The Apologie de Raimond Sebond

  • Craig B. Brush
Part of the Archives Internationales D’Histoire des Idees / International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 14)


Raymond Sebond’s book, the Theologia naturalis sive Liber Creaturarum, the work which the “Apologie de Raymond Sebond” purports to defend, had long been known at the château of Montaigne. According to the essayist, Pierre Bunel, a humanist scholar of Toulouse, left a copy of this book as a parting present to Pierre Eyquem, the father of the future apologist, recommending it as a “most useful” book, appropriate to the time because it provided an antidote against Lutheranism, which was beginning to undermine the traditional faith of the Catholic Church.1 Although the date of Bunel’s visit to Montaigne is unknown, it was most probably between his return from Italy in 1538 and his death in 1546, hence during Montaigne’s childhood.


Human Nature Human Reason Theologia Naturalis Christian Religion Divine Revelation 
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  1. 1.
    II: xii, 415–416a. On Bunel, see Zeitlin, Essays, II, 484–485, and Busson, Le Rationalisme dans la littérature française de la Renaissance, chap. IV, i.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    “Tout ce que nous sçavons, c’est qu’il estoit Espaignol, faisant profession de medecine à Thoulouse, il y a environ deux cens ans” (p. 417a).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Coppin, Montaigne traducteur de Raymond Sebond, p. 11.Google Scholar
  4. 1.
    Coppin (Montaigne traducteur, p. 72) finds that the few inaccuracies of translation in Montaigne’s French version of the Liber creaturarum tend to be concentrated in the metaphysical chapters on God’s Being. Sebond’s arguments about Being occasionally sound like Spinoza; for example, there cannot be two Beings, for that would imply an imperfection in Being. On the other hand, lacking Spinoza’s rigorous logic, Sebond does not see the inconsistency in maintaining both that God must hav e all the qualities he gives His creatures and that he must be incorporeal.Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    This chapter, on the verb system, number LIV, is five pages long in Armaingaud’s Œuvres complètes de Michel de Montaigne, IX, 83–88. All references to the Théologie naturelle will be to this edition, to be designated simply as “Armaingaud.” — I remember being told as a child in confirmation class that the Holy Ghost could be compared to the objective case (or was it the genitive?) of a pronoun.Google Scholar
  6. 1.
    Armaingaud, IX, 117 (chap. LXVII). Quotations are from Montaigne’s translation because Sebond’s Latin is diffuse and occasionally obscure. Montaigne’s judgment, “ce livre est basty d’un Espagnol barragoiné en terminaisons Latines” (p. 415–4160), is just. French citations have been compared with the original for accuracy of content.Google Scholar
  7. 2.
    Ibid., p. 119 (chap. LXVIII).Google Scholar
  8. 3.
    Armaingaud, IX, 210 (chap. CXXI). The circle is this: to find God’s nature, we must deduce it from man’s; from contemplation of God’s nature, we can deduce that man is created in His image.Google Scholar
  9. 1.
    Armaingaud, X, 30 (chap. GCXI).Google Scholar
  10. 2.
    Ibid. X, 33–34 (chap. GGXIII).Google Scholar
  11. 3.
    Armaingaud, X, chaps. CCXXXVIII-CCXLII. One sample of his proofs: since the entire human race is in a state of sin, it is obvious that the sin must have been committed by the common father of the race ; otherwise some humans would descend from pure stock and show no signs of degeneration.Google Scholar
  12. 1.
    Montaigne traducteur, p. 99.Google Scholar
  13. 2.
    On this attitude in general, see Friedrich, Montaigne, pp. 19–22.Google Scholar
  14. 3.
    Montaigne traducteur, p. 45–46. Montaigne criticizes his printer in the “Apologie,” p. 424, n. 3.Google Scholar
  15. 1.
