins, with the increasingly secular, increasingly radical French Enlightenment growing into a kind of religious movement of its own. Its defining moments and controversies, its persecutors and martyrs, and the historical genesis of its own evangelical sense of mission are the subject of this present article and my forthcoming book on the Jesuits, the Sorbonne, theology, and Enlightenment in France throughout the eighteenth century. (12)

By addressing the historical origins of the philosophe and Counter-Enlightenment identities, and seeking them largely in the 1750s, I do not seek to reify categories out of nuanced historical movements with a long history dating, in fact, to the late seventeenth century. I am certainly not suggesting that the church suddenly awoke after 1752-1758 and said, "Behold, we have a materialist, anti-Catholic Enlightenment on our hands!" When Jansenists, Jesuits, the episcopacy, and the Sorbonne swiftly armed itself against the Encyclopedie in the 1750s, it was in fact recording a phenomenon that already, to some essential degree, had gradually occurred during the preceding half-century. What distinguishes the 1750s as a definitive moment in the self-conscious identity formation of the philosophes is not the fact that this or that isolated writer (Voltaire for his Lettres angloises, or Montesquieu for his Lettres persanes for example) was condemned for seditious potential; it is, instead, that prior to mid-century so many disparate Enlightenment writers had yet to self-consciously embrace a common and very public "mission statement" or esprit des corps provided by the symbol of the persecuted Encyclopedie. Similarly, many readers and most clergy, Jansenist and Jesuit alike, did not recognize strategic or rhetorical unity and coherence before the 1750s, for the Sorbonne, the Jansenist Nouvelles ecclesiastiques, and increasingly numerous Instructions pastorales had yet to target the esprits-forts as a kind of sect with characteristic doctrines often abstracted and condemned in globo with long lists of works sometimes inaccurately thought by censors to be "materialistic, impious, atheistic" or "spinozist." As argued in what follows, the condemnation of Helvetius's De l'Esprit by the Sorbonne is one such "syllabus of errors" that did much to lend credence to the public perception of strategic coherence within esprit philosophe already nourished by Diderot in support of his much-persecuted Encyclopedie. Enlightenment writers, in other words, became conscious of themselves as being engaged in a historic drama wherein their work found secular apotheosis in a rejection of inherited sacral authority, and a devotion to the triune principles of utility, empiricism, and natural reason as the one true source of knowledge and values.

On the other hand, the galvanizing of a self-conscious, almost missionary ideology for the philosophes is fundamentally what distinguishes the self-conscious Enlightenment of the period after the late 1750s from its equally self-conscious ideological opposition--the Counter-Enlightenment, most masterfully addressed by Darrin McMahon's Enemies of the Enlightenment. (13) Indeed, before proceeding, several points of clarification are in order concerning the invaluable contribution already accomplished by McMahon. Though profoundly well-forged, and rapidly becoming a standard work on Counter-Enlightenment and Counter-Revolutionary ideology in France, McMahon's thesis leaves some room for revision. My intention is by no means to rewrite McMahon's thesis or criticize it as a whole. On the contrary, this article seeks only to augment and deepen the historical dialectic that gave rise to the Counter-Enlightenment itself. McMahon's work assumes that a "Counter-Enlightenment" response was inevitable throughout Europe, and that this response simply arose sooner in France, and had a continent-wide resonance due to the widespread currency of the French language in the eighteenth century and the highly developed networks of reading and circulation over which Francophone literature reigned supreme. While the cultural hegemony of France throughout much of the eighteenth century was certainly a vital factor, as McMahon's work brilliantly describes, the rise of a self-consciously anticlerical Enlightenment and its similarly self-conscious Counter-Enlightenment invites further study. (14) Along these lines, it is argued that distinctively French religious and cultural politics were necessary contingencies not present elsewhere in Europe. These contingencies drove the French Enlightenment in unique directions that were later internationalized and imposed on the rest of Europe as French religious and cultural divisions were exported by the French Revolutionary Wars. (15) Thus, while McMahon's work concerning itself chiefly with the period from 1776-1789 is truly masterful, I argue that the key decade in the development of anti-philosophe ideologies was much earlier. The decade of the 1750s, which climaxed with the condemnation of Helvetius's De l'Esprit and Diderot's Encyclopedie, was uniquely contentious for the history of French religion, and in fact the era after 1776 seems inexplicable without the polarization afforded by earlier events of the 1750s. Such a focus on earlier decades demonstrates that the Counter-Enlightenment was not, sui generis, somehow on the "Right" while the Enlightenment was somehow "Left." Rather, Counter-Enlightenment derives from manifold origins that defy these later sociopolitical categories that have more to do with French Revolutionary discourse anachronistically applied. The seemingly paradoxical notion, therefore, of Counter-Enlightenment as arising from Enlightenment discourses themselves is in part the subject of what follows. (16)

One final point of clarification is necessary in order to more precisely address what I mean by the "counter-enlightenment crystallization of the philosophes." This article does not argue that the whole of the Enlightenment was invented by its opposition after the 1750s, most simply because I do not take the Enlightenment in France or anywhere else in Europe to be synonymous with the philosophes. (17) As I have defined them in a way reminiscent of J. S. Spink, Franco Venturi, and the late Robert Shackleton, the philosophes are, properly speaking, luminaries of Robert Darnton's "High Enlightenment" who acquired their ideological identities as apostles of tolerance, reason, and social reform in the process of rallying around the persecuted Encyclopedie, gradually becoming mainstream within the institutions of the Old Regime state and public sphere. (18) As a creature of church persecution, which suddenly escalated after the mid-1740s, the philosophe identity was, in one sense, created by its opposition--a religious opposition that in turn crystallized into an increasingly potent (though never fully) monolithic Counter-Enlightenment ideology by the dawn of the Revolution. (19) Thus, it is here argued that the creation of self-conscious Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment ideologies is attributable to the 1750s, but my work speaks only of catalysts, seeking to address why this process seems to have occurred so rapidly in the 1740s. My work similarly speaks of a recursive historical agency that is, church factionalism and politics affecting the intellectual development of individual philosophes, who then coalesce around the Encyclopedic and, from the perspective of the Church anyway, seem to be "invented" as a party in that moment. Whether or not a few individual philosophes were conscious of a common project of humanity before the 1750s is not at issue, and it is nowhere denied. But, insofar as this article speaks of the Counter-Enlightenment creation of the philosophes, it does so only in the sense that esprit philosophe was not generally self-conscious, nor as oppositionally viewed by the French church that, at any rate, became relatively more philosophically inclined toward Counter-Enlightenment criticism after the 1750s.


Even if the mature, self-conscious philosophe was a creature of the immediate pre-Revolutionary decades in France, there did exist a considerably more permeable, not entirely self-conscious early Enlightenment milieu before the 1750s. This milieu, comprising a constellation of religious and political discourses by a variety of diverse writers, grew out of the neo-skeptical crisis of authority of the late seventeenth century. (20) Universities, salons, clubs, provincial academies, and Masonic lodges, common to lay and clergy alike, were the institutional strongholds of this republic of letters, as recent work suggests. (21) The style and tropes arising from these institutions nourished the early careers of Voltaire, Diderot, Jean le Rond d'Alembert and others, and their genesis was directly occasioned by debates surrounding the appropriation of Rene Descartes, Spinoza, Pierre Bayle, and Locke by bishops, university theologians, and the Jesuits. From this early "Theological Enlightenment" (as I have elsewhere dubbed the clerical and often highly Jesuit contributions to early Enlightenment discourses) emerges a midcentury breakdown in dialogue among the theologians and with lay discourses of Enlightenment. The catalyst for the increasingly self-conscious polarization of French Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment identities after the 1750s is, thus, the potent split within the French Theological Enlightenment itself--a development vital to the subject of what follows, and elsewhere developed at great length in my forthcoming book-length manuscript on the rise and fall of theological enlightenment in France. (22)

Though still a relative newcomer to the religious history of Enlightenment and Revolution in France, (23) much work on the so-called "Catholic Enlightenment" in France has fruitfully concerned the role of Gallicanism and Jansenism in limiting the power of the Catholic magisterium in favor of enhanced oversight of the church by secular authorities. This focus, embodied most lucidly and copiously in the ongoing research of Dale Van Kley especially, continues to be vitally important. Yet, the role of the Jesuits in the religious history of the Enlightenment (both philosophically and politically) requires further study after a long period of relative de-emphasis, for their contributions remain a vital part of the story this article seeks to tell. (24) Often, when the relationship of the Enlightenment to the Jesuits has been considered, the analyses turn on specific aspects of Jesuit Enlightenment--the Jesuits and their alleged Aristotelianism, Cartesianism, or Newtonianism in scientific education, for example. Some monographs isolate various contributions of the Jesuits to the Enlightenment. Locke's influence on the Jesuits has been studied by me and more comprehensively by Ross Hutchison. The Jesuits and their relationship to the Encyclopedie is another topic that has received attention. Most commonly studied are Jesuit contributions to political thought, or their relationship to the institutions of Bourbon France. Yet no coherent consensus has emerged on even such apparently indispensable issues as whether and to what extent the Jesuits were Aristotelians, Cartesians, or full-blown sensationalists in the tradition of John Locke. (25)

As early as the turn of the eighteenth century, however, French Jesuits such as Claude G. Buffier, S.J., who published the Journal de Trevoux, freely made use of the insights of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding in order to combat positions previously thought to be intellectual extremes that skeptics might use to attack the Catholic faith (namely extreme Cartesian and extreme Spinozan positions). (26) Descartes, widely revered by Jansenists until as late as 1760, (27) had inadvertently split the Aristotelian notion of "soul" (ame in French) into a separate, inherently cognitive, spiritual, and active substance totally distinct from the substance of matter. (28) Suddenly, therefore, the interaction between mind and matter became philosophically and theologically possible only by relying on a near fideistic trust in revelation and providence. Yet, even providence was harder to sustain against the materialist pantheism associated with the appropriation of Baruch Spinoza's Tractatus theologo-politicus in northwestern Europe (Pierre Bayle's Dictionnaire critique had ensured that Spinoza was already indirectly known in France by the early eighteenth century). Spinoza had taken Ockham's razor to Cartesian substantive dualism by arguing that natural law, divine providence, and reason were visually one and the same, because the universe and the deity itself were consubstantial and coextensive. In this way, Spinoza solved the dilemmas of Cartesian dualism by invoking the pantheistic view that human reason could fully apprehend the divine reason animating natural law. Spinoza had been excommunicated by the Amsterdam rabbis as early as 1656, and his works were later condemned by the Catholic Church because his monistic notion of substance suggested that the sacred texts of the Catholic Church, as well as Jewish rabbis and Muslim imams, were little more than matters of secular policy and statecraft--useful as ethical and legal instruction for the ignorant, but essentially redundant as special revelations that stood alongside the ethics revealed by natural law. (29)

One Jesuit response to both Spinoza and Descartes would eventually prove exceptionally prominent and enduring throughout the eighteenth century. This response, crafted in various forms, especially by Claude Buffier, S.J., and Rene-Joseph Tournemine, S.J., was to argue, following Nicholas Malebranche, that true agency and causality in the universe rested only in God. When an individual perceives, senses, wills, and undertakes an action, it is in fact God who directly causes the perception, volition, and movement of the physical universe. Yet, because divine providence acts with predictable regularly at the occasion of our subjectively perceived desires, thoughts, and actions, from the vantage point of natural reason, then, ideas can be said to arise from the senses, and the possibility of empirical analysis, from the divinely willed regularity of the laws of nature. (30) To this metaphysical occasionalism is rhetorically engrafted Locke's suggestion that all individuals have a "first idea"--a self-perception of the substantial difference between their spiritual, immortal, thinking soul on the one hand, and their physical self, on the other. This notion of the "first idea" is what Buffier and Tournemine use as their means of resurrecting the older scholastic notion of a common consent-based proof of God. Though the Thomistic argument for proof of God by common consent of humankind was impossible to seriously sustain by the end of the 1600s, adapting Locke to Aristotle made it possible, so Burlier argued, to deduce from a common-sense experience two key conclusions: first, that the spiritual mind and the material body were separate, and second, that matter behaved in accordance with general principles amenable to science.

Both Locke and Buffier thus insisted that experience is not knowledge of substances, as Aquinas had argued following Aristotle. Instead, perception remains a simple idea and, as such, Buffier writes that "the first source and principle of all truth of which we are susceptible is that intimate sentiment which ... is the inherent proof of our own existence." "Divine Revelation and human authority," Buffier continued, can "make no impression" on individuals except "by the testimony of the senses." (31) In other words, perception, first of one's existence as a being that thinks, then of the rest of the world by awareness of an experientially derived conclusion (that other beings share that same intimate self-awareness), is the dualistic foundation for Buffier's philosophy. Buffier thus updates the official Aristotelian orientation of the Scholastic Jesuits by rewriting the Cartesian first principle (cogito) into sensationalist language deriving from Locke. The whole of this epistemological synthesis therefore provides the Catholic Enlightenment with a substantial overhaul of Thomistic sensationism rephrased in Lockean as well as Cartesian terms--that is, that all ideas (even our ideas of God and the cogito, itself) derive from sense perception. Even without knowledge of essence, Buffier and other clerical intellectuals could continue to believe as had Albert the Great, following Aristotle, that nothing is in the intellect that does not first come through the senses. As such, even as the Jesuits continued to openly espouse Neo-scholastic Aristotelianism, they were in effect revising St. Thomas with a healthy and rather comfortably synthesized discourse, integrating both Locke and and Malebranchian forms of Cartesianism.

Thanks to Jesuit epistemological innovation, church doctrine could be empirically granted the status of a special revelation because the historical authenticity of its sacred texts and their corroboration by other ancient sources and a living tradition manifested by the church itself could be validated based on essentially Lockean proofs of historical certitude (so Buffier and later Enlightenment apologists would argue). Following the first generation of Jesuit editors of the Journal de Trevoux, then--a generation that included both Tournemine and Buffier--Jesuits continued to invoke Locke just as regularly as many other early eighteenth-century writers had done. (32) Contrary to existing work on the Jesuits, however, this was not mere fideism. Buffier had developed experiential a posteriori proofs of his seemingly trans-rational linkage of Malebranche and Locke. For, in an effort to refute Spinoza, Buffier and other Jesuits had argued that perceptions are always holistic, and ideas of matter (basic perceptions) reveal that matter is divisible. How then, they asked, could divisible matter be perceived by equally divisible matter? The essence of though--as the many bishops, theological writers, and apologists schooled in the Jesuit epistemological synthesis argued--had to be therefore something other than matter. (33)

In the above manifold ways, Jesuits of the early eighteenth century had managed to create an extremely influential apologetical tool--a discourse of theological Enlightenment that I have elsewhere described as the "Jesuit Synthesis." (34) This Jesuit Synthesis was, in effect, a theological discourse comprising the rudiments of occasionalism and sensationalism. In large measure because of Buffier, the emphasis of theological argumentation in general shifted toward the following questions: to what extent was the New Testament a reliable historical account? To what extent had the New Testament been faithfully transmitted by the Church? This notion of "Theological Enlightenment" was not the only variety of clerical response to the Enlightenment, nor is it the sum total of Catholic Enlightenment in France. Moreover, that the pioneers of this Jesuit synthesis were Jesuits should not be taken to imply that all Jesuits used it; nor does it imply that only Jesuits used this synthesis of occasionalism and sensationalism. For the Jesuits and other eighteenth-century French writers who fashioned and refashioned these discourses through debate did not always identify themselves as Lockean or Malebranchian (although the pioneers of the Jesuit synthesis, Buffier and Tournemine, frequently attributed aspects of their work to Locke and Malebranche by name). Later Jesuits adopted Malebranchian or Lockean arguments as the rhetorical occasion demanded. Self-consciously or not, they frequently did so in order to update Aristotle who, as Kors, Northeast, and many other scholars have long noted, had been dealt a damaging blow by Cartesianism. The Jesuit Synthesis, as originally conceived by the Jesuits themselves, can then be considered an update of their prevailing Aristotelianism in order to meet the demands of Cartesian, Gassendo-Lockian, and Spinozistic extremes--another point I develop at great length in Rise and Fall of Theological Enlightenment. Even if Buffier was somewhat atypical among Jesuits in his day, and even if the official position of the Jesuits would remain Neo-Scholastic Aristotelianism throughout the eighteenth century, the Jesuit Synthesis itself was widely disseminated and came to have scientific and apologetical uses that transcended the confines of early eighteenth-century Jesuit theology--indeed, the Jesuit Synthesis transcended the Jesuit order itself by mid-century.

