Modern Societies and the Science of Religions: Studies in Honour of Lammert Leertouwer

By Gerard Wiegers | Go to book overview

DEUX INSTITUTIONS DE SCIENCE DES RELIGIONS EN
FRANCE:
LA SECTION DES SCIENCES RELIGIEUSES DE ĽECOLE
PRATIQUE DES HAUTES ETUDES (EPHE)
LE CROUPE DE SOCIOLOGIE DES RELIGIONS1
JEAN BAUBéROTEcole pratique desHautesEtudes. Section des Sciences religieuses
LE CONTEXTE DE LA FIN DU XIXE SIèCLE: LA LAïCISATION
La Section des Sciences Religieuses de l'EPHE est née dans le contexte de la laïcisation scolaire. Rappelons que la laïcité française est le résultat d'un conflit sous la Révolution et poursuivi pendant tout le XIXe siècle entre les 'deux France' qui out été communément nominées la 'France cléricale' et 'la France anticléricale'.2 La création de la section des Sciences Religieuses (ou Cinquième Section de l'E.P.H.E) constitue, dans une première approche, une des nombreuses mesures laïcisatrices prise par le gouvernement républicain, représentatif de la 'France anticléricale' (au sens large). Mais cette mesure peut être considérée comme un des indices, également nombreux, que la 'République des Républicains' (selon l'expression consacrée) a, globalement, maitrisée son anticléricalisme et a établi, en fait, une laïcité à dominante libérale qui a progressivement permis une pacification des 'deux France'.Reprenons, rapidement, chacun de ces deux points:
1. De 1879 à 1886, plusieurs mesures out limité l'influence culturelle de la religion, essentiellement du Catholicisme, sur la société. En effet tant que la France restait culturellement une 'nation catholique' la République apparaissait fragile. Il fallait donc, en quelque sorte, dénationaliser le catholicisme pour qu'il devienne, autant que faire se

1 Dans une répartition volontaire des tâches, il a été convenu qu'à l'étude
générale de M. Meslin, j'ajouterai un complément spécifique sur les deux institutions
qui se sont spécialisées, en France, dans la science des religions: la section des Sci-
ences Religieuses de l'Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE). fondėe en 1886, et
le Groupe de Sociologie des Religions (GSR) au GNRS, crée en 1954.

2 Baubérot 1998.

-55-

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