    Montaigne’s use of the word “atheism” here may be loose by modern standards, for it does not necessarily imply the denial of the existence of God, a charge that Montaigne never made against Protestants or freethinkers. Seven pages later in a 1580 passage, further reinforced after 1588, Montaigne declares that speculative atheism is an unnatural and monstrous doctrine, hard to implant or maintain in a human mind. In the sixteenth century “atheism” could mean the denial of God’s Providence, of the incarnation, or some other central proposition about the nature of God. Saint Paul in Ephesians ii. 12 makes a similar weak usage of the word “atheist.” It can often be taken simply to mean “ungodly.” I believe that this is the case here, but I cannot prove it. (On the word “atheist,” see Lucien Febvre, Le Problème de l’incroyance au XVIème siècle, pp. 138–153.)Google Scholar
  16. 1.
    Hermann Janssen, Montaigne fidéiste, p. 44. Coppin points out the weaknesses of Janssen’s argument in “Sur une interprétation nouvelle de 1’’Apologie de R. Sebond,’“ Revue du Seizième Siècle, XVII (1930), 314, 321.Google Scholar
  17. 2.
    Coppin, Montaigne traducteur, p. 143, believes Montaigne is referring to mystics “qui se défient du raisonnement et qui préfèrent la voie affective.” His contention remains to be proven.Google Scholar
  18. 1.
    This judgment “weak, but useful” is the one suggested by Frame in his “Did Montaigne Betray Sebond?” Romanic Review, XXXVII (1947), 315–321. As he points out, Montaigne applied the word “utile” to the Theologia naturalis twice, once in the “Apologie” (p. 416a), once in the Preface of his translation when he changed Sebond’s term “necessaria” to “utile.” (None of the discussions that I have seen written since this article add anything to it, or even seem to be aware of its existence.)Google Scholar
  19. 2.
    Alain Brieux reported the discovery of this copy of the Téhologie naturelle in “Autres souvenirs de Montaigne,” Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et de Renaissance, XX (1958), 370–376.Google Scholar
  20. 1.
    Coppin, Montaigne traducteur, pp. 153–157, 159–165 lists such contradictions.Google Scholar
  21. 2.
    Glaring contradictions between the two points of view are evident if one compares the following passages in the “Apologie” and the Théologie naturelle (Armaingaud edition) : II: xii, 427a to IX, 157–158; II: xii, 427a to IX, 154; II: xii, 430a to IX, 101–102, 103; II: xii, 437a to IX, 102, 162; and II: xii, 460–4610 to X, 315.Google Scholar
  22. 1.
    Port-Royal, 7 vols. (Paris: Hachette, 1867–71), II, 344. Also in Les Grands Ecrivains français, Etudes des Lundis et des Portraits classées selon un ordre nouveau et annotées par Maurice Allem, XVIe Siècle, Les Prosateurs (Paris: Garnier, 1926), p. 240. In his article “Did Montaigne Betray Sebond?” Frame analyzes exhaustively Sainte-Beuve’s comments on Montaigne, showing how completely unfounded the conclusions of the Port-Royal are. The critic’s understanding of Bayle is perhaps just as mistaken as his concept of Montaigne’s intentions in the “Apologie.”Google Scholar
  23. 2.
    Montaigne traducteur, pp. 149–165.Google Scholar
  24. 1.
    Zeitlin, Essays, II, 487–495, gives an admirable review of the question of the essayist’s supposed treachery to Sebond as well as his solution. His notes to the “Apologie” are the most thorough study of the essay in detail. Although I disagree with several of his interpretations, they deserve careful reading. Frame’s “Did Montaigne Betray Sebond?” recounts various unsuccessful explanations of the matter and adds considerably to Zeitlin’s argumentation.Google Scholar
  25. 2.
    Roger Pons in “Etude sur la pensée religieuse de Montaigne. L’ ‘Apologie de Raymond Sebond,’“ Information Littéraire, VI (1954), 45, maintains that the “Apologie” is a unitary construction without offering any argumentation.Google Scholar
  26. 1.
    Revue du Seizième Siècle, X (1923), 57–66.Google Scholar
  27. 2.