If the Jesuit synthesis had a geographical locus, it was the Jesuit college Louis-le-Grand in Paris, where the tremendously widespread Memoires de Trevoux was produced, and whence individual Jesuits like Buffier and Tournemine cut a striking presence in the republic of letters of the first thirty years of the eighteenth century. The Jesuit synthesis was successfully disseminated into the salons, academies, schools, and seminaries of the Old Regime, becoming in this way a foundational aspect of Enlightenment theology. This reorientation of theological arguments was manifestly apologetical and focused directly on the codification of doctrine in dialogue with skeptics of the bases of Christian tradition. In this way, many educated clergy of the mid-eighteenth century believed that if the Catholic revelation passed the common-sense tests of historical certitude, amenable to everyone's interior sense of what their perceptions demonstrated, then Catholic revelation could be called true (that is, reasonable if not exactly rational) according to Locke's own rendition of historical certitude. The Jesuit synthesis of Malebranche and Locke therefore galvanized the early Enlightenment--both lay and clerical alike--but it was to be gradually rejected by the radical Enlightenment after the 1750s.

By the 1740s, in response to an escalation in the publication of previously clandestine texts with vaguely or openly materialist positions, vernacular apologists for Catholicism in France (Jesuit and non-Jesuit alike) continued to use sensationalism in their arguments against materialism. (35) For writers such as the abbe d'Houtteville, apologetical utility became the chief, functional criteria for defenses of the Church against the rising tide of Radical Enlightenment in France. Throughout the four-volume edition of Houtteville's La Religion chretienne prouvee par les faits (1744), the history of the early church was rewritten to reflect this new emphasis on pragmatic theological arguments. Hitherto controversial authors, like Pierre-Daniel Huet and even the Protestant Hugo Grotius, were treated favorably, while the apologetics more acceptable to Port Royal and Neo-Augustinian theologians like Blaise Pascal were criticized. (36) Arguments like those of Houtteville abounded during the 1740s, and the merit of any arguments for Christianity were often judged by their historical-empirical practicality. A proof was deemed apologetically useful by theologians only insofar as it mollified the apparent distinction between divine mysteries and reason by arguing for the historicity of the revealed tradition as a whole (as opposed to earlier apologetical preoccupations with speculative proofs of individual doctrines). These arguments based on historicity and "les faits" became so common during the period 1720-1745 that the abbe d'Houtteville himself thought of his work as "neither new nor curious." (37)

Theologians who looked favorably on these early eighteenth-century tendencies did not exist solely within the Jesuit Order. Nor were they to be found only among the ranks of the vernacular apologists of the 1730s-1740s.

Recent scholarship on the University of Paris suggests that Newtonian science, the rising science of physiology, along with Lockean philosophy, had many partisans within the arts faculty by the late 1740s. (38) The 1739 thesis of renowned Sorbonne theologian Luke Joseph Hooke addressed the nature and historicity of the evidence for the resurrection of Christ and passed without comment from the faculty (though it did not escape the opposition of the Parlement of Paris). Both Luke Joseph Hooke and his student, the controversial abbe Jean-Martin de Prades, figure prominently in my forthcoming work on theological enlightenment, which substantially revises existing treatments of both teacher and student. The role of Hooke as "Enlightenment theologian" has also been masterfully addressed in Thomas O'Connor's 1996 biography. (39) By 1743, Hooke was appointed royal professor of theology at the Sorbonne, and his theological course was widely revered among bishops, archbishops, and Sorbonne faculty alike during the 1740s for its willingness to adopt Enlightenment theology; it was seen often among Paris divines and lay writers alike to be a triumph of effective apologetics. (40) The University of Paris and many students who matriculated at the Sorbonne were also increasingly exposed to advances in natural philosophy. The first known university theses devoted entirely to experimental physics appeared in 1731 among the Jesuits of Louis-le-Grand (a date nearly contemporary with the popularization of Newtonian physics by Voltaire and the marquise du Chatelet in the academies and salons). (41) By 1740, the first class at the University of Paris with a focus on Newtonian experimental physics was taught by Pierre Sigorgne at the College du Plessis. (42) After taking his philosophy and theology degrees at the University of Paris, Sigorgne spoke out vehemently against the lingering reliance on Cartesian physics at the University. (43) Among the Jesuits was Louis-Bertrand Castel, who taught at Louis-le-Grand. Father Castel was a friend of Montesquieu and Diderot and an editor of the Journal de Trevoux and, though not entirely favorable to Newton's optics, was otherwise a great admirer of Isaac Newton. (44) As early as the 1730s, the medical faculty of Paris was also enthusiastic about new physiological understandings of the mind-body relationship coming out of both Italy and Britain. (45) Indeed, after the expulsion of the Jansenists and appellants from the Paris Faculty of Theology and the 1746 replacement of Fleury by Mirepoix as the font of ecclesiastical patronage, the Sorbonne was populated with numerous theologians who were not only pro-Jesuit but also relatively nonchalant about such works as Montesquieu's Esprit des Loix and Buffon's Histoire naturelle. (46)

This engagement with the epistemological and scientific innovation characteristic of the Jesuits contrasts sharply with the relatively conservative Augustinian approach to moral theology and the still intensely Cartesian orientation of most Jansenist philosophy. The curriculum of the seventeenth-century Jansenist stronghold of Port-Royal relied heavily on Descartes. From 1729 onward, as Jansenism was "purified by force of arms" from "the citadel and sanctuary" of the Paris faculty, however, the pro-Jansenist forces were compelled to regroup as they became theologically and philosophically marginalized in the aftermath of their forcible exclusion from the Sorbonne. (47) Yet while the Jansenists remained on the defensive throughout the period from 1729 to 1751, their ideological and organizational development during these years formed the basis, both of their resurgence during the refusal of the sacraments controversy, and their alliance with the Parlement of Paris throughout much of the period from 1751 to 1771. (48) In addition, the Jansenists' Cartesian orientation continued to develop--with increasingly polemical self-consciousness--in diametrical opposition to the increasingly sophisticated use of Locke as a counterweight to Descartes by ultramontane writers preferring the Jesuit synthesis. As late as 1761, Jansenist expositions of Christian doctrine such as that of Meseguy continued to be written and widely read, and Jansenist canonists associated with the Sorbonne like Claude Mey spoke out against the invidiously heterodox system of John Locke from an unapologetically Cartesian perspective that appears quite out of step with the prevailing sensationalism of the mid- 1750s. (49) Claude Mey's Remarques sur une these soutenue le samedi 30 octobre 1751 par M. l'abbe de Brienne was, in fact, a poignant thirty-page indictment of one of the Sorbonne's most favored and prominent students, Lomenie de Brienne. By implication, it indicted the entire Sorbonne for capitulating to the "dangerous" system of John Locke:
 One cannot but be alarmed by the favor this system has enjoyed for
 some years even in the schools of the University ... Locke was the
 first who, in the last century, revived the honors accorded to the
 sentiment of Aristotle concerning the origin of ideas--that Nihil
 est in intellectu, quod non prifis fuerit in sensu. (50) ... Yet
 how many, how apparent, and how fatal are the consequences of this
 notion? ... If one cannot be assured that the mind/soul is
 spiritual, could one sustain that it is essentially any different
 from matter extended in space? Locke says no. (51)

Mey's anti-Lockean jeremiad was later praised to the stars and partially reprinted by the Nouvelles ecclesiastiques, and as early as 1752, Duport d'Auville, Superior of Philosophy at Saint Sulpice and one of the remaining crypto-Jansenists within the Sorbonne, was purported to have pulled a quarto translation of Locke from his pocket during an extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly of the Sorbonne faculty; holding the book aloft, he pronounced judgment on its author by proclaiming, "Behold, the atheist ... it is sufficiently well known that if there are no innate ideas, there is no Christian religion." (52)

It might, in effect, be argued (as Van Kley has suggested) that the transplantation of Lockean discourses into the heavily Cartesian Gallican tradition represented by the Jansenists made the increasingly prominent penchant for philosophical materialism characteristic of the late French Enlightenment after 1770 almost inevitable. (53) If the sensate origin of thought is conceded, the Cartesian-Malebranchian tradition that separates spirit and matter, mind and body into separate substances cannot adapt. Either mind must be matter miraculously endowed with a property of thought as Gassendi and Locke suggested, and Voltaire argued; or, divine providence must be retained as a causal Deus ex machina for all natural law, movement, and human free will. However, this argument from philosophical inevitability assumes that the Jesuits really were 100 percent faithful Aristotelian peripatetics who had learned nothing from either Descartes or Locke. Yet, the Jesuit synthesis of sensationalism and occasionalism had provided a kind of provisional middle ground that gave way under the weight of factional church politics. The relative Cartesianism of the Jansenists juxtaposed to the relative sensationalism of the Jesuits certainly made political and ideological polarization more likely. But sociopolitical contingencies of the 1750s were necessary to actuate this latent inclination for polarity. To these contingent catalysts we now turn.


The broad dissemination of the Jesuit theological enlightenment throughout the lay and clerical public sphere notwithstanding, the theological synthesis of Lockean and Malebranchian epistemologies crafted by the Jesuits was ultimately victimized by polarization and theological polemics within the Gallican Church. As the Jansenists grew more vocal and openly favorable to a limited monarchy that respected the secular protection of the Gallican traditions of the French church, the Jesuits increasingly attacked them with heightened verve under Archbishop Beaumont and the pro-Jesuit confessor to the Dauphin, Bishop Mirepoix. (54) In essence, pro-Jesuit, pro-Unigenitus prelates close to the court and dominant within the Sorbonne through the mid-1750s accused the Parlement of Paris--which had become highly favorable to the Jansenist cause by the dawn of the 1750--of using the secular arm of justice to interfere with sacral jurisdiction over the sacraments and the enforcement of papal decrees. All the while, the Jansenist element within the Parlement did not trust the sincerity of the pro-Jesuit, sensationalist, and pro-Bull Sorbonne in their use of clerical censorship. In sum, religious conflict within the Gallican Church over the theological use of Enlightenment thought, over moral theology (Molinism (55) versus Augustinianism), and over the relationship between sacred and secular power left the French Catholic Enlightenment hampered by undeclared religious conflict, and constantly shifting institutional bases. With the politically innovative, pro-Jansenist Catholic Enlightenment squaring off against Jesuits who also (somewhat ironically) had within their ranks the vanguard of Catholic Enlightenment science and epistemology, the French Theological Enlightenment was a house divided. The attendant crossfire undermined the middle ground created by the Jesuit synthesis of Locke and Malebranche--a synthesis that remained quite favorable to Lockean sensationalism and made the Jesuits themselves appear theologically heterodox by the latter years of the 1750s. In order to maintain the upper hand against their accusers (the Cartesian Jansenists vested in the Parlement of Paris), and in order to avoid the loss of their ensconced influence over the court (achieved after the 1729 victory over appellants of the Bull Unigenitus), the Sorbonne, and the episcopacy, the Jesuits and their pro-Unigenitus allies among the bishops went on the offensive against both Jansenists and encyclopedistes, with the latter becoming thereby more outspokenly anti-clerical as they cohered into a kind of parti philosophique by the late 1750s-1760s.

But first, in order for the sociopolitical contingencies of the 1750s afflicting the Gallican Church to be most fully apprehended, a short diversion into the history of the doctrinal and institutional divisions of the French Church during the previous century is needed. In the middle of the seventeenth century, Jansenists in France had combined an Augustinian pessimism about the corruption wrought by original sin on the soul of individual believers with a conciliarist ecclesiology hearkening back to the fifteenth century and disavowed sharply by the papacy after the Council of Trent. Yet, French Jansenism supported the notion that the whole Church, vested in general councils, was entitled to pronounce doctrine along with (and in extraordinary cases, in spite of) papal bulls and proclamations. These notions found fertile ground in France because of the Gallican heritage of French Catholicism initially reconfirmed by Louis XIV in the Gallican Liberties of 1682. By the 1690s, however, the papacy alongside Louis XIV as well had both grown alarmed by the neo-conciliarist, and perhaps even crypto-Calvinist, tendencies of the Jansenist movement in France. Anxious to preserve papal support for his bid to assert himself in Europe as Most Christian King (and perhaps even acquire the mantle of Holy Roman Emperor) (56), Louis XIV actively engaged in undermining customary legal courts (such as the Parlement of Paris) and provincial estates capable of limiting his royal prerogatives. As such, when Clement XI reaffirmed earlier pronouncements against Jansenism by condemning (globally versus point-by-point refutation) some 101 propositions from a popular French devotional book by Pasquier Quesnel in the bull Unigenitus (1713), Louis XIV fully supported the papacy. In so doing, Louis and his successors bypassed the Gallican custom of consulting the bishops of France completely, allowing proper debate and registration of the papal proclamation only by the Parlement of Paris. Fearing the growth of papal and royal absolutism over the supposedly ancient and customary constitution of France, the newly assertive Parlement of Paris found an ally in the persecuted French Jansenists whose partisans within the Sorbonne formally (albeit quixotically) appealed Unigenitus to a general council in 1717. After years of haggling over the appeal, the young Louis XV's chief minister, Cardinal Fleury, then orchestrated the wholesale purge of appellants and Pro-Jansenist clerics from the Sorbonne and every choice benefice in the realm. Once accomplished by 1729, the Sorbonne and many French bishops in the period from ca. 1730-1750 were dominated by a faction of French clerics that may be conveniently be referred to as pro-Unigenitus and pro-Jesuit. By 1749, the Pro-Unigenitus partisans were not only dominant at court but had the support of the archbishop of Paris, Christophe de Beaumont. After Fleury's death, this pro-Jesuit element had even resorted to refusing last rights to anyone who had not pledged their conscience and their external obedience to Unigenitus, hitherto proclaimed a law of the state and doctrine of the church essentially by royal fiat. This refusal of sacraments controversy reached a crescendo in the early-to-middle 1750s, while on the other hand, the Jansenists, now ousted from the Sorbonne and marginalized among the episcopacy, resorted increasingly to mustering public opinion in their favor while garnering aid from the Parlement of Paris, which championed their cause in the hopes of limiting what they perceived as encroaching Bourbon absolutism. It must be distinctly understood that Jansenists nursed a grudge against the Sorbonne throughout the 1730s-1740s; they constantly relished every opportunity to reclaim the distinguished faculty from the supposedly illicit control of the Jesuits and pro-Unigenitus factions. (57)

Two serious and unforeseen events intervened to alter the balance of power between the pro-Jansenist and pro-Jesuit arms of French Catholicism; these events provided the catalyst for the scuttling of early theological enlightenment among Jesuits, vernacular apologists, and the Sorbonne. The first event was publication of volume 1 of the Encyclopedie by Denis Diderot, the maverick author of Pensees philosophiques (1746) whose growing popularity, fascination with new physiology, and abiding distaste for Old Regime Catholicism had recently drawn the ire of even the most liberally minded Jesuits like Father Berthier, editor of the Journal de Trevoux. As of 1751, the Jesuits were in fact more concerned by the religious implications and personnel of the Encyclopedie than the Sorbonne, and feared the kind of crypto-materialism and occasionally flippant rhetorical anticlericalism of Diderot that they perceived in his editorship. In addition, the Jesuits' own encyclopedic project, the Dictionnaire de Trevoux, stood in jeopardy of being outsold by Diderot's Encyclopedie--one might therefore accuse the Jesuits of a kind of jalousie de metier that had more to do with the eighteenth-century book trade than with strictly theological matters. (58) These many factors colored their judgment, and matters took an unexpected turn when one of the Sorbonne bachelors, the abbe Jean-Martin de Prades, then wrote a controversial thesis in which he was accused by Jansenists and a handful of more Augustinian Sorbonne faculty of plagiarizing Diderot, d'Alembert, and Voltaire for the three-fold purpose of using Lockean arguments to deny the intrinsic divinity of Jesus' miracles, to question the spirituality of the soul, and to deny the validity of revealed religion. The Jesuits, who saw their influence over the Sorbonne threatened by Prades's affiliation with Diderot as a contributor to the forthcoming second volume of the Encyclopedie, thought Prades's doctoral thesis a golden opportunity to stop the Encyclopedie project. (59)

On January 26, 1752, the Sorbonne caved to Jesuit pressure and the popular disgust stirred up by Jansenist writings (which possessed Cartesian leanings) and condemned Prades's thesis while also revoking his degrees. Not to be outdone, the Parlement of Paris issued arrets against the Encyclopedie, and a pris de corps against the abbe de Prades, who had already secured passage into Prussia. At this point, for the sake of clarity, it is important to stress the factionalizing tendencies that increasingly were to afflict the Gallican Church. Strong within the Sorbonne throughout the 1740s and 1750s were many theologians who were clients of either the archbishop of Paris or the king's Jesuit confessor and keeper of the feuille des benefices, Bishop Mirepoix. These Jesuit or Jesuit clients among the episcopacy who owed their careers to Beaumont and Mirepoix supported sacral jurisdiction over the administration of the sacraments and the unquestioned enforcement of the anti-Jansenist bull Unigenitus. Not all of these Jesuits and secular clergy were devots, however. As argued above, many of them affiliated with the Sorbonne and the Journal de Trevoux were favorable toward the Jesuit synthesis and, therefore, reservedly favorable to Locke, Newton, and much of what scholars now consider emblematic of Enlightenment science. Yet what united them was their shared concern with the Parlement of Paris. (60) Supported by its own Jansenist element, on the other hand, the Parlement's jurists now argued (with enhanced popularity in Paris itself) for greater oversight of the Sorbonne, censorship, and sacrament administration. Yet, the feud that was initially between Diderot as editor of the Encyclopedie and the Jesuits of the Journal de Trevoux became increasingly the cause of the Jansenists in Parlement by the mid-1750s as well, for the more liberal Jesuits and their partisans within the Sorbonne were influenced by the Jesuit synthesis and Molinism; they were accused by Jansenists of being partisans of "unbelief" alongside Diderot, Prades, and the Encyclopedie.

