Methodologies of Targeting Neoclassicist Voltaire's Twisted Hermeneutic for Targeting Criminal Christianity
Venter, J.J. (Ponti)
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This article is the third of four written to line up two extremes in the history of methodology: early 20th century Pragmatism and late-Renaissance militarism, filling in the middle period, focusing on Voltaire and the atmosphere before the French revolution. Pragmatist William James pretended to offer a purely formal method, yet strategized it as a doctrinal attack on the inefficiency of Christianity (according to his (mis)understanding of it). Machiavelli attacked Christianity’s practice of justice and meekness as weakness, from his own Classicist, Romanist militaristic empire perspective. Voltaire, in middle Modernity, devised a hermeneutic from an Enlightenment position with a strong Neo-Classicist slant, by representing Ancient Classical tradition as fundamentally tolerant to difference of opinion, and by over-painting any suggestion that early Christians were persecuted for their faith. He represented the Christians of his own days (often rightly so) as unfair, criminal and violent, especially with regard to heterodox opinions. His naturalistic tendencies, contradicting his liberalism (an intolerant propagation of tolerance) must have contributed to the severity of persecution of non-compliant Christians during the 1789 Revolution. Later naturalistic liberalists, such as Dide and Booms, and several anti-Christian sites on the internet, found and find their inspiration (sometimes against his intentions) in Voltaire’s criticism of Christianity.
- Faculty of Humanities