    By Grace Norton in Studies in Montaigne, (New York: Macmillan, 1904), Appendix B, and Gustave Lanson, Les Essais de Montaigne, (Paris: Mellottée, 1930), p. 145–146 n. The reason given is that she is younger than her sister-in-law. She was twenty in 1578.Google Scholar
  28. 3.
    See Coppin, “Marguerite de Valois ...,” pp. 59–62. She speaks of “ce beau livre universel de la nature.” Dreano, in his Pensée religieuse, considers this designation a clear indication of Sebond’s work. Noting that there was some confusion about the book’s name, he concludes, “En pareille incertitude, on ne peut guère demander à Marguerite de nommer le livre de Sebond plus clairement qu’elle ne l’a fait” (p. 260). I cannot imagine Marguerite at a loss what to call the book she had read.Google Scholar
  29. 1.
    Jean-H. Mariéjol states categorically that the two met in the autumn of 1578, though without proof; see his “Marguerite de Valois, reine de Navarre, en Gascogne,” Revue de Paris, XXIX (1922), 526. He also believes that the advice to the princess to be moderate in her opinions and conduct refers to the life at the court in 1579 (p. 779), and explains it as a brief addition made just before publication of the Essais in 1580. For the dates of the trips to the spas see Villey’s note on the composition of II : xxxvii in volume IV of the Municipal Edition.Google Scholar
  30. 2.
    He had a solid precedent for his procedure in Henri Estienne’s Apologie pour Hérodote, which, though supposedly defending the Greek historian, mentions him only eight times in two volumes, and even convicts him of the charge he is being defended against. See Frame’s “Did Montaigne Betray Sebond?” pp. 321–323.Google Scholar
  31. 3.
    Paul Porteau’s outline in his critical edition of the “Apologie” (Paris: Aubier, 1937) is the most ambitious, and in my opinion the least successful. Other outlines can be found in Frame’s “Did Montaigne Betray Sebond?” p. 324, Villey’s Sources et évolution, 2nd ed., II, 174 and Zeitlin’s Essays, II, 495.Google Scholar
  32. 1.
    The second sentence may well be modeled on a saying of Pliny’s that appeared on the rafters of Montaigne’s library and is cited as the final words of II : xiv, p. 595a. See Appendix I, number 41.Google Scholar
  33. 2.
    The Biblical reference is to Ecclesiastes ix. 3, a verse that Montaigne had copied in a corrupt form on the ceiling of his library. It is also used in I: xxxvi, 221a. See Appendix I, number 4.Google Scholar
  34. 1.
    The same idea opens “De l’inequalité qui est entre nous,” I: xlii.Google Scholar
  35. 2.
    Pp. 437 (quoted in our summary), 464, and 465 (in the paragraph linking this section to the succeeding one). In my opinion the cause of this paucity of Pyrrhonist argument is that these pages originally formed an independent essay written without the “Apologie” in mind. When Montaigne incorporated it into II: xii, he did not succeed completely in harmonizing it with his purposes. He made some adjustments, the most important of which seems to have been the inclusion of the material on pages 433–437. No less an authority than Villey has suggested that these pages may be an interpolation made in 1578–80 (Municipal Edition, IV, 279).Google Scholar
  36. 1.
    Supra, p. 43.Google Scholar
  37. 2.
    See Arthur O. Lovejoy’s Great Chain of Being (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1936), pp. 101–102. Reprinted with the same pagination by Harper Torchbooks, New York, i960.Google Scholar
  38. 1.
    Professor Frame has pointed out to me that the “Sommaire” introducing “Que les bestes brutes usent de la raison” in Amyot’s translation contains some interesting Christian interpretations of Plutarch’s essay. Amyot remarks that the Greek moralist had gone astray in his argument because he failed to realize that the privilege man has over the beasts is his knowledge of God, not simply his reason, “... si la raison, qui est la guide de l’ame, n’a autre adresse que de soi-mesme, certainement on peut dire que l’homme est la plus miserable creature du monde,” Œuvres morales (Paris: Estiennet Vallet, 1597), I, 582. This corresponds quite closely to Montaigne’s fideism. The essayist, however, does not say, as does Amyot, that man surpasses the animals because he has a religious nature (he implies the opposite when he speaks semi-seriously of the elephants’ religion, p. 4160).Google Scholar
  39. 2.
