Étudiant-chercheur étoile June 2013

Jules Racine St-Jacques

PhD student in History
Université Laval

Award-winning publication: L'honneur et la foi. Le droit de résistance chez les réformés français (1536-1581)

Published in: Librairie Droz


"In this publication, I explore a classic theme in the history of ideas: the theological-political issue of legitimate resistance to an irreligious king. According to historians of the French wars of religion, the Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day (massacre of Protestants in Paris in 1572) led subjects to abandon the Calvinist line of thought that called for strict political obedience to the king, opening the door to a concept that history dubbed the monarchomach theory of resistance to defend and structure the right to oppose the monarchy. My work reconsiders the breaks and continuity in the political ideas of French Calvinists during the wars of religion."

I argue that while the St-Bartholomew's Day Massacre marks a turning point in the development of reformed thought, an analysis of works to legitimize the uprisings of the Protestant nobility in the first three episodes of religious violence in France (1562-1570) demonstrates that the "monarchomach" thinkers largely took up ideas that were circulating prior to the events and, at best, further developed them.

At a time in which the globalization of exchanges enriches the multicultural character of societies, Jules Racine St-Jacques's work attests to the fact that the theme of political obedience remains particularly timely. In Québec, the recent reasonable accommodations crisis revealed the challenges of reconciling obedience to power and loyalty to one's religious beliefs, even despite the rationalization of social relations in contemporary society. By taking into account this historical example of the neutralization of religious issues through the political prism, the study elucidates the theoretical foundations of the current debates on the secularization of the public space.