Thus, in order to protect themselves, Jesuits, the archbishop, Mirepoix, and the Sorbonne closed ranks in a campaign against the Encyclopedie on the one hand, and opponents of Unigenitus on the other, in the process alienating more liberally minded Jesuits and theological writers. For the sake of convenience, therefore, this article refers to this new, ideologically charged sociopolitical constellation as the pro-Bull devots to distinguish them from anti-Bull or pro-Jansenist partisans on the other. Though a comprehensive study of the devot movement in eighteenth-century France remains to be written, it may well be that a coherent ideology of the Counter-Enlightenment--the identity of the parti devot, itself--arose among both pro-Jansenist and pro-Jesuit interests during the 1750s. A common convergence between the two varieties of devot sentiment seems to have arisen from 1755-1765 as the earlier theological divide over Unigenitus receded in the aftermath of the Helvetius and Encyclopedie condemnations on the one hand, and the expulsion of the Jesuits, on the other. (61)


The Sorbonne reemerged from the condemnation of the abbe de Prades bitterly divided but with an ephemeral confidence on borrowed time. By condemning Prades, it narrowly managed to censure a thesis that was widely demonized by the more Cartesian Jansenists as a conspiracy of encyclopedistes bent on undermining Christianity in France. By the swift mobilization of their clients within the Sorbonne, both Archbishop Christophe de Beaumont and Mirepoix had rescued the Pro-Bull factions within the faculty from disgrace, and the Sorbonne, for its part, had yet to be further compromised by any further loss of its privileges to the Parlement of Paris. (62) The price for the Sorbonne, however, was that the Jesuit campaign against the Encyclopedie had become its own. The faculty as a whole would now have to appear more proactive in its pursuit of suspect writers in order to ward off the similar efforts of the Parlement of Paris, often steered by zealous Jansenist clergy anxious to discredit Mirepoix, Beaumont, and the Sorbonne for not taking the threat of radical writers seriously.

Thus, on February 12, 1752, the same day the Parlement of Paris issued its pris de corps for Prades, the Sorbonne made a public reaffirmation of its orthodoxy in the form of a commencement discourse pronounced by the abbe Lomenie de Brienne before the Sorbonne. This discourse was customarily given by a theological student who was particularly favored by the Faculty, and it generally featured a declamation against specific contemporary abuses and mores. Before an audience that included prominent dignitaries and, on this occasion, the archbishop of Paris, Brienne showed Paris that, instead of the Jansenists and the Parlement, it was instead the pro-Jesuit, pro-Unigenitus devots closest to Mirepoix and the archbishop, acting through the Sorbonne, who stood ready to combat illicit assaults on religion from suspect writers. This choice of Brienne was all the more significant because his thesis had also been flagged by Jansenist critics for containing a materialist epistemology. In short, Brienne had a personal, and the Sorbonne a collective, incentive to exonerate each other. (63) Brienne concluded with an "appeal to the papal nuncio who was present, to the bishops, and to the doctors of the Sorbonne, that they channel all of their powers toward the maintenance of the Christian religion in all its purity, at a time when its very foundations were under assault from impious and detestable principles found to be so widespread in the public." (64) These theatrics at the Sorbonne, however, were quickly upstaged by a Jansenist counter-reaction in the form of the originally anonymous brochure penned by a Jansenist close to the Parlement of Paris named Claude Mey. Mey's Observations sur la these soutenue par M. l'abbe de Brienne, discussed above, was a shrill attack on Brienne and the Sorbonne for adapting the "system of Locke" for apologetical and theological use. (65)

Brienne's address notwithstanding, Mey's pamphlet shows that the initiative in the fight against anti-religious philosophy was evading the Sorbonne. Initiative fell to the pro-Jansenist Parlement of Paris on the one hand, and to the pro-Unigenitus bishops on the other, as part of the wider conflict over secular versus clerical jurisdiction of the sacraments. The bishops rallied behind Beaumont's call for spiritual jurisdiction over the sacraments and pleaded with the king to defend them against the unruly Parlement, which sought, in its turn, to oppose clerical enforcement of the bull by denying last rites to those without billets de confessions that might certify their internal and external obedience to Unigenitus. (66) Because the Parlement feared the archbishop of Paris' position of strength among the bishops and in the Sorbonne after the Prades condemnation, it redoubled its efforts to control the Sorbonne's powers of censorship in the years after 1752. The moment for the Parlement of Paris came on October 25, 1752, when it condemned a theology thesis written by a Carmelite Seminarian of Lyons for having questioned the orthodoxy of the Gallican Propositions of 1682. When the Carmelites of Lyons issued a retraction, the Parlement of Paris insisted (January 26, 1753) that the retraction and the arret be incorporated into the faculty registers of all universities in the realm. When the Sorbonne refused compliance by insisting that the Parlement had no fight to interfere in the condemnation of theology theses, a representative of the procureur general marched into the Maison de la Sorbonne on March 15, 1753, to force the faculty to register the arrets. (67) After much delay and prevarication, the Sorbonne finally capitulated, signaling yet another victory of the Parlement's secular jurisdiction over the Sorbonne's traditional privileges of doctrinal oversight. (68) By the mid-1750s, as Thomas O'Connor writes, "Practically every thesis was being subjected to the scrutiny of the Parlement and its theological advisors," and the three additional faculty censor positions established in the aftermath of the Prades condemnation tended to side with more Augustinian or even crypto-Jansenist theses. (69)

This erosion of the Sorbonne's sacral jurisdiction after 1752 took place within the wider context of the escalating power of pro-Unigenitus devots and bishops backed by Jesuits. The ability of bishops and Jesuits to censor philosophical books and enforce Unigenitus in defiance of the royal privileges vested in the Parlement of Paris had alarmed Jansenists and encyclopedistes alike; for these two considerably different forces of opposition, the hardline, pro-Unigenitus element seemed "to harass kings and endanger magistrates" in an alarmingly high-handed fashion. (70) That pro-Unigenitus faction, however, also held within its ranks the majority of theologians and bishops most favorable to the new physiology and Lockean epistemology in the form of the Jesuit synthesis. The refusal of the sacraments controversies, the sparring between the Sorbonne and the Parlement over thesis censorship, and subsequent conflicts over episcopal immunities from 1749-1758 provided pro-Unigenitus factions close to Mirepoix, Beaumont, and the Jesuits with the opportunity to consolidate their influence at court and over the Sorbonne. Since February 1752, these same forces felt sufficiently secure at the court of Louis XV to railroad more sweeping practices of sacrament refusal through the kingdom in defiance of the Parlement. (71) Because the Sorbonne was still a bastion of support for pro-Unigenitus factions throughout 1752-1753, it became imperative for the Parlement to undermine its privileges further, thus challenging the sphere of influence over the Sorbonne that the court and the pro-Unigenitus episcopacy had so recently fortified. In the attendent crossfire, the Sorbonne's attempt to reclaim the initiative in the attack on incredulite by further reliance on Beaumont and the Jesuits collapsed in early 1753. By May 1755, the Parlement demanded that a series of decrees be placed in the faculty registers; these decrees were tantamount to a de facto capitulation of the Sorbonne's right to censor its own theses. Despite faculty protest, the Sorbonne was finally compelled to enter the decrees into the registers from the floor of the Parlement itself. (72) With this humiliation, the Sorbonne closed down completely for a time, and when it reopened by the express order of the Parlement of Paris it remained unsuccessful in reacquiring its privileged right to censure university theses. The faculty's privileged sacral jurisdiction had become just another spoil of the undeclared religious war over Unigenitus. (73)

Throughout this time of troubles from 1755-1757, when the Sorbonne was partially on strike and seldom able to conduct business normally, its jurisdictional rights were defended only by the bishops at successive General Assemblies in 1755 and 1757, but their support was largely self-interested. (74) The archbishop of Paris, for his part, desired maximum possible oversight over the condemnation of suspect writing, and he continued his practice of favoring his own clients for important posts within the Sorbonne. In general, bishops also succeeded in undermining the Sorbonne through their continued support for diocesan and Parisian seminaries, often championed in alliance with the Jesuits and Sulpicians. The pedagogical importance of the Sorbonne was, thus, greatly undermined by the growth and relative curricular strength of Lazarist, Sulpician, and Jesuit seminaries that benefited greatly from these close relationships to the high clergy. The bishops were therefore increasingly able to control the content of theological education and their concern over safeguarding the clergy against esprits-forts grew precipitously during the 1750s. (75) The results of greater cooperation between the devots among both Jesuits and bishops in controlling Old Regime education were not positive. (76) The abbe Baston, who took his philosophy with the Jesuits, wrote in his memoirs of the declining quality of Jesuit instruction by the mid-1750s. (77) Theological instruction in France, increasingly dominated by the prelacy's enhanced control of seminaries after 1755, was also becoming increasingly remote from the otherwise gradual adaptation of Enlightenment thought into French university education during the 1750s-1760s. (78)

The situation took a turn for the worse as the outbreak of the Seven Years' War in 1754 made the king's financial situation more dangerously strained. With the Parlement of Paris effectively on strike from 1753-1754 and continually recalcitrant throughout 1755-1756, Louis XV had little choice but to secure badly needed revenue by accepting a free gift from the General Assembly of the Clergy convened in 1755. In exchange for the timely generosity of the episcopacy, the clergy were granted full exemption from the vingtieme (income tax) and a final settlement of the sacrament controversy. (79) The General Assembly of the Clergy not only rallied behind Beaumont, therefore, but it championed the Sorbonne's right to censor philosophic works against the similar rights claimed by the Parlement of Paris. Because the 1755 General Assembly effectively bailed out the king's finances while Parlement was on strike, clerical immunities were secured, the Sorbonne returned from its own strike in 1756, and it looked as though doctrine and censorship would continue to follow a drumbeat set by the pro-Bull bishops instead of the Parlement of Paris. (80) Having secured papal authorization for his policy and a free gift from the 1755 General Assembly of the Clergy, and with the Jesuits and pro-Unigenitus devot bishops on his side, Louis XV secured his badly needed wartime revenue from Parlement by a lit de justice held on August 21, 1756. By the end of the year, most of the Parlement of Paris had resigned, and it seemed as though the battle over secular interference with the bishops' administration of the sacraments and enforcement of Unigenitus had been lost by the Parlement. (81)

But victory was snatched away from the Pro-Bull element by an unexpected attempt on the life of the king by Pierre Damiens. (82) As Dale Van Kley has argued, despite a lack of substantive connection between the assassination attempt and the Jesuits, the Damiens Affair radically realigned the religious politics of France. The Jansenists and Parlement again gained the upper hand in the fight against incredulite after effectively blaming the assassination attempt, first, on the pernicious influence of the philosophy of the Encyclopedie (which was newly attacked in connection with the condemnation of Claude Adrien Helvetius's De l'Esprit the following year), and second, on the Jesuits because of the relative liberality toward the philosophes characteristic of earlier Jesuit apologists such as Berruyer, or even the current editor in chief of the Journal de Trevoux, Guillaume-Francois Berthier. (83) The earlier association of the Jesuits with the regicidal politics of the Catholic League made the political thought of the Jesuits especially vulnerable to attack. Now after 1757, the undue influence of Jesuits over court, college, and seminary--an escalating trend throughout the 1750s--was effectively attacked by both Parlement and philosophes as treachery. Moreover, earlier Jesuit engagement with the philosophy of John Locke was now tainted by the association of the Encyclopedie with Lockean sensationalism. The Jesuit attack on the Encyclopedie was thus more effectively portrayed by Jansenists as hypocritical treachery of another kind: clandestine collusion with the new philosophy in a manner that paralleled their supposed collusion with the king's would-be assassin. (84) As such, the campaign against the Jesuits had become suddenly more credible in the aftermath of the Damiens Affair, and it gained additional support from many increasingly angry young writers incensed by half a decade's worth of severe persecution. The balance of cultural power had shifted decisively toward the Jansenists, the Parlement of Paris, and the philosophes, who all collaborated in the expulsion of the Jesuits from France in 1762-1764.

Dale Van Kley has argued that elimination of the Jesuits in 1762-1764 was a pyrrhic victory for the Jansenists, whose Augustinian theology was "more remote and unintelligible to the philosophes." In effect, Van Kley suggests that the association of religion with superstition monotonously reasserted by the philosophes became more credible in France without the Jesuits around. (85) In contrast to Van Kley, however, it is perhaps just as precise to argue that the discrediting of the Jesuits began with their rather monomaniacal campaign against the Encyclopodie. The intellectual position of the Jesuits in France was thereafter untenable. With their left hand, the Jesuits continued to act with reserved indulgence toward the Enlightenment in their Journal de Trevoux throughout the 1750s. (86) But with their right hand, they supported the pro-Bull devots in leading the charge against the Encyclopedie throughout the 1750s, while quite ruthlessly supporting pro-Bull bishops in their bid for control over the Sorbonne, over the censorship of suspect books, and over high-handed policies of sacrament refusal emanating from Beaumont and Mirepoix. In short, the Jesuits had simply outspent their political capital and rather suddenly in 1757 found themselves well on their way toward losing the support of public opinion to the Jansenists on the one hand, and a more self-conscious, increasingly anticlerical Enlightenment on the other. A group of writers and philosophers with a now well-defined esprit des corps clustered around the Encyclopedie and faced off against a church now more decisively aligned with the Jansenists who had been objecting to the association between sound doctrine and Lockean discourses of Enlightenment since at least the 1730s. (87)

Despite their aversion to Lockean discourses, the Jansenists had gained credibility throughout the period from 1757 1764 for their defense of the traditional constitution of France against royal and ultramontane autocracy. (88) But as fiscal and political reform became dominant public concerns after 1763, the philosophes were ultimately far better able to appeal to moderate voices in Parlement and at court. Associating themselves with those victimized by religious factionalism and the plight of the persecuted in general, the philosophes fashioned themselves into a kind of "fourth estate," standing above and astride confessional politics, and desiring nothing but public utility and improvement. Because of pyrrhic victories won, first, by pro-Bull forces from 1752-1757, then by Jansenists from 1757-1764, the Gallican authorities lost the theological and political debate to a more self-conscious, radical enlightenment movement that had, in turn, crept closer to the mainstream of the republic of letters in France. (89) The creation of philosophe and Counter-Enlightenment Catholic identities in France can thus be said to date to the 1750s; to the formation of these identities we now turn.


