Andromaque

Andromaque

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Andromaque

Andromaque

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Two hostile religious factions kept the minds of seventeenth-century France, and especially of seventeenth-century Paris, in a state of ferment. The wars and persecutions of the preceding century had left in the hearts of men a taste for a stern, rugged, and ascetic religion. So there arose gradually a strong feeling of dissatisfaction with the supple attitude of the Jesuits, who, through their control of the theological faculty of Paris, the Sorbonne, exercised the spiritual direction of the period. Jansenius, bishop of Yprès (1585–1638), in his “Augustinus” (published 1640) formulated the dogmas upon which his followers, the Jansenists, based their revolt. The teachings of Jansenius, which are quite similar to those of Calvin, denied man’s freedom of will, and revived the doctrine of predestination, whereby one’s salvation depends wholly upon the arbitrary and irrevocable decree of the Almighty. The headquarters of the sect, or better its sanctuary, was Port-Royal des Champs, an abbey situated well out of Paris in the Faubourg SaintJacques. To the comparative solitude of this place there retired, from 1638 on, some of the most intellectual, the most highly educated, and the most upright men of the century. Without taking any vows, they lived the life of ascetics, dividing their time between physical labor, study, writing, and teaching. The movement is thus characterized by Lanson : “Jansenism plunges man into the depths of his misery and inanity ; it holds ever before him the inaccessible perfection to which he must attain. It drives him to despair, it crushes him, it obliges him to renounce . . .

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