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Catholic Particularity in Seventeenth-Century French Writing'Christianity is Strange'$
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Richard Parish

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199596669

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596669.001.0001

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Particularity and Polemic (ii): Quietism

Particularity and Polemic (ii): Quietism

(p.162) 7 Particularity and Polemic (ii): Quietism
Catholic Particularity in Seventeenth-Century French Writing

Richard Parish

Oxford University Press

The second part of this bipartite enquiry looks at the movement known as Quietism. This is above all associated with its principal exponent, Madame Guyon, whose works are examined. It looks at the apparently technical distinctions between contemplation and meditation, and at the progressively more personal polemic that was initiated between Bossuet and Fénelon, whose attitudes were both divergent and yet grounded in the same dogmatic principles. It also stresses the role of the spiritual director, and of the process of vulgarization in the promotion of the highest spiritual ideals. As in the previous chapter, the enquiry concludes with an examination of the possible reasons for the attractiveness of the movement, and a comparative survey of the two perceived heresies with respect to the criterion of tolerance.

Keywords:   Quietism, Madame Guyon, contemplation, meditation, Bossuet, Fénelon, spiritual direction, vulgarization, tolerance

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