The condemnation of Claude Adrien Helvetius in 1758 for his work De l'Esprit was the culmination of the campaign of censorship begun in 1751 -1752, and it would prove decisive in the self-fashioning of philosophe identity. The campaign began in 1751-1752 by pitting the Jesuits and the forces of the pro-Bull bishops against the Jansenists who remained strong within the Parlement of Paris. After 1756, as argued above, the Sorbonne's ability to act independently of either the Parlement or the General Assembly of the Clergy was badly strained, and those closest to Diderot and the Encyclopedie were further impelled to harden their vitriol against the Church for what they considered to be a politically motivated inquisition having more to do with internecine rivalry within the church than with any particular danger from new philosophies of Enlightenment. The years 1756 1759 can therefore be viewed as yet another turning point when the repressive tendencies unleashed after the first assaults on the Encyclopedie in 1752 peaked, and the initiative passed away from the Jesuits, the Sorbonne, and the pro-Bull contingent of devots, and into the hands of the Jansenists on the one hand, and the philosophes on the other. The attempted assassination of Louis XV was the first of two causes celebres from 1756-1759; the second was the storm over Helvetius.

Helvetius was a fermier general closely connected at court, and for this reason, perhaps, his work seemed all the more alarming. (90) Helvetius's De l'Esprit posed the question of whether the attributes of mind (thought, passion, volition) are "modifications of a spiritual or material substance." In response to this query, Helvetius assumed the view of many physiologists and of Voltaire, himself, that "mind [esprit] accords equally well with either hypothesis"--that "physical sensibility and memory ... alone produce all our ideas." (91) The essence of mind was a matter of faith for Helvetius, not of reason or empirical examination. Thus, Helvetius took a position decidedly in line with what Israel and Jacobs have referred to as the Radical Enlightenment, but in implicit opposition to the tradition of Enlightenment hitherto acceptable to Jesuits, theologians, and apologists. Helvetius's celebration of the passions as directly linked to physical sensibility and more foundational to human behavior than Lockean ideation was equally alarming. What for Locke had been first ideas had become, in De l'Esprit, instinctive or affective drives. (92)

Helvetius's most alarming departure was his open articulation of the principle that the sovereign judge of any philosophical viewpoint, of true religion, or of justice, was nothing but social utility. (93) Helvetius argued that "the whole of the lawmaker's art consists in forcing men via their sentiment of amour-propre to be forever more just to one another," thus, social morality needs no organized religion. (94) By stressing personal interest as the basis of sound morality, and social utility as the "principle of all human virtues and the foundation of all laws," Helvetius rendered not only the church socially irrelevant, but leveled a charge against it that could not be soundly refuted once utility was accepted as the measure of all things. (95) The focus on social utility as the quintessential criterion of truth immediately gave the philosophes the upper hand, for any religion that created division, social strife, or endemic warfare was, therefore, out of the running as true religion. In a France still reeling from the religious and political divisions over Unigenitus, Helvetius seemed very credible to some, and very dangerous to others. Deny Helveius his focus on utility, and the church would look hypocritical; concede Helvetius's point--that social utility is the measure of all truth and Christian apologetics would collapse. The only immediate response to Helveius was to condemn him, and as in 1752 with the first attempt to censor the Encyclopedie, all factions within the Gallican Church felt they had a stake in appearing to be first in war and last in peace.

As such, the condemnation of Helvetius displays the same headlong race toward condemnation on the part of the Old Regime religious authorities that characterized the Encyclopedie. (96) An Arret du Conseil du Roi (10 August 1758) ordered De l'Esprit suppressed; thereafter, just days after the Nouvelles ecclesiastiques had attacked Helvetius for the first time, Beaumont issued his own archiepiscopal condemnation against Helvetius calling for suppression, not only of De l'Esprit, but of as many irreligious writings as possible. (97) Not to be outdone, the Jansenists now took to attacking Beaumont's own pastoral instruction, as two articles in the Nouvelles ecclesiastiques (1 January and 13 February 1759), at least partially written by the famous avocat of the Parlement of Paris, Adrien LePaige. (98) These articles in the Nouvelles ecclesiastiques have been studied by J. M. Rogister, and his conclusions are instructive. Le Paige's "only reference to Helvetius's work on the subject of royal authority," Rogister notes, "consists of an expression of surprise that Beaumont could find it in his conscience to exaggerate lapses in De l'esprit when at the same time he tolerated the regicidal notions ... of Jesuits like Busenbaum, Lacroix, and Zaccheria." (99) The articles in the Nouvelles ecclesiastiques appear to have little to do with Helvetius at all, and almost everything to do with tying Beaumont's own condemnation of Helvetius to the perceived hypocrisy of the Jesuits now erroneously suspected of abetting Damiens's attempted regicide. The condemnation of Helvetius, therefore, became a sort of free-for-all, where the archbishop, the Jansenists, and the Parlement all rushed headlong into the fray in order to trump the opposing faction's zeal against incredulite. As Van Kley has adroitly argued already, the Helvetius condemnation was used to great effect by the Jansenists in order to refocus attention on the treachery of the Jesuits for their toleration of radical or even regicidal ideas that contributed to the attempt on the king's life in 1757. (100)

For its part, the sweeping 22 January 1758 arret of the Parlement of Paris was drawn up by a commission that, as Malesherbes later wrote, was packed with avocats known for their political devotion to the parti janseniste. (101) The arret accurately saw affinities between the utilitarian morality and glorification of the passions in De l'Esprit, and similar statements by Diderot in Pensees philosophiques and Promenade du sceptique. Thus, despite Diderot's own attack on Helvetius, the Parlement argued that De l'Esprit was merely the inevitable consequence of the materialism of the Encyclopedie taken to extremes. (102) However, the last to act against Helvetius was the Sorbonne. Brought to heel by the Parlement of Paris from 1755-1757, the Sorbonne extended the earlier Parlement arret by including a vast assortment of books upheld as "poisoned sources" from which Helvetius and the Encyclopedie had drawn their inspiration. Even a cursory glance at the list of suspect books that the Sorbonne earmarked for suppression, in a bilingual censure running to 79 pages, reveals that much of what used to be alternatively glorified and demonized as the so-called canon of Enlightenment appears to have been set down by the enemies of Helvetius and the Encyclopedie as early as 1759. The document is so thorough that one might well use it even today as the basis for any standard undergraduate syllabus in a course on the Enlightenment! Divided topically according to propositions condemned in Helvetius, the censure lists the books, authors, page numbers, and select articles of the Encyclopedie earmarked for their damnable statements. (103) The 1759 censure similarly manifests the extent to which hitherto tolerated works were tainted as heterodox by 1759. (104) Eight years after the Jansenists had polemically opened fire on the Sorbonne for its complicity in passing the Prades thesis, the parti janseniste finally got what it wanted from the Sorbonne: a sweeping censure of the Enlightenment that included even portions of Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding once used openly by some Jesuits and apologists of the first third of the eighteenth century as part of the earlier synthesis of sensationalism and occasionalism. No one author is treated systematically in the Sorbonne censure. Instead, in the preamble, all suspect works subsequently listed are condemned in globo for supposedly sharing a common credo of Lockean epistemology now vilified as tending toward heresy. (105) So outlandish did this crackdown on the "doctrine" associated with the Encyclopedie seem to many writers that the abbe Coyer would satirize Berthier, the Jesuit editor in chief of the Journal de Trevoux, by calling him the "Generalissimo of the Anti-Materialist Army" who would do well to forbid children to watch marionettes because puppet shows might lead to dangerous speculation on the materiality of the soul. (106) Some even blamed the Encyclopedie for the military disasters afflicting France during the darkest days of the Seven Years' War, and the philosophes replied in kind by reminding France that Britain was generally more enlightened, far more tolerant of religious dissent and, not incidentally, winning the war. (107)

Such persecution merely affirmed Diderot's crusading zeal to keep the Encyclopedie afloat, despite the very opposition he had come to expect from religious authorities. (108) The in globo attack on so many works by disparate authors who were often far from the opinions of Helvrtius or Diderot was an exaggerated maneuver that did more harm than good. Turgot's letter to the former Jesuit abbe Millot in 1762 proved tragically accurate; in his praise for Millot's moderation, Turgot complains that "theologians have, by their intolerance, reached a point where they can no longer defend themselves and discover the attacks of their adversaries without drawing unto themselves the revulsion of all honorable men." (109) In effect, the harshness of the church's reaction to many Enlightenment writers in the middle to late 1750s appears to have alienated many moderate Enlightenment clergy besides Turgot and Millot. The abbe de Condillac, for example, had had his earliest works approved (if not in fact taught) at the Sorbonne. In the 1746 edition of his Essai sur l'origine des connaissances humaines, he carefully notes that "when I will say that we have no ideas which do not come to us .from the senses, it must be distinctly understood that I am only speaking of the current state of things after original sin." (110) Yet, after 1755 with the publication of Traite des sensations, Condillac was making his peace with a more materialist causality of human perception. (111)

Despite the immoderate reaction of the Church, however, the affinities between Helvetius and Diderot were quite real by 1758. Ironically, this affinity--the fruits of Diderot's own increased radicalization and sharpened focus on utilite as the criterion of truth--grew up during the harshest days of persecution over his leadership of the Encyclopedie after 1752. Shortly after 1753, Diderot penned a pathetic but assertive plea to his elder brother (a canon of the church), later printed in 1760 and, according to Jacques-Andre Naigeon, partially published as the article "Intolerance" in the Encyclopedie. This letter from one estranged brother to another was tied directly to his feeling of being hunted by the Christian church in France, and it is among Diderot's most assertive statements of a moral philosophy akin to Helvetius at exactly the same time he wrote the biting anticlerical satire Promenade du sceptique, which makes many of these same points. (112) Diderot roundly declares that "any means which releases people from the bonds of nature, distances fathers from sons, brother from brother, and sister from sister is impious." Then, quoting Paul's epistles to the Thessalonians back to his brother, Diderot adds, '"Do not treat as an enemy one who disagrees with you, but admonish him in the spirit of brotherhood' ... If your opinions authorize you to hate me, why do my opinions not also authorize me to hate you? ... Behold the results of your principles, and tremble! ... Be assured that everything you have given yourself permission to do is an abomination in the eyes of God and of all mankind." (113) The persecution Diderot sustained accelerated a considerable change in his philosophical views that was already under way in 1746. By 1754, in an article on the crusades, Diderot obliquely identified his enterprise with the victims of religious persecution, and by 1760 he had come to argue that "the contradiction was not between the foundations of moral philosophy found in the gospels and the acts of those who put them into practice," but rather, the contradiction "is at the heart of Christian morality, itself." (114) In Diderot's judgment, the Church had proven itself incapable of living by gospel morality and, as such, could not possibly be a valid revelation. At the heart of Diderot's moral utilitarian judgment of Christianity was the conviction he shared with Claude Adrien Helvetius that passions and sentiments were the true basis of society and morality, not simply Lockean first ideas. For, if the moral life were, as Diderot held, the highest incarnation of the physiological instinct of self-preservation and the urge for happiness, then Christianity could not possibly be any more true than it is useful because it denies that passions are the single, most necessary source of reason, judgment, and society. (115)

Because Malesherbes had helped ensure the survival of the Encyclopedie by securing the protection of Mme. de Pompadour through the young abbe de Bernis and the duc de Choiseul, Diderot was able to widely disseminate his convictions, and he persuaded many to submit contributions simply by framing his work as an epic struggle of enlightenment and social improvement against a superstitious priesthood. (116) Despite constant complaints from the aging bishop of Mirepoix, under Malesherbes's protection the number of subscriptions swelled to three thousand; even Voltaire was convinced to come on board in volume 5 (although it must be noted that Voltaire later distanced himself from the project when writing his Dictionnaire philosophique). (117) Many contributors, in fact, wrote articles without any prospect of financial reward, perhaps simply because Diderot's editorial mission seemed credible to a generation of vastly different writers who found themselves indiscriminately condemned in globo as a monolithic "doctrine" of irreligion. (118) Diderot summarizes his strategy to Voltaire in early 1758, writing, "What are we to do then? Only that which is fitting for courageous men: to despise our enemies, to pursue them and profit, as we have already done, from the imbecility of our censors. Should we dare forget what we owe to ourselves and to the public?" (119) Four years later (in a style reminiscent of a Pauline epistle with a dash of Urban II at Clermont), Diderot again wrote to Voltaire, "Our motto is no quarter to the superstitious, the fanatics, the ignorant, or the fools, neither for the vicious and tyrannical ... What pleases me is to see my brethren almost entirely united, not so much by the hatred and despise of that which you have called infamy, but by the love of truth." (120)

Voltaire, for his part, dramatized the condemnation of the Encyclopedie as the heroic struggle of philosophical reason against dogmatic religious authorities in his adaptation of the originally English play, Socrate, which debuted in 1759. Rather tellingly, Anitus (who represents the Jansenist partisan and procurator general of the Parlement of Paris, Joly de Fleury) schemes the demise of Socrates for reasons of personal jealousy rather than from any deeply held principle. (121) The advice Anitus gives to his fellow conspirator, Acros, is humorously revealing of the perception many writers had of Catholic authorities in France after the second condemnation of the Encyclopedie and the condemnation of Helvetius by the Sorbonne:

Anitus: Go, take some devot of the people with you, and when the judges pass by, cry out, "Impiety!" ...

Acros: Yes, but what kind of impiety?

Anitus: All kinds! You need only to accuse someone harshly of not believing in the gods ... You will be perfectly supported. (122)

Voltaire's temporary affection for the Encyclopedic extended further, as he unsuccessfully tried to convince Diderot to relocate the Encyclopedie to Cleves. He implored Diderot, Helvetius, and other "brethren" to join him in an apocalyptic literary campaign to end priest craft and persecution forever. (123) Along similar lines, Voltaire's article on the definition of "Philosophe" in the 1765 edition of the Encyclopedic was adapted directly from an earlier clandestine piece by Du Marsais from the 1740s, and it praises the philosophe as holding an ancient role akin to that of an apostle; philosophers, he writes, bring "love of wisdom" into a world darkened by the presence of theologians and priests who anciently and illegitimately arrogated to themselves the name of philosophers. Only by avoiding slavish devotion to ancient systems of philosophy could the new philosopher reclaim his historic role of enlightening the public. (124) Yet, by 1764 when Voltaire issued the first edition of his own encyclopedia, the Dictionnaire philosophique, he is far more assertive. In an article on "Les bornes de l'esprit humain," Voltaire triumphantly proclaims the inscrutability (if not outright materiality) of the soul while issuing a veiled assault on the intellectual arrogance of university philosophers and theologians:
 Study carefully how thought forms itself in your puny understanding
 ... What is matter? Your colleagues have written ten thousand
 volumes on this article and they have found some qualities
 characterizing its substance, but children can understand these as
 much as you. What of this substance and its foundation? And what is
 that which you have called "spirit" [esprit] by the Latin word
 meaning "breath" [souffle], although you have been unable to say
 more because you have no idea what you are talking about ... even
 though you have taken your degrees, are bedecked in fur and have
 received your [doctoral] bonnet, and are called "master"? And this
 arrogant imbecile clothed with a little vocation in a little town
 believes himself to have purchased the right o f judging and
 condemning what he does not understand! (125)

In Voltaire's entry on Ame or "soul," he is even more stalwart in the certain verdict of his skepticism. "We cry to you along with the respectable Gassendi and Locke that you know nothing of the Creator by your own efforts. Are you therefore so many gods who know everything?" (126) Then donning a kind of mock fideism in order to reduce the clerical arguments ad absurdum, Voltaire continues, arguing that "we can understand neither the nature nor destiny of the soul except by revelation. What! This revelation is not sufficient for you? It appears necessary for you to be enemies of this revelation to which we appeal, for you persecute those who rest completely in it and believe only in it." (127) Voltaire concludes that philosophy, itself, "laughs in peace" at the "vain efforts" of the clergy. (128)

The efforts of the clergy were "vain," as William Everdell astutely argued, because of the "triumph of utility" after 1758. Even among writers of Christian apologetics, both clerical and lay, the principle of utility--that the moral value (or indeed, authenticity) of Christianity was dependent on how useful it was to individual human nature and civil society became dominant. But, as Everdell's highly comprehensive study of Christian apologetics from the late 1730s to the dawn of the nineteenth century argues, the grounds of utility was a dead end. (129) In the eighteenth century, arguments favoring both the salutary and derogatory effects of Christianity through history abounded and, empirically, both arguments had much to recommend them. (130) Everdell's study provides an elegant taxonomy of major apologetical endeavors throughout the Enlightenment era; nevertheless, Everdell neglects to consider the contingent catalysts that drove former theological enlightenment writers away from more epistemologically sophisticated apologies for Catholicism reminiscent of the Jesuit synthesis. (131) As I have argued above and elsewhere, with so many earlier concessions to Lockean sensationalism (and even Locke's Essay, itself) lumped together as heterodox alongside Helvetius, the only orthodox grounds remaining to Jesuits, Jansenists, bishops, and lay apologists alike were the rather one-sided and ambivalent defenses of the faith based on its moral utility. (132)


Voltaire, Diderot, and Helvetius are emblematic of a common ideology of the philosophe that grew out of the late 1750s, projecting the self-fashioned aura of a kind of religious community self-identified as tolerant, erudite, and dedicated to a common humanity and the well-being of society. In one sense, this is a secularizing trend; in another, it is the exaltation of peaceful, rational persuasion, and concern for the progress of human civilization and cosmopolitanism that claims to be more Christian than organized Christianity itself. (133) Indeed, the first self-conscious constellation of French philosophes proudly embraced the litany of indictments and provisional anti-canon of unbelief the condemnation of Helvetius had pronounced. Yet, the meaning was subverted, as the philosophes wielded these attacks as legitimation for their ability to govern public opinion. In the discourses of this "imagined community" of the enlightened, the church was unmasked as a politically charged, endlessly destructive body seemingly all too willing to tear France asunder over questions of sacral jurisdiction, Gallican liberties, and the metaphysical essence of divine grace and the human soul. (134) Ironically, then, the attempt by the deeply contentious factions within the Gallican Church to stem the tide of radicalizing Enlightenment ended in the unintentional victory of a far more openly secular and anticlerical variant of Enlightenment in France--a variant that readily animated the increasingly anticlerical spirit of the French Revolution after 1791. Counter-Enlightenment Catholic impulses, born in the doctrinal and jurisdictional struggle over Unigenitus that drove the backlash against the Encyclopedie, Helvetius, and even Lockean thought itself, only continued to fortify as philosophes gained the ear of public opinion and some of their ideas came to have enormous, sometimes bloody implications after 1789.

