The Wanton Jesuit and the Wayward Saint: A Tale of Sex, Religion, and Politics in Eighteenth…

Hardcover | December 9, 2015

byMita Choudhury

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This microhistory investigates the famous and scandalous 1731 trial in which Catherine Cadière, a young woman in the south of France, accused her Jesuit confessor, Jean-Baptiste Girard, of seduction, heresy, abortion, and bewitchment. Generally considered to be the last witchcraft trial in early modern France, the Cadière affair was central to the volatile politics of 1730s France, a time when magistrates and lawyers were seeking to contain clerical power.

Mita Choudhury’s examination of the trial sheds light on two important phenomena with broad historical implications: the questioning of traditional authority and the growing disquiet about the role of the sacred and divine in French society. Both contributed to the French people’s ever-increasing disenchantment with the church and the king. Choudhury builds her story through an extensive examination of archival material, including trial records, pamphlets, periodicals, and unpublished correspondence from witnesses.

The Wanton Jesuit and the Wayward Saint offers new insights into how the eighteenth-century public interpreted the accusations and why the case consumed the public for years, developing from a local sex scandal to a referendum on religious authority and its place in French society and politics.

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This microhistory investigates the famous and scandalous 1731 trial in which Catherine Cadière, a young woman in the south of France, accused her Jesuit confessor, Jean-Baptiste Girard, of seduction, heresy, abortion, and bewitchment. Generally considered to be the last witchcraft trial in early modern France, the Cadière affair was ce...

Mita Choudhury is Professor of History at Vassar College.

other books by Mita Choudhury

Format:HardcoverDimensions:248 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:December 9, 2015Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271070811

ISBN - 13:9780271070810

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Introduction

The Girard/Cadière Relationship

1 A Community of Faith

2 The Meeting of Two Souls

3 Unraveling and Betrayal

The Trial

4 Becoming a Cause Célèbre

5 Arguing the Case

6 Before the Courts

Beyond the Grand’Chambre

7 Public Opinion and the Story of the Wanton Jesuit

8 The Aftermath

Epilogue

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

“This well-researched work demonstrates how a micro-historical approach provides the possibility of combining historiographical interests too often separated by artficial frameworks such as, for example, the subfields of cultural history hilariously divided into ‘history of ideas’ and ‘history of the mind’. The trial explored by Choudhury becomes in fact the scholarly stage for not only studying broad social and religious conflicts, but, for example, exploring religious practices through the study of violence endured by women, while at the same time presenting a critical examination of the concepts attached to such issues, still in use in today’s histories.”—Marco Musillo, European History Quarterly