    See Villey, vol. IV of the Municipal Edition, 219, note to p. 163, 1. 26.Google Scholar
  40. 1.
    This is perhaps the last sentence one would expect to find in the “Apologie.” All philosophers of all sects in agreement! Much of the later portions of II: xii is devoted to the disagreement among philosophers. On p. 561a, Montaigne will cite the diversity of opinion on the same matter, the sovereign good, as evidence of reason’s weakness. I cannot conceive of the essayist’s writing this sentence after he had read Sextus Empiricus.Google Scholar
  41. 1.
    Relying largely on this sentence for support, Zeitlin writes, ‘‘It ought to be easy to see through this language to the real purpose of Montaigne. ... he has very deeply at heart ‘the preservation of society’ and he fears the danger to discipline that must result from applying rational tests to the traditional dogmas. In such a situation there is nothing for it but to cut sharply asunder the provinces of reason and religious faith and, in the interest of the social good, to subordinate the former to the latter. Montaigne in that sense could not help being a ‘fideist,’“ Essays II, 498. Zeitlin, who is continually on the hunt for arrière-pensées to Montaigne’s thought, everywhere finds conservatism in the essayist’s ideas (in this he is correct). But he goes on to suggest that this conservatism stunted the development of many sides of Montaigne’s thinking and prevented him from showing himself as he really was — a rationalist deist (in this he is wrong). There are many places in the Essais where the desire to preserve social unity takes precedence over other concerns (e.g., II : xii, 492–4930, c), but this is not one of them. The context here is predominantly religious; social considerations are incidental.Google Scholar
  42. 2.
    I consider these pages the core of an essay composed prior to Marguerite de Valois’s request for a defense of Sebond. The sections preceding and following this material (pp. 465–468, 477–480) are strongly fideist. Treatment of fideism is reserved for later in this chapter, pp. 110–115.Google Scholar
  43. 1.
    See supra, pp. 56–57.Google Scholar
  44. 1.
    It might be claimed à la rigueur that the defense of Pyrrhonism immediately following does actually show that man can attain no knowledge. This would mean that Montaigne lives up to his outline sentence, but it falsifies the function of the final section of the “Apologie,” the argument from the weakness of the senses. Taking the whole essay in the form we know, it is easier to say that Montaigne follows his program in reverse order.Google Scholar
  45. 1.
    This list originally read “de juger, de connoistre, de sçavoir, d’ordonner, d’establir.” After 1588 the essayist replaced the first three infinitives with “de regenter.”Google Scholar
  46. 1.
    Alain Brieux’s articles in Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et de Renaissance, “Petit Trésor de souvenirs de Montaigne” (XIX, 1957, 265–293) and “Autres Souvenirs de Montaigne” (XX, 1958, 370–376) give the latest information on the medallions.Google Scholar
  47. 1.
    The opening sentence of “Que nostre désir s’accroît par la malaisance” (II: xv), a maxim inscribed on the ceiling (number 38 in Appendix I), is the only place outside the “Apologie” where Montaigne uses material that could come only from Sextus. The evidence is fairly conclusive that the Hypotyposes was read at only one period in the essayist’s life.Google Scholar
  48. 2.
    As I have already mentioned (supra, p. 6,) II : xxix gives a very different interpretation of Pyrrho, repeating several incidents, both flattering and derogatory, found in Diogenes Laertius. That Pyrrho could so faithfully practice the suspension of his judgment Montaigne finds “quasi incroyable,” but nonetheless true. He respects Pyrrho, but cannot help showing that his philosophy led to some ridiculous and some valorous deeds. Villey tentatively dates this essay in the vicinity of 1578, primarily because of its position in Book II. It could have been written conceivably before Montaigne read Sextus Empiricus. It would be somewhat surprising if Montaigne wrote this second appreciation of Pyrrho after writing the one in the “Apologie.” Such for the moment seems to be the case, but it has not been proven. At one period he felt that, correctly understood, Pyrrho represented the wisest practical philosophy. Even if later he came to see Pyrrho himself in a different light, he continued to advocate the same qualities he had once seen in him.Google Scholar
  49. 1.
