Nineteenth-Century Religious Thought

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In the nineteenth century, religious thinkers had to respond to major political, scientific and social challenges. The French Revolution and the republican tradition, Darwinism and historical criticism, industrialisation and urbanisation: all posed questions about the place of religion in modern France. The first part of this chapter treats the evolution of ultramontanism and liberal Catholicism (Maistre, Lamennais, Montalembert, Veuillot) as responses to the changing political position of the Church in postrevolutionary France. The second part explores both the challenge from new forms of scientific and historical thinking (Darwin, Renan) and new forms of Catholic scholarship and philosophy that developed in response (Chateaubriand, Lagrange, Loisy, Brunetière, Boutroux). A third section notes both the religious inflection of early socialism (Enfantin, Esquiros, Cabet) and the efforts of Catholic social thought to engage with the social question (Lamennais, Ozanam, Le Play). We see that while many religious thinkers spent the century locked in a predominantly responsive and often nostalgic mode, they nonetheless engaged with the century’s new forms of literary, political and scholarly engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of French Thought
EditorsMichael Moriarty, Jeremy Jennings
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781107163676
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2019

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