Religion and the Politics of Time

R el igion a n d t h e Pol i t ics of T i m e Religion and the Politics of Time Holidays in France from Louis XIV through Napoleon Noa h Shusterm a...
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R el igion a n d t h e Pol i t ics of T i m e

Religion and the Politics of Time Holidays in France from Louis XIV through Napoleon

Noa h Shusterm an

The Catholic University of America Press Washington, D.C.

Copyright © 2010 The Catholic University of America Press All rights reserved The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standards for Information Science—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1984. ∞ Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Shusterman, Noah. Religion and the politics of time : holidays in France from Louis XIV through Napoleon / Noah Shusterman. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-8132-1725-3 (cloth : alk. paper)  1. Calendar—Political aspects— France—History.  2. Church calendar—France—History.  3. Holidays—France—History.  4. Time—Political aspects— France—History.  5. Church and state—France—History.  6. Political culture—France—History.  7. France—Politics and government— 1643–1715.  8. France—Politics and government— 1715–1774.  9. France—Politics and government—1774–1793.  10. France—Politics and government—1789–1815. I. Title. CE61.F8S56 2010 944�.033—dc22


C o n t e n ts

List of Maps and Figures Acknowledgments Abbreviations

vii ix xiii

Introduction 1. Religious Holidays and Temporal Authority in Old Regime France 2. Politics of Time and the Politics of the Times, 1642–1695 3. Centralization without the State: Religious Holidays in the Eighteenth Century 4. Which Time for the Future? Utility, Anti-Clericalism, and the Calendar 5. Seeing Like a Church: Religious Time and Republican Politics, 1789–VI 6. Reluctant Missionaries: Enforcement of the Republican Calendar, VI–VII 7. Une Loi de l’Eglise et de l’Etat: Napoleon and the Central Administration of Religious Life, 1800–1815 Conclusion

206 237

Appendix A. Estimating the Number of Religious Holidays in Old Regime France Appendix B. The Republican Calendar Bibliography Index

247 265 267 293

1 12 38 67 98 116 161

L i s t o f M a p s a n d F i g ur e s

Map 1. The Dioceses of Old Regime France


Map 2. Calendar Reforms, 1642–1695


Map 3. The Ecclesiastical Provinces of Rouen and Tours


Map 4. Calendar Reforms, 1695–1759


Map 5. Calendar Reforms, 1760–1789


Figure 1. Average Number of Potential Workdays, 1642–1789


Figure 2. Weekday Holidays by Diocese in the Seventeenth Century


Figure 3. Incidence of Fêtes in the Seventeenth Century


Figure 4. Weekday Holidays in the Late Eighteenth Century


Figure 5. Incidence of Fêtes in the Late Eighteenth Century



Ac k n ow l e d g m e n ts

In late December 1999, on the eve of the millennium, I was on a plane headed back to Paris. Three months earlier I had begun full-time research into my dissertation, which was at that time going to be a genealogy of leisure as a modern category—a topic about which I had managed to write a passable proposal, but had never quite figured out. The whole world was focused on the calendar then. The “19”s were about to disappear. People were ready to celebrate the coming of the new millennium. I was about to turn thirty. And the world was about to end, with the arrival of the Y2K bug. While I was not convinced that the most dire of predictions would come true, I had nevertheless made sure that all of my flights would be before the calendar changed. It was on that flight that I made up my mind to jettison most of my project on leisure, take the one chapter I had planned on the calendar, and expand it into a whole dissertation. That dissertation would eventually become this book. I had been aware of my interest in calendars and in the reforms of religious holidays for several years at that point. My first contact with the issues involved in the history of religious holidays came during a summer research trip to Paris in 1997. It was then that I came across Faiguet de Villeneuve’s article on Christian holidays, the Abbé Thiers’s book on the right of bishops to eliminate holidays, and the 1778 pastoral letter from the Archbishop of Paris eliminating the ob-


