Questioning church doctrine in private correspondence in the eighteenth century : Jean Bouhier’s doubts concerning the soul
Title: Questioning church doctrine in private correspondence in the eighteenth century : Jean Bouhier’s doubts concerning the soul
Author: THOMSON, Ann
Citation: Anne DUNAN-PAGE and Clotilde PRUNIER (eds), Debating the faith : religion and letter writing in Great Britain, 1550-1800, Dordrecht ; New York, Springer, 2013, International archives of the history of ideas ; Archives internationales d'histoire des idées, Vol. 209, pp. 195-208
ISBN: 9789400752153; 9789400752160
This chapter discusses the exchange of letters, dating from the late 1730s and early 1740s, between Jean Bouhier of the Dijon Parlement and certain Protestant thinkers in Switzerland. In these letters Bouhier expressed heterodox views on the human soul and thinking matter, which were part of a tradition dating from certain Church Fathers. These letters show the influence of English theological debates in the early years of the century, which had been reported in learned periodicals, often by Huguenot exiles. We see that sincere Christians like Bouhier were willing to examine critically in private certain key teachings of the Church in ways which they believed to be consistent with Christian belief. While the inability to hold such discussions publicly in France pushed others into opposition to Christianity, it would be a mistake to assume that such doubts were necessarily proof of irreligious tendencies.
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