Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Godechot: The Counter-Revolution

Godechot, Jacques. The Counter-Revolution: Doctrine and Action, 1789-1804. Trans. Salvator Attanasio. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1971.

The Counter Revolution studies counter-revolutionary thought and movements in France and Western Europe from the Revolution up to the beginning of the Napoleonic Empire. The first part of the book, covering "Doctrine", discusses the different thinkers and schools of thought opposing the Revolution. Put together, the brief reviews provide for interesting comparisons between the different critiques of the Revolution, revealing commonalities and differences on, for instance, the role of religion, the meaning and role of reason and prejudice, the place of history and tradition and the origin and exercise of authority.

Oddly, some of these ideas (Montequieu in particular) have ended up inspiring revolutionaries as much as counter-revolutionaries. For one thing, few, if any of them, are simple advocates of the status quo. Some locate an ideal in the past--in an ancient constitution of France, before rise of absolutism in the monarchy--just as the revolutionaries would locate it in the future. For another thing, by engaging in the process of analyzing the regime, discerning its true or ideal form, justifying it against alternatives and making counter-proposals for improvement, many would-be defenders of the regime, implicitly abandoning its justification in tradition, are already playing in the revolutionaries' home court. With the question already framed in his terms, there is nothing to keep the revolutionary from borrowing from a "conservative" system that is as abstract and instrumentalist as his own.

The second part, covering "Action", details the mostly hapless and uncoordinated efforts of the Counter-Revolution to undermine the revolutionary government and restore the monarchy during this period. In some ways, it is somewhat spectacular that the ruling class could pass so quickly to such pathetic inability, and, similarly, that the revolutionary government, despite its own problems, became in such a short time as effective as it was against internal and external threats. One wonders if this was just due to the particular ineptitude of the Bourbons, the brilliance of the revolutionaries and the coincidence of the interests of the peasantry and the bourgeoisie against the nobility, or if something larger was at work--in particular, the debut of new forms of government that were more efficient at attracting and exploiting talent and new, galvanizing ideas of popular rule and nationalism.

The answer is probably both, with the counter-examples found in nations where revolution did not take hold due to the failure to attract the peasantry to the cause and the Revolution's own deterioration into empire and then restoration (followed by repeated iterations of each) providing evidence for the former, and the eventual triumph of the Revolution and its ideas in France and throughout Western Europe providing evidence for the latter.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Links to Migne in Google Books

Google Books has large portions of the Migne's Patrologia available, but proper metadata revealing the volume number, much less the contents of the volume, isn't readily available, making it difficult to find what you want without clicking on a bunch of identical links to "Patrologiæ cursus completus [Series Græca]". Finding myself frustrated with this, I finally started to compile a list of the volumes I was using with links. Then I got to thinking, surely someone has already done this and made it freely available on the Internet. And, some quick work with Google revealed that ... of course someone has:

Mischa Hooker from the Classical Studies Department at Loyola University Chicago has put up a few indices of Greek and Latin literature. The Biblical, Jewish and Early Christian Index has a wealth of stuff, including the PG and PL.

UPDATE: Updated links can be found at http://classicsindex.wikispaces.com/

Friday, May 15, 2009

More Catholic Pre-Pubs

Logos continues to roll out the Catholic pre-pubs.

Here's what currently on offer:
Catholic Theology and Dogma Collection
Collected Works of John Henry Newman
The Catholic Encyclopedia
Douay-Rheims Bible
Summa Theologica (English)
Summa Theologica (English & Latin)
Summa Contra Gentiles
Pohle's Dogmatic Theology
Works of Anselm of Canterbury

St. Thomas's Catena Aurea (Community Pricing)
Catholic Spirituality Collection
G. K. Chesterton Collection

And ... a new Catholic Product Guide is up with all of these plus existing products of interest to Catholic users. Note especially that the Catholic Sunday Lectionary is now included in the Lectionary Viewer.

Phil Gons has put up a post on the Logos blog about all this and announcing a special promotional contest giving away copies of the Collegeville Catholic Reference Library to people who link to the blog entry and product guide. (I'll assume the fine print disqualifies me from entering.)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Logos Newman Collection

Logos Bible Software (my employer) has just put an excellent collection of Works of John Henry Newman up for sale through its pre-publication program.

The Newman collection joins several other pre-publications of particular interest to Catholics that are already in production or gaining interest: St. Thomas's Summa Theologica (in English & Latin or English only), a collection of Major Works of St. Anselm and Pohle's Dogmatic Theology.

I can't claim to be a disinterested observer, but Logos users will know that these will be excellent resources to have--especially in combination with a base package and the Early Church Fathers collection.

UPDATE: The pre-pub for The Catholic Encyclopedia is also now up.