'La Violence et la mauvaise foi': Context and rhetoric in Pierre Bayle's Ce que c'est que la France toute Catholique
Browne, Jennifer Margaret Mary
University College Cork
My thesis presents an examination of Ce que c'est que la France toute Catholique (1686) by Pierre Bayle, a prominent figure in the Republic of Letters and the Huguenot Refuge in the seventeenth century. This pamphlet was the first occasional text that Bayle published following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in which the religious toleration afforded to the Huguenot minority in France was repealed, a pivotal moment in the history of early modern France. In my thesis, I analyse the specific context within which Bayle wrote this pamphlet as a means of addressing a number of issues, including the legitimacy of forced conversions, the impact of the religious controversy upon exchanges in the Republic of Letters, the nature of religious zeal and finally the alliance of Church and state discourses in the early modern period. An examination of this context provides a basis from which to re-interpret the rhetorical strategies at work within the pamphlet, and also to come to an increased understanding of how, why and to what end he wrote it. In turn this allowed me to examine the relationship between this often overlooked pamphlet and the more extensively studied Commentaire Philosophique, in which Bayle argued in favour of religious toleration. Ultimately, understanding the relationship between these two texts proves essential in order to characterise his response to the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes and to understand the place of the pamphlet within his oeuvre. Furthermore, an analysis of the pamphlet and the Commentaire Philosophique provide a lens through which to elucidate both Bayle's intellectual development at this early stage in his career, and also the wider context of the rise of toleration theory and the evolution of modes of civility within the Republic of Letters on the eve of the Enlightenment.
Pierre Bayle , Ce que c'est que la France toute Catholique , Republic of Letters , Rhetoric , Nouvelles de la République des Lettres
Browne, J.M.M. 2013. 'La Violence et la mauvaise foi': Context and rhetoric in Pierre Bayle's Ce que c'est que la France toute Catholique. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.