(1) Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities." Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed. (London: Verso, 1991), 12.

(2) David Bell, The Cult of the Nation." Inventing Nationalism, 1680-1800 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001), 1-49.

(3) Joseph F. Byrnes, Catholic and French Forever: Religious and National Identity in Modern France (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005), xv-xxiii.

(4) See also Jonathan Israel, Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy. Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man, 1670-1752 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006); for the theological overtones and religious inspiration of Locke, see Maria-Cristina Pitassi, Le philosophe et l'ecriture: John Locke exegete de Saint Paul (Geneve: Droz, 1990); Maria-Cristina Pitassi, "Le Christ Lockien a l'epreuve des textes: de la Reasonableness aux Paraphrase and Notes," in Le Christ entre orthodoxie et lumieres: actes du colloque tenu a Geneve en aout 1993, ed. Pitassi (Geneve: Droz, 1994), 101-122; Victor Nuovo, "Locke's Christology as a Key to Understanding His Philosophy," in The Philosophy of John Locke: New Perspectives, ed. Peter Anstey (London: Routledge, 2003): 129-153; Kim Ian Park, The Biblical Politics of John Locke (Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2004), 65-66; G. A. J. Rogers, "Locke and the Sceptical Challenge," in The Philosophical Canon in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Essays in Honour of John W. Yolton, ed. G. A. J. Rogers and Sylvana Tomaselli (Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Press, 1996), 49-66. For an elegant and astute contrary perspective on the secularizing implications of Locke, see Emmet Kennedy, Secularism and its Opponents from Augustine to Solzhenitzyn (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 93-111.

(5) Israel, Enlightenment Contested, 10-11; the mainstreaming of hitherto "Radical Enlightenment" discourses in France during the 1730s and after has also received considerable attention in Jonathan I. Israel, Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 1650-1750 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001); Margaret C. Jacob, Living the Enlightenment: Freemasonry and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Europe (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991). Other scholars have only recently followed the lead of R. R. Palmer, Bernard Plongeron, and Isaiah Berlin in examining the origins of Counter-Enlightenment during the latter half of the eighteenth century and early Restoration period: R. R. Palmer, Catholics and Unbelievers' in Eighteenth-Century France (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1939); Bernard Plongeron, "Recherches sur l'Auflarung catholique en Europe occidental, 1770-1830," Revue d'histoire moderne et contemporaine 16 (1969): 555-605; and more recently, Didier Masseau, Les Ennemis des philosophes: l'antiphilosophie au temps des Lumieres (Paris: Editions Albin Michel, 2000); William R. Everdell, Christian Apologetics in France, 1730-1790: The Roots of Romantic Religion, Texts and Studies in Religion 31 (Lewiston, Ontario: E. Mellon, 1987).

(6) Israel, Enlightenment Contested, 12, 699-863.

(7) Jeffrey D. Burson, The Rise and Fall of Theological Enlightenment: Jean-Martin de Prades and Ideological Polarization in Eighteenth-Century France (forthcoming).

(8) Israel, Enlightenment Contested, 38.

(9) For the notion of Enlightenment as cultural "style" or "taste," see L. W. B Brockliss, Calvert's Web: Enlightenment and the Republic of Letters in Eighteenth-Century France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002); also T. C. W. Blanning, The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture: Old Regime Europe, 1660-1789 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002); and more recently, Antoine Lilti, Les monde des salons." sociabilite et mondanite a Paris au XVIIIe siecle (Paris: Fayard, 2005).

(10) Gertrude Himmelfarb, The Roads to Modernity: The British, French, and American Enlightenments (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004); Robert Darnton, The Business of Enlightenment: A Publishing History of the Encyclopedie, 1775-1800 (Cambridge: Belknap, 1979); Robert Darnton, The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France (New York: W. W. Norton, 1995); Lynn Hunt, Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984); Jack Censor, The French Press in the Age of Enlightenment (London: Routledge, 1994); Roger Chartier, Cultural History: Between Practices and Representations, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1988); Jeffrey Merrick, The Desacralization of the French Monarchy in the Eighteenth Century (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990). I am certainly not suggesting that the Enlightenment did not result in part from variables suggested in the histories of the book, reading tastes, and notions of social utility and toleration within a transformed, secular public sphere. This article contends only that the Enlightenment needs to be viewed as a plurality of interacting tendencies that only gradually polarized into Counter-Enlightenment and High Enlightenment movements due to the intersection of religious, political, socioeconomic, and cultural events at mid-century.

(11) Israel, Enlightenment Contested. 23.

(12) By focusing on the conciliarist-Jansenist tradition of Catholic Enlightenment, rather than on the intersection of Jesuit, mid-century vernacular apologetical, and University of Paris theology as I do, Dale Van Kley is also attempting to view the wider religious origins of Enlightenment secularism. Note especially Van Kley, "Religion and the Age of Patriot Reform," Journal of Modern History 80 (June 2008): 252-295. Thanks to Professor Van Kley for making me aware of this article in manuscript.

(13) Darrin McMahon, Enemies of the Enlightenment: The French Counter-Enlightenment and the Making of Modernity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).

(14) Ibid., 10-13.

(15) Recent work by Dale Van Kley argues similarly, although unlike my own work, he continues to focus brilliantly on the internationalization of Gallican and Jansenist discourses after the expulsion of the Jesuits from Portugal, France, Spain, and Central Europe throughout the 1760s. He sees this process as the key turning point for the exportation of French religious and cultural polarities to the rest of Europe: see Van Kley, "Jansenism and the International Suppression of the Jesuits" in Enlightenment, Reawakening, Revolution, 1660-1815, eds. Stewart J. Brown and Timothy Tackett, Cambridge History of Christianity 7 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 302-328.

(16) McMahon, 14, 21, 26-27; McMahon briefly acknowledges the importance of the 1750s but neglects to focus on it as the quintessential decade. See also Jeffrey D. Burson, "Religion and European Enlightenment: The Case for French Exceptionalism?" Proceedings of the Consortium of the Revolutionary Era." 1-3 March 2007 (Shreveport: Louisiana State University Press, 2008); Burson, "Abdication of Legitimate Heirs: The Use and Abuse of Locke in the Jesuit Journal de Trevoux and the Origins of Counter-Enlightenment, 1737-1767," in Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 2005/7 (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2005), 297-327; the notion of Counter-Enlightenment as arising from the earliest stirrings of Enlightenment itself is less paradoxical when the still-evolving historiography of the European "Catholic Enlightenment" is taken into account. Though still focused to a large degree on the socioreligious reformism, conciliarist, Gallican, and crypto-Jansenist side of the movement, a lively body of work that considers "Catholic Enlightenment" more globally and comprehensively is arising; see Bernard Plongeron, Conscience religieuse en revolution: regards sur l'historiographie religieuse de la Revolution francaise (Paris: A. and J. Picard, 1969); Samuel J. Miller, "Enlightened Catholicism" in Portugal and Rome, c. 1748-1830: An Aspect of the Catholic Enlightenment (Rome: Universita Gregorianna Editrice, 1978), 1-27; Marie-Helene Cotoni, L 'Exegese du Nouveau Testament dans la philosophie francaise du dix-huitieme siecle, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 220, ed. Hayden Mason (Oxford: The Voltaire Foundation at the Tayler Institution, 1984); Bernard Cottret, Le Christ des lumieres: Jesus de Newton d Voltaire, 1680-1760 (Paris: Editions du Cerf, 1990); Monique Cottret, Jansenisme et Lumieres: pour un autre XVIIIe siecle (Paris: Editions Albin Michel, 1998); Jean Delumeau, Le Catholicisme entre Luther et Voltaire (Paris: Presses Universitaires de Paris, 1971); Dale Van Kley, "Classical Republicanism in Clerical Garb: Gallican Memories of the Early Church and the Project of Primitivist Reform, 1719-1791," Past and Present 200 (August 2009, forthcoming). Thanks to Professor Van Kley for allowing me to preview his insightful manuscript; see also Dale Van Kley, "The Estates General as Ecumenical Council: The Constitutionalism of Corporate Consensus and the Parlement's Ruling of September 25, 1788," Journal of Modern History 61 (March 1989): 1-52; also Francis Oakley, The Conciliarist Tradition: Constitutionalism in the Catholic Church, 1300-1870 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 141-181; Jotham Parsons, The Church in the Republic: Gallicanism and Political Ideology in Renaissance France (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2004), 4-10, 278-283; also Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Trattato della carita Christiana in quanto essa e amore del prossimo (1723); also Muratori, Riflessioni sopra buon gusto (1708), which criticizes excessive reliance on Aristotelian philosophy in the name of a more empirical and historicist approach to the development of Christian theology; also Carlo Fantappie, Riforme ecclesiastiche e resistenze sociali: la sperimentazione institutionale nella diocese di Prato alla fine dell'antico regime, ed. Francesco Margiotto Broglio (Bologna: Societa editrice il Mulino, 1986), 399-403.

(17) For the perils of viewing the whole of the Enlightenment through the lens of Francophone or anti-clericalism alone, see Roy Porter, "The Enlightenment in England," in The Enlightenment in National Context, ed. Roy Porter and Mikulas Teich (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981).

(18) Robert Shackleton, "When Did the French "Philosophes' Become a Party?" Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 60 (1977): 196; John Lough, "Who were the Philosophes?" in Studies in Eighteenth-Century French Literature: Presented to Robert Nicklaus, ed. J. H. Fox, M. H. Waddicor, and D. A. Watts (Exeter: University of Exeter, 1975), 140-145; Franco Venturi, Utopia and Reform in the Enlightenment (Utopia e reforma nell 'llluminismo), trans. R. Burr Litchfield (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971), 139; see also Douglas H. Gordon and Norman L. Forrey, The Censoring of Diderot's Encyclopedie and the Re-established Text (New York: Columbia University Press, 1947), 14-15; more recently Richard Yeo, "Encyclopaedism and the Enlightenment"; also David Garrioch, "The Party of the Philosophes," in The Enlightenment WorM, ed. Martin Fitzpatrick, Peter Jones, Christa Knellwolf, and Iain McCalman (London: Routledge, 2004), 350-366; 426-442.

(19) The philosophical contours of the debate hardened, but socially, the Counter-Enlightenment and Enlightenment never fully polarized before the Revolution. As the life and work of Nicola-Sylvestre Bergier, the choice apologist of the General Assembly of the Clergy against both Rousseau and d'Holbach, demonstrates, social interaction through academies and journals remained throughout the eighteenth century: Nicholas-Sylvestre Bergier, Le Deisme refute par lui-meme: ou Examen, en forme de Lettres, des principes d'incredulite repandus dans les divers Ouvrages de M. Rousseau. 4th ed. (Paris: Humblot, 1768); Alan Kors, D'Holbach's Coterie: An Enlightenment in Paris (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1976), 114-117; Masseau, Les Ennemis des philosophes, 161-170; Claude Langlois, "Demographie celeste et revolution theologique chez Nicolas-Sylvestre Bergier," Dix-huitieme siecle 34 (2002): 267-276. In defining Counter-Enlightenment "'ideology," I am here invoking a useful distinction between discourse and ideology developed by Marisa Linton in a recent article on the Enlightenment origins of the French Revolution. Linton argues that a discourse is merely "linked words" accessible "by different groups, put together in different ways," and possessing "different consequences." An ideology, however, "'indicates a set of consciously held beliefs which are drawn together in support of a particular ... stance." Though Linton is speaking directly of political discourses and ideologies, her distinction is instructive fur our intellectual history transcending political thought. Marisa Linton, "The Intellectual Origins of the French Revolution," in The Origins of the French Revolution, ed. Peter R. Campbell (Basingstoke, U.K.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 155.

(20) Richard Popkin, The History of Scepticism from Erasmus to Spinoza, rev. ed. (New York: Humanities Press, 1964; second reprint, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979).

(21) Masseau, Ennemis des philosophes, 23-24.

(22) Burson, Rise and Fall of Theological Enlightenment; also Jeffrey D. Burson, "Theological Enlightenment and the Scandal of abbe Jean-Martin de Prades, 1724-1782" (Ph.D. diss.: George Washington University, 2006).

(23) Jansenists were originally depicted as resolute enemies of the Enlightenment. Some studies continue to exaggerate the anti-Enlightenment aspects of Jansenist theology even today: see Bernard Groethuysen, The Bourgeois: Catholicism versus Capitalism in Eighteenth-Century France, trans. Mary Ilford ([1927] London: Cresset, 1968), 7-44.

(24) See for example, Palmer, Catholics and Unbelievers in Eighteenth-Century France.

(25) Ross Hutchison, Locke in France, 1688-1734, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 290 (Oxford: The Voltaire Institute, 1991); Catherine M. Northeast, The Parisian Jesuits and the Enlightenment, 1700-1762, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 288 (Oxford: The Voltaire Foundation at the Taylor Institute, 1991), 55, 63, 217; Gaston Sortais, Le Cartesianisme chez les Jesuites francais au XVIIe et au XVIIIe siecle, Archives de Philosophie 7:3 (Paris: Gabriel Beauchesne, 1929); L. W. B. Brockliss, French Higher Education in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: A Cultural History (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987); Francois de Daineville, L'education des jesuites (XVIe-XVIIIe siecles) (Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1978); R. R. Palmer, ed., The School of the French Revolution." A Documentary History of the College of Louis-le-Grand and Its Director; Jean-Francois Champagne, 1762-1814, trans. R. R. Palmer (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1975); Rene Taton, F, de Daineville, B. Gille, R. Hahn, P. Huard, M. Cacoarret, et Ter-Menassian, Y. Laissus, R. Lemoine, F. Russo, G. Serbos, J. Torlais, Enseignement et diffusion des sciences en France au XVIIIe siecle (Paris: Herman, 1964); Gustave Dupont-Ferrier, Le College sous les Jesuites, 1563-1762 & le College et la Revolution, 1763-1799, vol. 1, Du College de Clermont au Lycee Louis-le-Grand: La vie quotidienne d'un college parisien pendant plus de trois cent cinquant ans (1563-1920) (Paris: E. de Boccard, 1921); Jean de Viguerie, "L'Enseignement des jesuites et les progres du deisme en France aux dixseptieme et dix-huitieme siecles." Pour qu'il regne (novembre 1969): 9-23; most recently, Marcus Hellyer, Catholic Physics: Jesuit Natural Philosophy in Early Modern Germany (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005); John Pappas, Berthier's Journal de Trevoux and the Philosophes, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 3 (Geneve: Institut et Musee de Voltaire Les Delices, 1957); Harro Hopfl, Jesuit Political Thought: The Society of Jesus and the State, c. 1540-1630 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Eric Nelson, The Jesuits and the Monarchy: Catholic Reform and Political Authority in France (1590-1615) (Aldershot, U.K.: Ashgate, 2005), 1-9, 240-244.

