Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-sxzjt Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-20T08:51:33.971Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

vii - Defense of The Spirit of Law (1750)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 November 2020

David W. Carrithers
Affiliation:
University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
Philip Stewart
Affiliation:
Duke University, North Carolina
Get access

Summary

Although The Spirit of Law (1748) was greeted very favorably in many quarters, a Jansenist writer in the Nouvelles Ecclésiastiques charged Montesquieu with lack of respect for Christianity and with being a follower of natural religion. Montesquieu’s response was that his critic had failed to understand that he was writing, not as a theologian, but as a “jurisconsult” (legal scholar) exploring what laws are most suitable for a given people considering their character and situation. Montesquieu acknowledges that although he had discussed many non-Christian customs, he was “not justifying the customs but giving the reasons for them.” He also stressed that he had rebutted the views of both Bayle and Spinoza. He notes that he had called out Bayle for his error in believing that “a society of true Christians could not survive” and had refuted Spinoza’s fatalism by asserting that “those who have said that a blind fate has produced all the effects that we see in the world have uttered a great absurdity.”

Type
Chapter
Information
Montesquieu
Discourses, Dissertations, and Dialogues on Politics, Science, and Religion
, pp. 224 - 263
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×