x Acknowledgments servation of roughly one-third of the religious holidays in his diocese. Those documents fascinated me in a way I could not understand then. It took some digging before I found out that those sources were just the tip of the iceberg, that there was other related material out there. But the point when I realized that there was enough there to support an entire dissertation only came when I realized that religious holidays would again become an issue under Napoleon, albeit a very different one. This realization highlighted the way that the history of the republican calendar was part of a much longer story. The resulting project was risky; it was uncharted waters in many ways, not least because of its 175-year time span. But once the project had got its hooks into me, I knew that it was a risk I was going to take. Any project this long in the making arrives only with the help of countless people. My first thanks go to my advisor, Peter Sahlins, for his help with both practical and intellectual matters. His advice, and the standards to which he held my work, made my dissertation and this book far stronger than they would have otherwise been. As a master’s student at the University of Chicago I profited greatly from the presence of Dale Van Kley and his seminar on Jansenism and the Enlightenment. William Sewell was a constant source of inspiration, and the workshops on modern France and on social theory provided an intense intellectual environment. At Berkeley I was lucky enough to study with Tom Brady and Martin Jay, both of whom provided consistent support and encouragement. At Temple University my colleagues in the Intellectual Heritage program and at the Center for the Humanities have been consistently supportive of my work, as different as it is from theirs. Richard Immerman, Dan Tompkins, and Peter Logan have all been valuable mentors to me. Rick Libowitz has been more than I could have hoped for in an officemate and colleague. Kathy Biddick and the rest of the pre-modern colloquium have given invaluable analysis and encouragement. Audra Wolfe, along with reading over much of the manuscript in various states of preparedness, was more than generous with her advice about all facets of the writing process.

Acknowledgments  xi Two fellowships from Berkeley, one during the research stage and one during the writing stage, made this book possible. A summer fellowship from Temple University helped me clean up some of the details during the revision process. During my research in France I received a great deal of assistance from countless archivists, especially in Le Mans and Tours, as well as from the librarians at the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève whose salle réserve remains one of the capital’s great underutilized resources for early modern France. French History has granted permission to reprint material from my articles “Une Loi de l’Eglise et de l’Etat: Napoleon and the Central Administration of Religious Life, 1800–1815”; and “The Decline of Religious Holidays in France.” I would also like to specifically thank Malcolm Crook for his advice and encouragement. David McGonagle at the Catholic University of America Press has seen this project through from the first manuscript to the final edition. The two anonymous readers for the press both contributed greatly to improving this book. I am incredibly lucky to have had the support of my entire family from the start of graduate school through the completion of my dissertation and through the first years of my professional career. I would not have made it without their support and that of my friends in Philadelphia and in Paris, who not only helped me whenever I asked for it and made my life more enjoyable than it would have otherwise been, but also humored me during my countless discussions of the intricacies of a project which, in retrospect, probably did not interest them quite as much as it did me. I met Helen Cheung within weeks of submitting my dissertation and, for some unfathomable reason, she has stayed with me through the long process of revising it. Without her company during that time I would surely have gone quite mad. Her encouragement and companionship have allowed me to keep going when I felt like giving up. This book is dedicated to her.

Abbr e v i at i o n s


Archives Départementales


Annales historiques de la Révolution Française


Archives Nationales, Paris


Bibliothèque Municipale

BN Ms Fr Bibliothèque Nationale, Manuscrits Français BN

Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris


Journal of Modern History


Nouvelles ecclésiastiques


Révue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine


Ypres Boulogne St.Omer Arras Amiens Rouen Coutances St. Pol Tréguier Quimper

St. Brieuc


St. Malo Vannes







Beauvais Senlis Paris

Laon Reims

Soissons Meaux




St. Dié Langres








Mâcon Limoges

St. Claude


Saintes Angoulême


Belley Vienne

Périgueux St. Flour






La Rochelle

Strasbourg Nancy







Le Mans Blois


Verdun Châlons

Le Puy

Sarlat Mende


Valence Die Viviers

Embrun Gap Digne Condom Sisteron Senez Nice Alais Uzès Avignon Aire Montauban Albi Glandève Apt Vabres Lectoure Dax Riez Nîmes Vence Lodève Castres Béziers Grasse Auch Arles Aix ToulouseLavaur Fréjus Lescar Lombez St. Pons Montpellier Bayonne Marseilles St. Pap. Rieux Agde Oloron Tarbes Toulon Mirep.Carc. Narbonne Comminges Couserans Pamiers Alet Bazas




St. Paul


Diocese Archdiocese

Map 1. The Dioceses of Old Regime France


R el igion a n d t h e Pol i t ics of T i m e

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