(26) Claude G. Buffier, Traite des Premieres verites et de la source de nos jugements, in Oeuvres philosophiques du Pere Buffier (Paris: Adolphe de la Haye, 1843), I.i.9, 7; I.ii.17, 10; I.v.41.45, 18-19 (all citations to Buffier's Traite des premieres verites refer to this edition of Buffier's Oeuvres philosophiques); Buffier, "Remarques sur la metaphysique de M. Locke," in Traite des premieres verites, 132-33; Kathleen Sonia Wilkins, A Study of the Works of Claude Buffier, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 66 (Oxford: The Voltaire Foundation at the Taylor Institute, 1969), 15-19; John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed. and intro. Peter H. Nidditch (Oxford: Clarendon, 1975), II.viii.7.8.15, 134; IIl.ix.15, 484; III.ix.20, 486-487; III.ix.21, 488; III.ix.23, 489-490. Buffier betrays his debt to Locke by (among other things) appending his "Remarques sur la metaphysique de M. Locke" to his 1725 Traite des premieres verites. Fransique Bouillier, introduction to Oeuvres philosophiques de Pere Buffier (Paris: Adolphe de la Haye, 1843), 131. French appropriation of Locke's Essai philosophique sur l'entendement humain was governed by a three-fold pattern: 1) concentration on Locke's rejection of innatism, 2) fixation on the thinking matter hypothesis, and 3) focus on Locke's criteria for judging the veracity of religious dogma: Gabriel Bonno, La Culture et la Civilisation Britannique devant I'opinion francaise de la paix d'Utrecht aux Lettres philosophiques (1713-1734) (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1948), 86.

(27) Condemned by the papacy, the work by Mesenguy, Exposition de la doctrine chretienne (Paris, 1761) is an example of an extreme Cartesian defense of Christianity in favor of a Jansenist position as late as the middle eighteenth century (that is, long after the Jesuits had integrated Cartesianism and Lockean sensationalism for apologetical and scientific purposes). Many thanks to Dale Van Kley for bringing this work to my attention.

(28) Jean Perkins The Concept of the Self in the French Enlightenment (Geneve: Libraire Droz, 1969), 11-12, 15-16.

(29) Rene Descartes, Discours de la methode pour bien conduire sa raison et chercher la verite dans les sciences, vol. 1, Oeuvres philosophiques de Descartes, ed. Ferdinand Alquie (Paris: Editions classiques Gamier, 1988), IV.33; [Bayle, Pierre], Philosophical Commentary: A Modern Translation and Critical Interpretation, trans. Amy Godman Tannenbaum, American University Studies Series 5: Philosophy 19 (New York: Peter Lang, 1987); Benedict [Baruch] de Spinoza, Tractatus Theologo-politicus [1679], vol. 3, Opera quae supersunt omnia, ex editionibus principibus, ed. Charles Hermann Bruder (Lipsiae [Leiden]: Bernh. Tauchnitz jun., 1843-1846), IV-VI, 62-103; also Steven Nadler, Spinoza's Heresy: Immortality and the Jewish Mind (Oxford: Clarendon, 2001), 1-40, 68, 93, 131-181, 182-184; Bouillier, Histoire de la philosophie cartesienne, 3rd ed., 2 vols. (Paris: Charles Delagrave et Compagnie, 1868), 1:553-607; Alan Charles Kors, Atheism in France, 1650-1729, vol. 1, The Orthodox Sources of Disbelief (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1990), 288-356; Cotoni, L'Exegese du Nouveau Testament dans la philosophie francaise du dix-huitieme siecle, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 220, ed. Hayden Mason (Oxford: The Voltaire Foundation at the Tayler Institution, 1984); Cottret, Le Christ des lumieres (Paris: Editions du Cerf, 1990); Julius Guttmann, Philosophies of Judaism: The History of Jewish Philosophy from Biblical Times to Franz Rosenzweig (Die Philosophie des Judentums), trans. David W. Silverman with an introduction by R. J. Zwi Werblowsky (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1964); Paul Verniere, Spinoza et la pensee francaise avant la Revolution, 2 vols. (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1954); Hutchison, Locke in France, 200-201.

(30) Nicholas Malebranche, Entretiens sur la metaphysique, sur la religion, et sur la mort (1696; 1711), in Oeuvres completes du Malebranche, ed. Genevieve Rodis-Lewis, Bibliotheque de la Pleiade 390 (Paris: Gallimard, 1992), 2:649-1040; Malebranche, Meditations chretiennes et metaphysiques, nouvelle edition, corrigee, augmentee (1707), in Oeuvres completes" du Malebranche, 2:191-419; note especially Malebranche, Meditations chretiennes V.xv; see also Vl.xi,, xii; and Malebranche Entretiens, I.i., III.vii, IV.x, IV.xvii-xi X.i-xvii, XII.v, vii.

(31) Buffier, Traite des Premieres verites, I.i.9, 7; I.ii.17, 10; I.v.41.45, 18-19.

(32) Jeffrey D. Burson, "'Abdication of Legitimate Heirs: The Use and Abuse of Locke in the Jesuit Journal de Trevoux," Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 2005/7 (Oxford: Clarendon, 2005), 297-327; R. R. Palmer, "The French Jesuits in the Age of Enlightenment," American Historical Review 45:1 (October 1939), 44-46, 49, 51-58; Jean de Viguerie, "L'Enseignement des jesuites et les progres du deisme en France aux dix-septieme et dix-huitieme siecles," Pour qu'il regne (novembre 1969), 15-16.

(33) Buffier, Traite des Premieres verites et de la source de nos jugements, I.i.9, 7; I.ii.17, 10; I.v.41.45, 18-19; II.xviii.305, 134-135: ibid., II.xix.322-323, 139.

(34) See above, n. 7, also n. 22.

(35) Ira O. Wade, The Clandestine Organization and Diffusion of Philosophic Ideas in France from 1700 to 1750 (New York: Octagon, 1967), 263-273; Israel, Radical Enlightenment, 684-701; Shackleton, "When Did the French 'Philosophes' Become a Party?"

(36) The abbe d'Houtteville, La Religion Chretienne prouvee par les faits, nouvelle edition (s.l., s.n., 1722; Amsterdam: Henri du Sauzet, 1744).

(37) Houtteville, Religion Chretienne prouvee par les faits, 1:182, 1:260; see advertisement for "La Religion Chretienne, prouvee par les faits, par M. l'Abbe Houtteville de l'Academie francaise, nouvelle edition, quatre tomes in-12 a Paris, chez R G. le Mercier, rue Saint Jacques, 1749," Mercure de France (janvier 1750), 182; proofs of religion based on common-sense grounds written in France were sold in cheaper, abridged form as early as 1747, and there was even a book using proofs of religion designed for youth reviewed in 1750: see the review of "Systeme du Philosophe Chretien, par M. de Gamaches de l'Academie Royale des Sciences; brochure inoctavo, prix 24 sol ches Jombert," Mereure (fevrier 1747), 96-97; also advertisement for "Exposition abregee des preuves historiques de la Religion Chretienne, pour lui server d'apologie contre les sophisms de l'irreligion, ouvrage destine a l'education de la jeunesse, par M. Beauzee, a Paris, chez Delaguette, rue Saint Jacques, in-12, 1747," Mercure (janvier 1750), 182; also Roger Mercier, Le Rehabilitation de la Nature Humaine, 1700-1750 (Villemomble: Editions La Balance, 1960), 352-360; compare with Everdell, Christian Apologetics in France, 27-183, 281-285; Masseau, Ennemis des philosophes, 209-273, 420-421. Certainly, Houtteville did not in every way agree with contemporary writers like Voltaire on every point. Much later in his Traite sur la tolerance, for example, Voltaire would criticize Houtteville's voluminous apologetical work for advocating religious intolerance: see Houtteville, Religion Chretienne prouvee par les faits, 2:4, 10.

(38) The patronage, periodization, and varieties of theological appropriation of the Enlightenment will be treated extensively in my forthcoming book, Rise and Fall of Theological Enlightenment; see also Andre Tuilier, L'Universite de Paris', la Sorbonne, et la Revolution." Celebration du Bicentenaire de la Revolution francaise en Sorbonne (Paris: Sorbonne, Fondation 'France-Libertes,' Chancellerie des Universites de Paris, avec le concours des Archives Nationales, 1989), 58; compare with Charles Jourdain, Histoire de l'Universite de Paris au XVIIe et au XVIIIe siecle ([1862-1866] Bruxelles: Impression Anastaltique Culture et Civilization, 1960), 390-391; classical studies on Old Regime French education have been completed by Roger Chattier, Dominique Julia, and Marie-Madeleine Compare, The Education en France du XVIe au XVIIIe siecle (Paris: Societe d'edition d'enseignement superieur, 1976); Dominique Julia and Jacques Revel, ed., Histoire sociale des populations etudiantes, vol. 2, Les Universitde europeens du XVIe au XVIIle siecle, Studies in History and the Social Sciences Series 18 (Paris: Editions de l'ecole des Hautes Etudes Science Sociales, 1989); Jacques Verger, Laurence W. B. Brockliss, Dominique Julia, Victor Korady, Jean-Claude Passeron, and Charles Vulliez, Histoire des Universites en France (Toulouse: Bibliotheque historique Privat, 1986); most significant and comprehensively of late is L. W. B. Brockliss, French Higher Education in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries': A Cultural History (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987); also Notker Hammerstein, "Epilogue: The Enlightenment," in A History of the University in Europe, vol. 2, Universities in Early Modern Europe (1500-1800), ed. Hilde de Ridder-Symoens (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 621-649.

(39) Thomas O'Connor, An Irish Theologian in Enlightenment France: Luke Joseph Hooke, 1714-96 (Dublin: Four Courts, 1995).

(40) Nouvelles ecclesiastiques (14 octobre 1740); O'Connor, Irish Theologian, 9, 40, 60.

(41) For a discussion of Jesuit adaptation of Newton, see Israel, Enlightenment Contested, 772-781.

(42) Mine de Chatelet [Gabrielle Emilie du Chatelet-Lomont, 1706-1749], Lettre 357 a Johann Bernoulli, Paris, 6/7 septembre 1746, Les Lettres de la marquise du Chatelet, ed. Theodore Besterman (Geneve: Institut et Musee Voltaire Les Delices, 1958), 2:152-154; also Roger Pearson, Voltaire Almighty,: A Life, in Pursuit of Freedom (New York: Bloomsbury, 2005), 109-196.

(43) Joseph Delort, Histoire de la detention des philosophes et des gens des lettres a la Bastille et Vincennes precedee de celle de Foucquet de Pellisson et de Laon avec tous les documents authentiques et inedits ([1829] Geneve: Slatkine Reprints, 1967), 2:190-191; Tuilier, Historie de l'Universite de Paris et de la Sorbonne, 2:151-152; also Verger, Brockliss, Julia, et al., Histoire des Universites en France, 218-219; the course of the abbe Sigorgne was published in 1747: see Review of [Pierre] Sigorgne, Institutions Newtonniens, ou Introduction h la philosophie de Newton, 2 vol. in-8 (Paris, 1747), in Mercure (aout 1747), 97-100.

(44) Louis Bertrand Castel, L'Optique des couleurs fondee sur les simples observations, & tournee sur-tout a la practique de la peinture, de la Teinture & des autres arts colorists (Paris: Briasson, 1740), 1-6, 408-447; Castel was on very good terms with Montesquieu throughout the 1720s, and as late as the publication of L'Esprit des lois, Castel wrote stirring tributes to Montesquieu's genius in their private correspondence (1748-1749): see Paul Bastid, "Montesquieu et les Jesuites," in Actes" du Congres Montesquieu reuni a Bordeaux de 23 au 26 mai 1955 pour commemorer le deuxieme centenaire de la mort de Montesquieu (Bordeaux: Delmas, 1956), 313.

(45) "Lettre de Monsieur Baron Doyen de la Faculte de Medecine de Paris, au sujet d'un these qui a pour titre An a functionum integritate mentis sanitas soutenue le huitieme janvier 1733 aux ecoles de medecine, 4 avril 1733," AN, MS. MM 257, fols. 104-106; "Sequitur tenor relationis factae a S. M. Bonnedame, et Decreti Saluberrimac facultatis, 8 avril 1737," AN, MS. MM 257, fols. 189-191; also Robert G. Frank, Jr., "Thomas Willis and His Circle: Brain and Mind in Seventeenth-Century Medicine," in The Languages of Psyche: Mind and Body in Enlightenment Thought." Clarke Lectures 1985-1986, ed. G. S. Rousseau (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), 107-147; Sergio Moravia, "From Homme machine to Homme sensible: Changing Models of Man's Image," Philosophy, Religion and Science in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, ed. John W. Yolton, Library of the History of Ideas 2 (Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Press, 1990), 474-489.

(46) Jean-Baptiste de Boyer, l'eveque de Mirepoix, was in charge of the feuille des benefices and saw to the appointment of Christophe de Beaumont as archbishop of Paris in 1746: Jonathan McManners, Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France (Oxford: Clarendon, 1998), 2:481-482. When Beaumont was appointed archbishop of Paris, the Nouvelles ecclesiastiques proclaimed that his only qualifications were his good looks and his unswerving devotion to the Jesuits. Beaumont was also a personal friend of the Jesuit Guillaume-Francois Berthier, editor in chief of the Journal de Trevoux after 1745. John N. Pappas, Berthier's Journal de Trevoux and the Philosophes, 165, 171-202, 213-223; Nouvelles ecclesiastiques. (14 octobre 1740): 171; Brockliss, French Higher Education, 254-257; for the theology thesis of Sieur Lavaur implied that natural religion "sufficed for obtaining natural beatitude": see Nouvelles ecclesiastiques (20 novembre 1741): 186-187.

(47) David Hudson, "The Regent, Fleury, Jansenism, and the Sorbonne," in French History 8:2 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994): 145, 148; for "purifying" the "citadel" and "sanctuary," see Antoine Le Rouge eulogizing the Faculty Syndic Romigny, in Nouvelles ecclesiastiques, 14 octobre 1740: 171.

(48) Campbell, Power and Politics, 197; The popularization of the political and theological ideologies of Jansenism, like an infectious disease, remained virtually untreatable despite constant harassment by the court, the bishops, and the Jesuits, and constant ridicule by men of letters. As late as 1739, twenty printers and booksellers remained within the Latin Quarter and continued the illegal trade in Jansenist pamphlets and literature. Five of the University of Paris's eleven colleges du plein exercice, as well as three important parishes in the Latin Quarter were still suspected of harboring Jansenist sympathies. The 1739 output of the Latin Quarter in Paris was in addition to the already 11,000 books and pamphlets published by Jansenist supporters throughout France as a whole from 1713-1730: see Campbell, Power and Politics, 203; Julia, "L'affaiblissement de l'Eglise gallicane," in Du Roi Tres Chretien a la laicite republicaine, 24.

(49) For Meseguy, see above n. 27; [Claude Mey], "Remarques sur une these soutenue en Sorbonne le samedi 20 octobre 1751, par M. l'abbe de Lomenie de Brienne preside par M. Buret Professeur Royal en Theologie," BN, Joly de Fleury 292 fol. 291, pp. 1-3.

(50) The Aristotelian axiom that "Nothing is in the intellect which was not first in the senses."

(51) [Mey], "Remarques sur une these soutenue en Sorbonne," BN, Joly de Fleury 292 fol. 291, pp. 1-3; Mey is likely to have had some connection to the Jansenists of the Nouvelles ecelesiastiques, since this journal rather shamelessly plugged the supposed sagacity and orthodoxy of these "Remarques" in NN. EE., 17 mars 1752:46-47.

(52) Tombeau de la Sorbonne, in Oeuvres completes de Voltaire, ed. Besterman, 24:25.

(53) Dale Van Kley, "Factoring Religion in the Century of Lights or Refracting the Enlightenment in Religions" (Atlanta: American Society of Church History Session 2 at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting, 5 January 2007).

(54) McManners, Church and Society in Eighteenth Century France, 2:481-509.