    Lanson misses the point when he argues that integral skepticism would result in inertia, Essais, p. 164.Google Scholar
  50. 2.
    See I: xxvii, 181a, II: xvii, 618a, and in the “Apologie,” pp. 4650 and 477a (cited supra pp. 82–83, 84).Google Scholar
  51. 1.
    Zeitlin writes: “It is on the religious beliefs of the ancient philosophers, on their ideas concerning God, the soul, and immortality, that Montaigne now centres his attention, and his manner of expressing his opinions does not leave much doubt as to the nature of his own belief on these matters. However important he might think it that the masses should adhere unquestioningly to the traditional teachings of the Church, it is clear that for his own mind these teachings had no validity. It is not the voice either of an orthodox Christian or of a convinced skeptic, but of a high-minded deist ... He utters a denial of personal immortality which it is impossible to mistake, no matter how much he may shelter himself behind Epicurus or utilize it as a proof of the impotence of the human reason ...” Essays, II, 506. Zeitlin does not take into account Montaigne’s repeated belief that Christianity (and he probably means Catholic Christianity in opposition to Protestantism) correctly views human nature as a composite of body and soul equally. On the page in question, the essayist is repudiating the idea that only the soul survives in the afterlife. In II : xvii, written probably at about the time of the final composition of the “Apologie,” Montaigne writes: “Les Chrestiens ont une particulière instruction de cette liaison: car ils sçavent que la justice divine embrasse cette société et jointure du corps et de l’ame, jusques à rendre le corps capable des recompenses éternelles; et que Dieu regarde agir tout l’homme, et veut qu’entier il reçoive le chastiement, ou le loyer, selon ses merites” (p. 623a). Isn’t this an acceptance of personal immortality that it is impossible to mistake? And one that repeats the point of the sentence that Zeitlin finds such a clear denial?Google Scholar
  52. 1.
    See Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being, p. 108 ff.Google Scholar
  53. 2.
    This passage is so close to one in Sebond (Armaingaud, IX, 158–159, chap. XCVI) that it seems like a parody of the Spanish theologian. Both Coppin (Montaigne traducteur, p. 157, where the passages are quoted) and Frame (“Did Montaigne Betray Sebond?” p. 317) raise the possibility that Montaigne was thinking specifically of Sebond.Google Scholar
  54. 1.
    Les Essais de Montaigne, p. 264.Google Scholar
  55. 2.
    Dezeimeris and Barckhausen, II, 365.Google Scholar
  56. 1.
    Essays, II, 507. “This would-be skeptic seems to find it impossible to shake himself free of his faith in the arbitrating power of reason. However he may juggle with the word, pronouncing ‘true and essential reason’ to be lodged solely in the bosom of God, he cannot dispense with a conception of its human utility.” (The context here is not one of human utility.)Google Scholar
  57. 1.
    In “Comme nostre esprit s’empesche soy-mesmes” (II: xiv), a short essay probably composed in the vicinity of 1576, Montaigne gives another of his rare arguments against abstract reasoning, this time drawn from the paradoxes of mathematics. His examples, taken almost surely from the memory of conversations with Jacques Peletier du Mans mentioned in II: xii, 555a, display his lack of familiarity with mathematics; but one of them is fairly valid. When geometry speaks of two lines that approach each other constantly without ever meeting, it flatly contradicts experience. One may conclude that reason can prove absurdities to be true.Google Scholar
  58. 1.
    A few examples: II: xii, 416a, 478a; I: xxiii, 1186; I: xxviii, 193a.Google Scholar
  59. 2.
    Dreano, Pensée religieuse, p. 262.Google Scholar
  60. 1.
    “Marguerite de Valois en Gascogne,” p. 529.Google Scholar
  61. 2.
