Rousseau and l’Infâme

Religion, Toleration, and Fanaticism in the Age of Enlightenment


Editor: Ourida Mostefai
Ecrasez l’infâme! Voltaire’s rallying cry against fanaticism resonates with new force today. Nothing suggests the complex legacy of the Enlightenment more than the struggle of superstition, prejudice, and intolerance advocated by most of the Enlightenment philosophers, regardless of their ideological differences. The aim of this book is to undertake a reconsideration of the controversies surrounding the questions of religion, toleration, and fanaticism in the eighteenth century through an examination of Rousseau’s dialogue with Voltaire. What come to light from this confrontation are two leading and at times competing world views and conceptions of the place of the engaged writer in society.
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Biographical Note

Ourida Mostefai is Associate Professor of French at Boston College. Author of Le Citoyen de Genève et la République des Lettres: étude de la controverse autour de la “Lettre à d’Alembert” (2003), she has edited Lectures de “La Nouvelle Héloïse” (1993) and co-edited, with John C. O’Neal, Approaches to Teaching Rousseau’s “Confessions” and “Rêveries” (2003).
John T. Scott is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis. He has translated and edited Rousseau’s Essay on the Origin of Languages and Writings Related to Music, and edited Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers (4 volumes, 2005). He is the author, with Robert Zaretsky, of The Rift: Rousseau, Hume and the Quarrel that Shook the Enlightenment (2009).

Table of contents

Acknowledgments Editors’ Preface Notice on citations and abbreviations Voltaire, Rousseau, and L’infâme Raymond TROUSSON : Tolérance et fanatisme selon Voltaire et Rousseau The victims of fanaticism J. Patrick LEE: The condemnation of fanaticism in Voltaire’s Sermon du rabbin Akib Anne-Marie MERCIER-FAIVRE : Du Traité sur la tolérance de Voltaire aux Lettres écrites de la montagne de Rousseau: Variations sur la victime du fanatisme Ourida MOSTEFAI : Singularité et exemplarité du cas “Jean-Jacques”: théorie et expérience du fanatisme chez Rousseau Religion against intolerance John T. SCOTT: Pride and providence: Religion in Rousseau’s Lettre à Voltaire sur la providence Christopher BERTRAM: Toleration and pluralism in Rousseau’s civil religion Bruno BERNARDI : La religion civile, institution de tolérance? Fanaticism, cruelty, and pity Christopher KELLY: Pious cruelty: Rousseau on Voltaire’s Mahomet Jeremiah L. ALBERG: Preventing fanaticism through transcendental violence: The second part of the “Profession de foi” Zev TRACHTENBERG: Civic fanaticism and the dynamics of pity Atheism and toleration Philip STEWART: Are atheists fanatics? Variations on a theme of Locke and Bayle John Hope MASON: At the limits of toleration: Rousseau and atheism Rousseau and l’Infâme revisited Jean-François PERRIN : Penser l’hégémonie: intolérance et Lumières dans Rousseau juge de Jean-Jacques Michel SCHMOUCHKOVITCH : Portrait d’un fanatique? Jean-Jacques en Diogène Note on contributors Index