(55) Though well outside the scope of this article, a working definition of Molinism is in order, insofar as Molinist versus Augustinian theologies of grace are really at the heart of the strictly theological quarrels separating Jesuits from Jansenists. Deriving from the sixteenth-century Neo-Scholastic, Luis de Molina, Molinism held that individual free will to do good works was both possible and necessary to salvation. When an individual truly willed to do a good work, and asked God's grace, God would then grant grace sufficient to its accomplishment such that the deed would be credited to the believer as righteousness. This Molinist position was contested even among Jesuits, but to the Jansenists who clung to Augustine's notion that all good works required God's efficacious grace in order to be truly willed and accomplished, the Jesuits were freely demonized as Molinists: Brockliss, French Higher Education in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, 254-255.

(56) Ellen McClure, Sunspots and the Sun King: Sovereignty and Mediation in Seventeenth-Century France (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006).

(57) For the prehistory of the Gallican church factionalism of the 1730s-1750s discussed in the previous two paragraphs, see Dale Van Kley, "The Religious Origins of the French Revolution, 1560-1791," in The Origins of the French Revolution, ed. Campbell, 161-181; for the Sorbonne faculty and its seventeenth-century history, see the pioneering work of Jacques Gres-Gayer, "The Magisterium of the Faculty of Theology in the Seventeenth Century," Theological Studies 53 (1992): 424-450; Gres-Gayer, "The Unigenitus of Clement XI: A Fresh Look at the Issues," Theological Studies 49 (1988): 259-282; also Gres-Gayer, "Tradition et modernite; la reforme des etudes en Sorbonne, 1673 1715)," Revue d'histoire de l'eglise de France, 88 no. 221 (juillet--decembre 2002): 343-389.

(58) Masseau, Les Ennemis des philosophes, 19, 23; compare with Wilson, Diderot, 156-157; Rene de Messieres, "L'Encyclopedie et la crise de la Societe au milieu du XVIIIeme siecle," French Review 24 (October 1950): 395; Robert Darnton, "'Philosophers Trim the Tree of Knowledge: The Epistemological Strategy of the Encyclopedie," in The Great Cat Massacre, ed. Damton, 201-205; Verniere, Spinoza et la pensee francaise avant la Revolution, 2:560-564; Proust, Diderot et l'Encyclopedie, 276-277; Tarin, Diderot et la Revolution francaise, 46; Diderot's first prospectus for the Encyclopedie was summarized favorably in the Mercure de France (December 1740), 108-126; Berthier, "Article 19," in Journal de Trevoux (January 1751): 302-327; republished in Discours preliminaire des editeurs de 1751 et articles de l'encyclopedie introduits par la querelle avec le Journal de Trevoux, ed. Martine Groult (Paris and Geneve, 1999), 33-42; compare with Pappas, Berthier's, Journal de Trevoux and the Philosophes, 171-172.

(59) My forthcoming book on the abbe de Prades and the theological origins of Enlightenment will study, for the first time, the intellectual sociability and the works of the abbe Jean-Martin de Prades in the context of larger movements of Theological Enlightenment within the Church: see Burson, The Rise and Fall of Theological Enlightenment. I am also working on a manuscript that studies the work of Prades's so-called "accomplice," the abbe Claude Yvon: see Jean-Martin de Prades, "Jerusalem coelesti, Quis est ille, cujus in faciem Deus inspiravit spiraculum vitae? (A la Jerusalem celeste, Quel est celui, sur la face duquel Dieu a repandu le souffle de vie?): These soutenue en Sorbonne le 18 novembre 1751," in Apologie du Monsieur l'abbe de Prades, I (Amsterdam: Marc Michel Rey, 1752); Jean-Francois Combes, "La singuliere destine de l'abbe Jean-Martin de Prades," Journal d'etudes: Jean-Martin de Prades, 1782-1982 (Castelsarrasin, 1982): 87-93; Jean-Francois Combes-Malavialle, "L'abbe de Prades hier et aujourd'hui," Bulletin de la Societe archeologique du Tarn-et-Garonne, 113 (1988): 97-114; Combes-Malavialle, "Vues nouvelles sur l'abbe de Paris." Dix-huitieme siecle 20 (1988): 377-397; JeanClaude David, "L'affaire de Prades en 1751-1752 d'apres deux rapports de police," in Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 245 (Oxford: The Voltaire Foundation at the Taylor Institutions, 1986), 359-371; Israel's Contesting Enlightenment, 850-862 similarly addresses the importance of the Affaire de Prades, though he exaggerates the extent of Prades's own indebtedness to Locke and Newton, neglects to consider the nuanced and compromised position of the Sorbonne vis-h-vis the Jesuits, and fails to consider the philosophical depth of the Jesuits' own engagement with Locke, Malebranche, and much of what he defines earlier as the Radical Enlightenment itself.

(60) John Spink, "L'Affaire de J.-M. de Prades," Dix-huitieme siecle 3 (1971): 150-180; Spink, "The Clandestine Book Trade in 1752: The Publication of the Apologie de l'abbe de Prades," in Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature Presented to Robert Niklaus, ed. Fox, Waddicor, and Watts, 243-256.

(61) Dale Van Kley's work on the expulsion of" the Jesuits suggests that there was a recession of theological conflict over Unigenitus once the Jansenists had conspired with the philosophes to demolish the Jesuit order in France. One dissertation by Agnes Ravel concerns the devot party. See as cited in Van Kley, "The Religious Origins of the French Revolution," in Origins of the French Revolution, ed. Campbell, 325-328, 328; see also Van Kley, The Jansenists and the Expulsion of the Jesuits from France, 1757-1765 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1975).

(62) "Sacrae facultatis theologiae Parisiensis commentarii opera et studio M. Herissani actuarii facultatice, 1 March 1752," BN, MS. MM 257, fols. 392-393; Hooke was reinstated into the faculty six months after abbe de Prades (June 1754), though he never regained his chair; Luke-Joseph Hooke would participate in the Sorbonne's censure of Rousseau's Emile in 1764 and would carry on a correspondence with Samuel Johnson and other English Enlightenment figures until his death. He died in 1796, having attacked the Civil Constitution of the Clergy in 1790. See O'Connor, An Irish Theologian in Enlightenment France, 70, 188-189.

(63) Memoires du Duc de Luynes sur la cour de Louis XV, 1735-1758, 8 mars 1752; 8 fevrier 1753, (Paris: Firmin Didot Freres, Fils, et Compagnie, Libraires, 1863), 11:437-438; 12:324.

(64) Ibid., 8 mars 1752, 11:437-439.

(65) The abbe de Brienne seems to have been unnerved by this short brochure attacking his thesis again, even after the paranymph. His treatment by Mirepoix, and even by Maupeou and Joly de Fleury, could not be a more striking contrast to that which greeted Prades by these same men. Brienne went to "the home of M. the old Bishop of Mirepoix, who assured him that he did not need to be the least bit concerned, and that his propositions were very correct." In addition, the duc du Luynes adds, "M. the premiere president, and to M. le procureur generale ... strongly assured him [Briennel that he could be at peace, and they counseled him to keep silent on this work, which would die away by itself." Not long after, the abbe de Brienne received his doctorate from the Sorbonne, and left for Rouen where he became Grand Vicar: see ibid., 8 mars 1752, 11:439.

(66) See "Proces verbale de l'assemblee de messeigneurs les archeveques et eveques tenue a Paris, en l'annee 1752, concernant les enterprises de Paris sur la jurisdiction ecclesiastique," Bibliotheque de la Sorbonne, MS. 258 (St. Sulpice Ms. II, 71), 10-11, 16-17.

(67) Rene Louis de Vayer de Paulmy, marquis d'Argenson, Journal et Memoires, ed. J. B. Rathery, 17 mars 1753 (Paris: Mme. Ve. Jules Renouard, 1865), 7:427; E. J. F. Barbier, Journal historique et anecdotique du regne de Louis XV, mars 1753 (Paris: Jules Renouard et Compagnie, 1851), 3:450; "Memoire de la Faculte de Theologie de Paris depuis 1751 jusqu'a 1786," AN MS. M 71 fol. 195, 4-7.

(68) Barbier, Journal historique, mars 1753, 3:450-452; marquis d'Argenson, Journal et Memoires, 5-6 avril 1753, 3:445-446.

(69) O'Connor, Irish Theologian in Enlightenment France, 53.

(70) "On y menace les Rois, on y calomnie les magistrates." See "Extrait des Registres du Parlement du 3 mars 1755," BN, MS. Anisson-Duperron 22093 fol. 6; "Arrest de la cour de Parlement qui condamne un ecrit intitule Reflexions sur la notoriete de droit & de fait a etre lacere & brule par l'executeur de la Haute-Justice du juin 1755," BN, MS. Anisson-Duperron 2093 Ibis. 26-27.

(71) J Dale K. Van Kley, The Damiens Affair and the Unraveling of the Ancien Regime, 1750-1770 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1984), 126-140.

(72) "Theses de Sorbonne denoncees au Parlement par les Gens de Roy le 6 mai 1755," and "Copies des positions reprehensibles dans les 34 theses avec la copie des observations apres y sous-jointes," "Avis et Memoires sur les affaires publiques," BN MS. Joly de Fleury 311, fols. 80-206; also "Memoire de la Faculte de Theologie de Paris depuis 1751 jusqu'a 1786," AN, MS. M 71 fol. 195, pp. 7-8; also "Extrait des Registres de Parlement du 6 mai 1755," BN MS. Joly de Fleury 311 fols. 290-291.

(73) Only a renewed Declaration of Silence on 2 September 1754 ended the standoff by leaving the king's doctrinal position ambivalent while tacitly recognizing Parlement's ability to prosecute just the most public refusals of the sacrament as violations of secular order. But in response, Parlement resumed its prosecutions with abandon, launching a second, more decisive coup against the Sorbonne's ability to lean on the Beaumont and the devots: ibid.

(74) O'Connor, Irish Theologian in Enlightenment France, 53-55.

(75) On the relationships between bishops, regular clergy, and the seminaries in France, see the fascinating work by C. Ronald Miller, "'The French Seminary in the Eighteenth Century" (Ph.D. diss., Catholic University of America, 1988).

(76) McManners, Church and Society in Eighteenth Century France, 2:518.

(77) "La philosophie n'etait pas la partie brillante de leducation des Jesuites. Je ne sais ce qu'on y apprenait darts la seconde annee, mais dans la premiere, l'idee toujours conforme a son objet, le future contingent, le concours simultane et quelques conclusions subsidiaries contre le jansenisme, formaient la majeure pattie des instructions qu'on nous donna. Le latin en etait mauvais et la methode fort seche." See Memoires de l'abbe Baston, chanoine de Rouen, 3 vols. (Paris: Alphonse Picard et Fils, 1897), 1:30; see also Memoires de l'abbe Millot (1726-1785), ed. Leonce Pingaud, Nouvelle revue retrospective 8 n. s. (January June 1898) (Paris: Bureaux de la Nouvelle revue retrospective, 1898): 73-80.

(78) Tuilier, L'Universite de Paris, la Sorbonne, et la Revolution: Celebration du Bicentenaire de la Revolution francaise en Sorbonne, 58; Jourdain, Histoire de l'Universite de Paris au XVIIe et au XVIIIe siecle, 390-391 (page references to reprint edition); Roger Chartier, Dominique Julia, and Marie-Madeleine Compere, Education en France du XVie au XVIIIe siecle (Paris: Societe d'edition d'enseignement sup6rieur, 1976); Dominique Julia and Jacques Revel, ed., Histoire sociale des populations etudiantes', vol. 2, Les Universites europeens du XVIe au XVIIle siecle, Studies in History and the Social Sciences Series 18 (Paris: Editions de l'ecole des Hautes Etudes Science Sociales, 1989); Jacques Verger, E. W. B. Brockliss, et al., Histoire des Universites en France (Toulouse: Bibliotheque historique Privat, 1986); L. W. B. Brockliss, French Higher Education in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: A Cultural History (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987); Hammerstein, "Epilogue: The Enlightenment," in A History of the University in Europe, vol. 2, Universities in Early Modern Europe (1500 1800), ed. Hilde de Ridder-Symoens, 621-649. O'Connor, Irish Theologian in Enlightenment France, 55-56; Miller, "The French Seminary in the Eighteenth Century," 62-83, 138, 196, and N.B., 223, where he writes, "Surveillance by local parish priests, certificates of attestation and recommendations required of returning seminarians by bishops and seminar superiors suggest a desire on the part of the ecclesiastical leaders to create a uniform clerical culture ... more closely controlled by the church's hierarchy ... the seemingly urgent efforts put forth in clerical education after mid-century may also reflect tears that the church was increasingly being penetrated by dangerous ideals and attitudes emerging out of the Enlightenment." The collaboration between many bishops and the Jesuits was close indeed, and the extent of this closeness is evinced by the defense of the Jesuits given by the Assembly of the Clergy in response to the king's requested investigation of their doctrine and constitutions leading to their expulsion. See "Bulles, lettres des papes, actes du clerge de France, et temoignages de plusieurs hommes celebres en faveur des jesuites," in Antoine Joachim de Cerutti, Apologie de la doctrine morale des" jesuites ou expose de la conduite que les peres de la compagnie de Jesus ont toujours tenue dans l'enseignement de la morale, et sentimens qu'ils ont professes sur le precepte de l'amour de Dieu, sur le peche philosophique et sur le probabilisme de l'Institut des Jesuites (Avignon: Seguin Aine, 1828), 8.

(79) Van Kley, The Damiens Affair, 126-140; according to McManners, Mirepoix died on 13 August 1755: see McManners, Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France, 2:499-500; John Rogister, Louis XV and the Parlement of Paris', 1737-1755, Studies Presented to the International Commission for the History of Representative and Parliamentary Institutions 74 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 176-180; Pierre de Nolhac, Versailles et la Cour de France: Madame de Pompadour et la Politique (Paris: Louis Conard, 1930), 51-59.

(80) Jourdain, Histoire de l'Universite de Paris au XVIIe et au XVIIIe siecle, 394-395.

(81) McManners, Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France, 2:503-508; Nolhac, Versailles et la courde France, 58-59, 69-71, 82-91; Van Kley, Damiens Affair, 140-154.

(82) Van Kley, Damiens Affair, 150-154.

(83) Simon Nicolas Henri, Linguet, Histoire impartialle des jesuites depuis leur etablissement jusqu'a leur premiere expulsion, 2 vols. (Paris, s. n., 1768), X. xxvi, 2:397-400; Van Kley, Damiens Affair, 155-162; Douglas H. Gordon and Norman L. Forrey, The Censoring of Diderot's Encyclopedie and the Re-Established Text (New York: Columbia University Press, 1947), 18.

(84) "Arret definitif contre les jesuites du novembre 1763," BN, MS. Joly de Fleury 1614 fols. 156-157; "Arret de la Cour de Parlement qui juge l'appel comme d'abus interjette par M. de Procureur general, des bulles, brefs, constitutions, & autres reglemens de la Societe soi-disans Jesuits & a tous autres, de porter l'habit de la societe, de vivre sous l'obeissance au general, & aux constitutions de ladite Societe, & entretenir aucune correspondence directe ou indirecte avec la general & les superieurs de cette society; enjoint aux soi-disans Jesuites de vuider les maisons de ladite societe; leur fait defenses de vivre en commun, reservant d'accorder a chacun d'eux sur leur requite, les pensions alimentaires, necessaries, etc. (6 aout 1762)," BN, MS. Joly de Fleury 1609, fols 280-301, N.B. fol. 284 (p. 10); "Observations sur la forme du government de la societe," BN, MS. Joly de Fleury 1609 fol. 9; "Observations sur l'extrait de l'Histoire de Jules Cesar, Journal de Trevoux, mars article XXVIII [n.d. 1759?]," BN, MS. Joly de Fleury 1609 fol. 12.

(85) Van Kley, The Jansenists and the Expulsion of the Jesuits from France, 1757-1765, 4-5, 230-235; Voltaire, Precis du siecle de Louix XV, in Oeuvres completes de Voltaire 14, ed. Beuchot, 399-400.