    Mariéjol offers two other reasons, both very weak. First, he says the Protestants would not be grouped in Montaigne’s mind with the stargazers, enchanters, and mountebanks ridiculed in the paragraph succeeding the mention of the “nouveaux docteurs.” But that the essayist regarded the “nouveaux docteurs” as so gullible, or the Protestants as any less so, is not sure. Secondly, he suggests that Montaigne may have attacked all intellectuals, but had only certain ones in mind. This is one of those arguments that rely on ferreting out the hidden intentions of the author. It can be neither refuted or supported. Mariéjol considerably weakens his case when he describes the indifferent minds Montaigne allegedly attacks. He says they were the sort that used worldly terms such as “fortune,” “the heavens,” and “the stars” in place of more reverent terms. Unfortunately for Mariéjol, Montaigne himself would be one of the first guilty of such a charge. One of the practices in the Essais mildly censured by the Master of the Sacred Palace in Rome was precisely that Montaigne used the word “fortune” too loosely. (Montaigne defends this usage in an addition made in 1588, I: lvi, 308b.) Finally, no passage in the “Apologie” seems aimed at religious indifference, except perhaps one written after 1588, p. 423c.Google Scholar
  62. 1.
    Neither Montaigne nor any editor, so far as I know, indicates that these words (“Ayant essayé par experience ... ce n’est que la mienne,” p. 543a) are not the essayist’s own, but rather the expression of an apparently common sense idea that Montaigne wishes to reject. I would put them in quotation marks as an indication that they represent a point of view not integral to the “Apologie.” This seems to me the only way to explain the sudden shift in thought. There are many precedents in other essays for this procedure of presenting an opinion Montaigne disagrees with — and they were never indicated by any distinguishing punctuation in Montaigne’s day. Several such examples can be seen in the “Apologie” itself, e.g., pp. 511–5126. Such passages can very easily mislead even attentive readers, for they look as if they were the essayist’s own thought when they are exactly the opposite. A perfect example of this sort of difficulty occurs later in II : xii on the subject of the senses. Here is the (a) sentence: “De toutes les absurditez la plus absurde est desavouer la force et effect des sens” (p. 576). Out of context it is a clear affirmation quite contrary to the meaning of the “Apologie.” After 1588, Montaigne, aware of the possible ambiguity, makes a short addition: “Des toutes les absurditez la plus absurde (c) aux Epicuriens (a) est desavouer la force et effect des sens.”Google Scholar
  63. 1.
    The major exception has already been discussed, pp. 99–101.Google Scholar
  64. 1.
    Following sixteenth-century usage, it is possible that “plus vray-semblables” is a superlative form.Google Scholar
  65. 1.
    The following remarks will be based primarily on pages 416–424, 426, 429–430, 467, 478–480, 486–487, 492–501, 503–504, 507–508, 523, 535–536, 546, 563, 569–570, 587–589.Google Scholar
  66. 2.
    For the material in this paragraph see 425a, 429–4300, 478a, 479a, b, c, 493a, 504a, 509a, 561 a, 586–589a.Google Scholar
  67. 1.
    See pp. 418a, 425a, 535–536a, 563a, 569–570a. In addition to the “Apologie” one other essay in 1580 concerns religion, “Des prières,” I: lvi. A short essay, impossible to date surely, it gives some important information confirming the declarations of II : xii. I shall take the liberty of referring to it from time to time here. In it, Montaigne shows the same reverence for God’s word we see in the “Apologie.” Taking a typically Catholic position, he expostulates against the Protestant practices of translating and interpreting the Bible and profaning its sacred word by singing Psalms on all occasions. Such usages, he feels, are dangerous and tend to demean the sanctity of revelation by making it too familiar.Google Scholar
  68. 2.
    See pp. 418a, 424a, 425a, 478–479a, 486a, 523a.Google Scholar
  69. 3.
    See pp. 418a, 419a, b, 424a, 467–468a, c. Google Scholar
  70. 1.
