Chapter

The Pagan Menace

Larry F. Norman

in The Shock of the Ancient

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780226591483
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226591506 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226591506.003.0008
The Pagan Menace

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In many ways the quarrel can be seen as another battle in the long struggle between Christian and pagan cultures—or, at least, pagan culture as digested and transmitted by Renaissance humanists. It is certainly true that few causes so clearly united the Moderns as their shared animosity toward Greco-Roman polytheism, to which they opposed a rationalist form of Christianity. Of course, the union of Cartesian reason and Christian faith was not always an easy alliance, despite the prodigious efforts at synthesis by figures such as Malebranche. Sometimes the balance tilts toward faith, as with Perrault, and sometimes toward a more critical rationalism, as with Fontenelle. And in Fontenelle's case, the wry skepticism concerning the abuses of religion may even cast doubt on the sincerity of his praise of the reasonableness of Christianity.

Keywords: quarrel; Christian culture; pagan culture; Renaissance; Greco-Roman polytheism; rationalism

Chapter.  5007 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature

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