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Scepticism, atheism and libertinism: A study of the polemic between Francois Garasse and Francois Ogier, 1623-25.

Erskine, Andrew Duncan; (1996) Scepticism, atheism and libertinism: A study of the polemic between Francois Garasse and Francois Ogier, 1623-25. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The Jesuit Garasse's Doctrine curieuse (1623), an attack on what he saw as the rise of atheism, has been quoted by many modern scholars, most notably Pintard in his Libertinage erudit (1943), as proof that libertinism existed in doctrinal form from the 1620s. This 'intellectual libertinism', as Pintard calls it, was allegedly practised by such influential thinkers as Gassendi, Naude and La Mothe Le Vayer, and was the direct forerunner of later 17th- and 18th-century free thought. Pintard's case rests on the assumption that Garasse was right to condemn Charron's De la Sagesse (1601) as the work of a secret atheist. Ogier, on the other hand, read De la Sagesse as a secular work by a Christian sceptic and humanist who was unquestionably devout and true to his priestly calling. In his Judgement & censure du livre de la doctrine curieuse (1623), Ogier condemns Garasse as a wordy scholastic unfit to judge the works of learned humanists; he sees him as an ignorant and narrow scholastic teacher, inaccurate in his scholarship and with a mind closed to humanist learning. A historical study of the polemic between Ogier and Garasse shows that their differences were the traditional ones one might expect: both the scholastic Garasse and the humanist Ogier use terms and arguments common in the polemics of their Renaissance antecedents. Ogier's view of Charron as a Christian humanist is echoed by Port-Royal's Saint-Cyran in his attack on Garasse's Somme theologique (1625) where he defends Charron as an Augustinian and condemns Garasse as an incompetent theologian. Moreover, Garasse's Somme, where he expresses his own Christian apology and theology, contains a surprising development: while continuing to censure Charron as a writer, he himself makes use of many of the Christian sceptics' arguments - precisely those for which he had condemned Charron.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Scepticism, atheism and libertinism: A study of the polemic between Francois Garasse and Francois Ogier, 1623-25.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10108393
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