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Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France, vol. 1: The Clerical Establishment and its Social Ramifications
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Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France, vol. 1: The Clerical Establishment and its Social Ramifications


Oxford University Press 1999

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


This volume begins with an overview section which covers church and state, the theology and political theory justifying their alliance, the wealth of the clergy and their assemblies voting taxation, their role in the official life of the nation, from the court at Versailles to army barracks, warships, and prisons. Then author John McManners presents the complex structure of dioceses and parishes and the variety of monastic institutions (where the enjoyment of misapplied wealth contrasted with the austere dedication which ensured the education of the children and the care of the sick throughout the land). There is an evocation of the life-style of the clergy from the palaces of the aristocratic bishops and the cathedral closes of comfortable canons to the humblest tumbledown nunnery, with a gallery of portraits analyzing clerical motives and vocations. A multitude of lay folk come onto the scene, aristocrats battening on monastic revenues, lawyers threading the labyrinth of benefice law, estate managers, musicians, vergers and officials of every kind; many families' existence assumed the availability of ecclesiastical offices for their children—the privileges of different classes in society reflected in an institution devoted to spiritual ends.

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Save more when you purchase this book as part of the Oxford History of the Christian Church collection.

Key Features

  • Presents the complex structure of dioceses and parishes
  • Explores the variety of monastic institutions
  • Presents historical accounts with both global and local perspectives

Praise for the Print Edition

[A] magisterial two-volume history of the church in eighteenth-century France . . . Rarely has history been written with such ease and thoroughness. Professor McManners combines scholarly detachment with sympathy to produce a thoroughly readable history, one that will not be superseded for many a day.

Contemporary Review

Product Details

About John McManners

John McManners is regius professor emeritus of ecclesiastical history, fellow, and chaplain at All Souls College, Oxford.