    Janssen would have us believe that Montaigne is pretending to be among those with human faith in order to inspire the sympathy of his readers : Montaigne fidéiste, p. 46. Marcel Raymond argues convincingly against this in his “Entre le Fidéisme et le naturalisme (A propos de l’attitude religieuse de Montaigne),”Festschrift, Ernst Tappolet, (Basel: Schwabe, l935)i PP- 243–244. Raymond’s article is possibly the best descriptive summary of the essayist’s religion.Google Scholar
  71. 2.
    See pp. 418–4210, c. “Des prieres” shows a similar concern for the purity of motives. Montaigne disapproves highly of people who pray half-heartedly without being in as pure a state of soul as possible. (This is one of the opinions censured when the Essais were examined for heresies in Rome.) The best prayer is one of gratitude and submission, like the Lord’s prayer, and not one of request (p. 303a). He also approves the Protestant severity against the use of the Lord’s name (pp. 306b and 309b).Google Scholar
  72. 3.
    An interesting addition made after 1588 recognizes the concessions that even Christianity has to make to the imperfections of human nature; “la majesté divine s’est ainsi pour nous aucunement laissé circonscrire aux limites corporels : ses sacremens supernaturels et celestes ont des signes de nostre terrestre condition; son adoration s’exprime par offices et paroles sensibles: car c’est l’homme qui croid et qui prie” (p. 494c). Catholic crucifixes, altar paintings, organ music, and other appeals to the senses seem well founded to Montaigne.Google Scholar
  73. 1.
    The literature on Montaigne’s religion is enormous, presenting him as everything from a rigorously Catholic theologian (Citoleux) to a determined freethinker (Armaingaud). For reviews of the various positions, see Frame, “Did Montaigne Betray Sebond?” pp. 297–298 and Jean Guiton “Où en est le débat sur la religion de Montaigne?” Romanic Review, XXXV (1944), 98–115. Since the publication of these articles Clément Sclafert has adopted a position close to Citoleux’s in L’Ame religieuse de Montaigne (Paris: Nouvelles Editions Latines, 1951) ; Maurice Weiler has revived Armaingaud’s theory in Pour Connaître la pensée de Montaigne (Paris: Bordas, 1948); and Frame, in Montaigne’s Discovery of Man, pp. 77–78 has restated the most general opinion that the essayist is a sincere, but moderate, Catholic.Google Scholar
  74. 2.
    Henri Daniel-Rops reports in “Montaigne et l’Index” that Pope Pius XII expressed the hope that the Essais might someday be taken off the Index: Bulletin de la Société des Amis de Montaigne, 3rd Series, no. 9 (1959), 4–6.Google Scholar
  75. 3.
    In a verse from Saint Paul the phrase “estre avecques Jesus-Christ,” meaning in the afterlife, appears (p. 422a). It is also conceivable that the sentence quoted in note 3, p. 112 refers by paraphrase to the incarnation.Google Scholar
  76. 1.
    Supra p. 46. See also infra, p. 155.Google Scholar
  77. 2.
    I date this passage 1572–74. Its last words are “favorisé de Dieu et de nature.”Google Scholar
  78. 1.
    Raymond, “Entre le fidéisme et le naturalisme,” p. 241.Google Scholar
  79. 1.
    The original ending of II : xii, less emphatically Christian, has already been given, supra, p. 109.Google Scholar
  80. 1.
    By coincidence the principal target of both of them was stoical dogmatism. For Montaigne this meant the moral philosophy of the Stoics; Sextus was more concerned with their metaphysics and epistemology.Google Scholar
  81. 1.
    Nos. 2, 6, 13, 14, 22, 27–30, 38–42, 49–52, 54–57.Google Scholar
  82. 2.
    Nos. 3, 12, 17–19, 23–26, 35, 36, 44. Numbers 46 and 48 are fideist.Google Scholar
  83. 3.
    Nos. 5, 8, 15, 33.Google Scholar
  84. 4.
  85. 5.

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© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1966

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  • Craig B. Brush

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