Arnold Ages
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In his correspondence Rousseau’s unfolding of character shows him to be a brilliant polemicist when pushed against the wall by religious fanaticism. That brilliance manifests itself in the sharpness of his argument, the clarity of his images and the combative vocabulary which he can summon effortlessly. On the religious issue his letters are full of sarcasm, indignation and regret. This is the outcome of his encounter with theodium theologicum, that non-filterable virus which forced him to uproot himself frequently and traverse the map of Europe seeing respite and asylum. The letters contain relatively little on the substantive issues raised in theological discourse; they reflect Rousseau’s response to the unfortunate result of that discourse as they were concretized in his own life through persecution and ostracism. It is not surprising, therefore that the letters are a kind of sermon in which Rousseau calls for an ecumenical approach to religion in which, as he put it in theLettre de la Montagne, where there can be “de grands changements dans les coeurs, des conversions sans clat, de la foi sans dispute, du zle sans fanatisme, de la raison sans impit”.

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Language English
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Founder Akadémiai Kiadó
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
Springer Nature Switzerland AG
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
CH-6330 Cham, Switzerland Gewerbestrasse 11.
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 0324-4652 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2810 (Online)

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