- 東京大学宗教学年報 (ISSN:02896400)
- no.31, pp.17-34, 2013
論文/ArticlesDid the concept of "religion" change in the aftermath of the French Revolution? If so, in what way did it evolve? This article argues that there was indeed a change in conceptualizing religion during this period and tries to partially explain it by comparing the approaches of Voltaire and Chateaubriand to religion. Though these French writers belonged to two different generations, they were both anglophiles and were able to reflect on the religious situation in France with reference to England. What is often said about these two is that the former criticized religion while the latter defended it. However, we should bear in mind that Voltaire was never an atheist in the strict sense of the word despite his fierce criticism of religious institutions, for he believed in the existence of God which transcended different religious denominations. Also, Chateaubriand was an ardent proponent of Enlightenment thought, although he became a devout Christian. In other words, we need to understand the complex nature of religious discourse especially during this transitional period. A key word in Voltaire's religious critique is "tolerance". While he celebrated religious diversity in England and was greatly influenced by John Locke's work, especially A Letter Concerning Toleration(1689), Voltaire did not share the same vision as this English philosopher. Unlike Locke, who vindicated religious liberty and presupposed the separation of the religious community from political institutions, Voltaire's idea of religious tolerance was based on the assumption that the religious system should be subordinated to the political system, thereby placing little importance on religious liberty. As for Chateaubriand, religious liberty occupies an important place in his thought, but as an antirevolutionary thinker, he emphasized it in a conservative manner. The Genius of Christianity(1802) is an attempt to vindicate the Christian faith by reinterpreting the notion of liberty. Here, Chateaubriand reappropriates Christian discourse and attempts to restore Catholicism to its rightful place. Nevertheless, this reappropriation is not so much explained by theological as cultural impetus, because religious faith for him was a matter of individual commitment.