(86) See in "Article: 41: Medecine de l'esprit, ou l'on traite des dispositions & des causes Physiques, qui, en consequence de l'union de l'ame avec le corps, influent sur les operations de l'esprit, &c. par Antoine le Camus," Journal de Trevoux (mai 1753): 883-886, 899-901; "Article 66: Medecine de l'esprit par Camus, suite de l'artiele 41 au moins d'avril," Journal de Trevoux (aout 1753): 1392, 1395; "Article 30: On Explication physique des sens, des idles, des mouvements, tant volontiers qu 'involontiers, traduite de l'Anglois de M. Hartley par M. l'Abbe Jurain," Jounal de Trevoux (juin 1756): 703-713, 725.

(87) Two additional factors may have tended toward less engagement with the philosophes: first, the new pope, Clement XIII, who replaced Benedict XIV in 1758, was generally less indulgent toward Enlightenment writers in France; second, with the death of Boyer, the old bishop of Mirepoix, on 13 August 1755, the Jeuille des benefices fell to the cardinal-archbishop of Bourges, uncle of Dominique de la Rochelbucauld, who led the moderate party in the 1755 General Assembly of the Clergy. The elder La Rochefoucauld tended to appoint moderate Jansenists to choice benefices in France: see McManners, Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France, 2:502 503, 507-508.

(88) The internationalization of a more moderate reformism among Jansenists and Gallicans, at the expense of the more invasive doctrinal haggling over Unigenitus and Augustininianism characteristic of the 1750s, has recently been analyzed in a thought-provoking article by Dale Van Kley. See Van Kley, "Classical Republicanism in Clerical Garb: Gallican Memories of the Early Church and the Project of Primitivist Reform, 1719 1791," Past and Present (forthcoming). I am indebted to Professor Van Kley for graciously allowing me to read early drafts of this article.

(89) Van Kley, The Expulsion of the Jesuits from France, 232-233; Masseau, Les Ennemis des philosophes, 24; Jean le Rond d'Alembert, "Troisieme et derniere lettre a M. ***, conseiller au parlement de ***, pour server de supplement a l'ouvrage: Sur let destruction des Jesuites" in Oeuvres & correspondence completes d'Alembert, ed. Charles Henry (Geneve: Slatkine Reprints, 1967), 27-34; on increased popularity of the philosophes and secularization of dominant issues to the detriment of theological concerns after 1763, see Sara Maza, Private Lives and Public Affairs: The Causes Celebres of Pre-Revolutionary France (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 65; Masseau, Ennemis des philosophes: l'antiphilosophie au temps des lumieres, 158-159; for the theologically moderating influence of Lazarist seminaries in the second half of the eighteenth century, see Miller, "The French Seminary in the Eighteenth Century," 68.

(90) Masseau, Les ennemis des philosophes, 24.

(91) Claude Adrien d'Helvetius, De l'Esprit, vol. 1, Oeuvres completes (Paris: Mme. Ve LePetit, 1818), l, 1-12; II.i, 4-6 (henceforth cited Helvetius, De l'Esprit, I, 1-12; II.i, 4-6).

(92) Helvetius, De l'Esprit I.ii, 15.

(93) Ibid., II.i, 43;, 71-76.

(94) Ibid., II.xxiv, 217-218.

(95) Ibid.,, 74.

(96) As Didier Masseau phrases it, "A lire ces condemnations, on a le sentiment, que chaque instance est acculee a la surenchere repressive, comme si le moindre retard risquait de passer pour un signe de faiblesse et d'inefficacite": see Ennemis des philosophes, 133.

(97) Mandement de Monseigneur I 'Archeveque de Paris pertant condemnation d 'un livre qui a pour titre, De l'Esprit (Paris: Simon, 1758), 28 pp., BN, MS. Joly de Fleury 352, fol. 18; for the earliest Jansenist respense, see D. W. Smith, Helvetius: A Study in Persecution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965), 67-68; Masseau, Ennemis des philosophes, 132; Berthier had devoted seventy pages to criticizing the materialist tendencies of De I'Esprit in the September, October, and November 1758 issues of Journal de Trevoux. See Jack R. Censer, The French Press in the Age of Enlightenment (London: Routledge, 1994), 89-90; a formal papal condemnation also followed in 1759: Damnatio et prohibitio operas, cui titulus: De l'esprit: a Paris chez Durand, in-4, 1758, Clemens Papa XIII (Romae: Ex Typographia reverendae camarae apostolicae, M.DCC.LIX), 4 pp., BN, MS. Anisson-Duperron 22094, fol. 6.

(98) J. M. J. Rogister, "'Louis-Adrien Lepaige and the Attack on De I 'esprit and the Encyclopedie in 1759," The English Historical Review, 92, no. 364 (July 1977): 526.

(99) Ibid., 530-531.

(100) The topic warrants further study, but the same dynamic may have been at work when, in 1762, Jean-Jacques Rousseau was condemned by Beaumont, the Parlement of Paris, and the Sorbonne for his sentiments in the Emile. Yvon upbraids Rousseau for attacking Archbishop Beaumont for issuing his Mandement against Emile only because the Parlement of Paris acted first. If Beaumont's behavior in 1751-1752 and 1757-1759 is any indication of his response to Rousseau, then there may be a kernel of troth in Rousseau's attack: see Claude Yvon, Lettres d Monsieur Rousseau, peur server de repose d sa lettre contre le mandement de Monsieur l'archeveque de Paris (Amsterdam: Marc-Michel Rey, 1763), 109. The campaign that culminated in the suppression and expulsion of the Jesuits from 1762 1764 can, in this sense, be directly linked to the 1758 attack on Helvetius in the Nouvelles ecclesiastiques and the Parlement of Paris. Lepaige's article cast renewed aspersion on the Jesuits' own heritage of theological enlightenment as prominent bishops who were not favorable to the Jesuits revisited the controversies surrounding works by Berruyer and Hardoun that had been dormant for some time. See Mandement et Instruction pastorale de Monseigneur l'eveque de Soissons, portant condemnation I. du Commentaire Latin du Fr. Hardouin de la Compagnie de Jesus sur le Nouveau Testament: II. des trois parties de l'Histoire du Peuple de Dieu ... par le P. Isaac-Joseph Berruyer de la Compagnie de Jesus; III. De plusieurs libelles publiees pour la defense de la second partie de cette histoire (Paris: Desaint & Saillant, 1759), 16 pp., BN, MS. Anisson-Duperron fol. 14. This Archepiscopal mandement condemned Berruyer's original edition of Histoire du people de Dieu in 1728, as well as all subsequent editions (1728, 1733), abridgements (1753, 1754), and even Berruyer's defense of his own work in 1755 and 1759.

(101) Memoires sur la Librairie et la liberte tie la Presse (Paris, 1809; Geneva: Slatkine Reprint, 1969), 351-352; Arrest de la Cour de Parlement, pertant condemnation de plusieurs livres & autres ouvrages imprimes (22 janvier 1759) (Paris: Simon, 1759), 31 pp., BN, MS. Anisson-Duperron 22094 fol. 1 ff.

(102) Gordon, Forrey, Censoring of Diderot's Encyclopedie, 19; this elevation of social utility as the single most important moral and epistemological criterion is, in fact, a decisive turning point separating the earlier French Enlightenment characteristic of the regency period to the 1750s from the later, more anticlerical and secular variant that became salient after 1758-1763. See Ira O. Wade, The Intellectual Development of Voltaire (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1969), 773-774; compare with Ira O. Wade, The Structure and the Form of the French Enlightenment, 2 vols. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1977), 1:50-52. Yet, Voltaire remained consistently albeit fideistically open to the possibility of revealed religion until well into the 1750s, and even thereafter his writings are ambivalent. Only with the 1750s is truth and enlightenment defined as whatever the human mind comprehends, and whatever does not detract from the progress of that comprehension. The very definition of metaphysics, itself, becomes synonymous with the use of any particular body of knowledge in advancing human understanding. See [Diderot], "Metaphysique," in Encyclopedie ou Dictionnaire raisonne des sciences, des arts, et des metiers (Neufchastel: Samuel Faulche, 1765), 10:440.

(103) Even a partial list of the works mentioned in the Sorbonne's censure is sufficient to demonstrate the sweeping breadth of this campaign against "impiety": 1) Hobbes's De l'Homme, 2) Diderot's Pensees philosophiques, 3) Locke's Essai sur l'entendement humaine, 4) the marquis d'Argens's Memoires secretes de la republique de lettres, 5) Code de la Nature, 6) La Mettrie's L 'Homme machine, his Essai sur la bonheur, and the Discours preliminaire to his collected works, 7) Collins's Ecrit sur la liberte, 8) Hume's Essais philosophiques sur l'entendement humain, 8) the French translation of Spinoza's Tractatus Theolo-peliticus, 9) Montesquieu's Lettres persanes and Esprit des lois, 10) Toussaint's Les Moeurs, 11) Machiavelli's Le Prince. See BN, MS. Anisson-Duperron 22094, fol. 10ff.

(104) Determinatio Sacrae Facultatis Parisiensis super libro cui titulus De l 'Esprit/Censure de la Faculte de Theologie de Paris', contre le livre qui a pour titre, De l 'Esprit (Paris: Jean-Baptiste Gamier, 1759), 79 pp., BN, MS. Anisson-Duperron 22094, fol. 10ff; Masseau, Ennemis des philosophes, 139-141.

(105) Determinatio Sacrae Facultatis Parisiensis, BN, MS. Anisson-Duperron 22094, fol. 10ff, pp. 1-11.

(106) L'abbe [Gabriel-Francois] Coyer, "Lettre au R. P. Berthier sur le materialisme" [1758], in Oeuvres completes" de m. l'abbe Coyer, 4 vols. (Paris: La Veuve Duchesne Librairie, 1782), 1:309-358.

(107) Grimm, Diderot, Raynal, Meister, Correspondance litteraire, philosophique et critique, revue sur les texts originaux comprenant outre ce qui a ete public a diverses epoques les fragments supprimes, conserves a la Bibliotheque Ducale de Gotha et a l'Arsenal a Paris, avec notices,

notes, table generale par Maurice Toumeux, 16 vols. (Paris: Gamier Freres, 1878; repr. Nendeln/ Liechtenstein: Kraus Reprint, 1968), 238-241.

(108) Jacques Proust, Diderot et l'Encyclopedie (Paris: Armand Colin, 1967), 296-298; compare with Robert Shackleton, "When did the Philosophes Become a Party," Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, vol. 60 (1977): 197; Messieres, "L'Encyclopedie et la crise de la Societe au milieu du XVIIIeme siecle," French Review 24 (October 1950): 393.

(109) "Letter of Turgot to I'abbe Millot a Paris 2 September 1762," in Memoires de l'abbe Millot (1726-1785), ed. Pingaud, in Nouvelle revue retrospective 8 n. s. (January-June 1898): 164-165; see also estimation of Andre Latrelle, that "the church utilized 'le bras seculier' inconsistently and ineffectually in trying to stamp out incredulite" in Latrelle, L'Eglise Catholique et la Revolution Francaise: Le pentificat de Pie VI et la crise Francaise (1775-1799) (Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1946), 2:21-22.

(110) Etienne Bonnot de Condillac, Essai sur l'origine des connaissances humaines (1746), in Oeuvres philosophiques de Condillac, 2 vols. (Paris, 1746; Paris: Dufart, 1795/Annee 3), Part I, Sec. 1, Chap. i. 6-8, 1:5-10.

(111) John C. O'Neal, The Authority of Experience: Sensationist Theory in the French Enlightenment (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996), 22, 246; also John C. O'Neal, Changing Minds: The Shifting Perception of Culture in Eighteenth-Century France (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2002), 95-96.

(112) Andre Babelon, introduction to Diderot, Correspondance inedite publiee d'apres les manuscrits originaux (Paris: Librairie Gallimard, Editions de la nouvelle revue francaise, 1931), 1:48-49.

(113) [Diderot], "Lettre a mon frere du decembre 1760," in Oeuvres de Denis Diderot publiees sur les manuscrits de l'auteur, 15 vols., ed. Jacques-Andre Naigeon (Paris: Deterville, an VIII [1800]), 1:413, 1:416, 1:420.

(114) Diderot adapts his article on the Crusades from the Histoire ecclesiastique of abbe de Fleury and recounts, first, the gory details of the Peasants' Crusades, concluding in the end that the depopulation of Europe and the ruin of church discipline and of agriculture during the Middle Ages were all the result of these bloody wars against heresy: see "Croisades," in Encyclopedie (Paris: Briasson, David, Le Breton, Durand, 1754), 4:502-505; Proust, Diderot et l'Encyclopedie, 297-298. Elsewhere, Diderot writes, "Pourqui donc ne prenez-vous pas pour une faussete, une supposition que vous ne pouvez appliquer a aucune question metaphysique, physique, pelitique, et morale, sans obscurcir?" See "Lettre 54 au Damilaville (12 septembre 1765)," in Correspondance inedite, 279; a similar transformation of d'Alembert's religious views appears evident beginning between 1752-1765. Perhaps reflecting on the "inquisition" spoken of by the marquis d'Argenson and Barbier, d'Alembert recommended, "Que les souverains m'eprisent et ignorant les disputes de religion; elles ne deviendront ni turbulentes ni funestes. Qu'ils favorisent les progres de la raison, et ces disputes deviendront ridicules ... Aux interest de la seule religion veritable ... doit tender, autant qu'il est possible, a detruire et a saper les autres, non par la force, mais par le raisonnement et la persuasion." Jean le Rond d'Alembert, "Fragment sur la veritable religion" in Oeuvres et correspondences inedites, ed. Charles Henry (Geneve: Slatkine Reprints, 1967), 1, 3.

(115) Proust, Diderot et l'Encyclopedie, 303-305; 313-323.

(116) Colin Jones, The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon, 1715-99 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 173.

(117) Gordon' Forrey, Censoring of Diderot's Encyclopedie, 17.

(118) Lough, The Contributors to the Encyclopedie, 23.

(119) "Lettre 20 a Voltaire, 19 fevrier 1758," in Correspondance generale II, vol. 19, Oeuvres completes de Diderot, ed. J. Assezat et Maurice Tourneux (Paris: Garnier, 1876), 451.

(120) "Lettre 28 a Voltaire, 20 septembre 1762," in ibid., 464-465.

(121) Anitus promises Drixa that he will do away with Socrates because the object of Drixa's affections, Sophronime, is one of Socrates's disciples. Similarly, Aglae, the object of the unrequited affections of Anitus, is also attached to Socrates. Naked self-interest and personal grudges become, for Voltaire, the sole reasons for the persecution of "philosophie": see Voltaire, Socrate: Ouvrage dramatique en trois actes traduit de l'anglais de feu M. Thomson par Jeu Fatema, comme on sait (1759), Act I, Scene 2, 5, 7, in Oeuvres' completes de Voltaire, nouvelle edition, ed. Beuchot (Paris: Garnier Freres, 1877), 5:366-379.

(122) Ibid., Act II, Scene 6, 5:380.

(123) Gordon, Forrey, Censoring of Diderot's Encyclopedie, 24.

(124) [Voltaire], "Philosophe," in Encyclopedie (Paris: Briasson, David, Le Breton, Durand, 1765), 12:511-515; see also Voltaire, "Introduction aux Questions sur l'Encyclopedie par les amateurs," in Oeuvres completes, ed. Beuchot (Paris: Garnier, 1878), 17:3-5.

(125) Voltaire, "Bornes de l'esprit humain," in Dictionnaire philosophique, edition presentee et annotee par Alain Pons (Paris: Gallimard, 1994), 106-107.

(126) Ibid., 54-55.

(127) Ibid., 55.

(128) Ibid., 55.

(129) See similar discussion of eighteenth-century apologetics in Hisayasu Nakagawa, "J.-J. Rousseau et J.-G. Pompignan: La 'Profession de foi du vicaire savoyard' et 'De la religion civile' critiques par l'Instruction pastorale"; Didier Masseau, "La position des apologistes conciliateurs"; Arnoux Straudo, "L'abbe Gauchat, un apologiste des Lumieres" in Dix-huitieme siecle 34 (2002): 67-76; 121-130; 277 288.

(130) Everdell, Christian Apologetics in France, 1730-1790, 104-125.

(131) Ibid., 140-141, 152-153, 194.

(132) Burson, "Abdication of Legitimate Heirs," in Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century (2005/7), 297-325.

(133) Margaret C. Jacob, Strangers Nowhere in the World: The Rise of Cosmopolitanism in Early Modern Europe (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006).

(134) Anderson, Imagined Communities, 12.

Jeffrey D. Burson is an assistant professor of history at Macon State College.
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Date:Dec 1, 2008
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