Appeared in Winter 1990, Vol. XVI, No. 4
As the 1989 bicentennial of the French Revolution approached, one of the most salient concerns to surface about France’s commemoration of that historic upheaval involved the necessity to redefine the very nature of what France would be celebrating.1 While the debate over that query has ranged across a broad spectrum of attitudes toward the Revolution which has led to various interpretations of that event, far too little attention has been focused on the legacy of that convulsion on the histories of other nations. Of utmost importance to students of religion, such seems to be especially true where the issue of the Revolution’s treatment of organized Christianity demands reassessment. The French nation can no longer justifiably acclaim that aspect of the Revolution which – in the name of liberty, equality, and fraternity – swept aside much of the country’s traditional Roman Catholic identity.
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