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La théologie morale dans le pré: la casuistique du duel dans l'affrontement entre laxisme et rigorisme en France au XVIIe siècle

  • Jean-Pascal Gay
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    [fre] L'historiographie a souvent souligné la modernité de la littérature casuistique et en particulier sa capacité a intégrer au discernement moral les circonstances nouvelles produites par le changement social. Le réexamen des discours casuistiques sur le duel présente un intérêt triple. D'une part la prise en considération de l'honneur fait de la casuistique du duel un bon exemple de l'intégration de normes sociales à la morale. En second lieu, le duel a fait l'objet d'études historiques importantes et nouvelles de sorte qu'il est possible de mettre en relation les évolutions de la théologie morale sur ce point avec l'histoire même du phénomène. Enfin l'exemple du duel est au cœur d'un affrontement durable entre les deux traditions de recherche morale qui s'opposent au sein de la Réforme Catholique en France. L'effacement de la question du duel dans la théologie morale est alors à rapprocher de l'effacement paradoxal du duel à la fin du XVIIe siècle français. De même que la victoire sur le duel est d'abord une victoire sur la publicité de ce dernier, il semble que l'effacement de la tradition indulgente est plus partiel qu'on ne l'aurait pensé de prime abord. S 'agissant de la modernité de la casuistique, l'examen des discours eux-mêmes pousse à nuancer l'idée d'intégration des normes sociales extérieures à la théologie morale. Du point de vue de l'utilité de la casuistique comme source pour l'histoire des comportements, on est amené à renvoyer d'abord aux logiques d'évolutions internes à la culture théologique sans exclure une possible traduction dans les faits. [eng] Historiography has put forward the modernity of casuistry particularly regarding its capacity to consider in moral reasoning new circumstances originating in social evolution. The analysis of the opinions of casuistry on duel has a threefold interest. First of all, the attention on honor makes the casuistry of duel a good example of this integration of social norms into moral theory. Secondly, duel has been thoroughly studied by scholars and is the object of new attention so that it is possible to relate the evolution of moral theology on this particular topic to that of the actual phenomenon. Thirdly the example of duel is at the heart of the durable conflict between the two traditions of moral enquiry inside Catholic Reformation in France. The diminishing attention to the question of duel in moral theology should then be related to the paradoxical fading of duel at the end of the French Seventeenth Century. As the victory over duel seems to be mainly a victory over the latter' s publicity, the weakening of the lax tradition is more partial than might have been thought at first. Regarding the modernity of casuistry, the analysis of actual positions leads to the conclusion that the integration of external social norms in moral theology is rather limited. Regarding finally the utility of casuistry for the history of behaviour stress must be laid first on the logics of evolutions proper to theology itself though it may nonetheless find some kind of transcription in reality.

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    Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Histoire, économie et société.

    Volume (Year): 24 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 171-194

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    Handle: RePEc:prs:hiseco:hes_0752-5702_2005_num_24_2_2543
    Note: DOI:10.3406/hes.2005.2543
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