Scripture in the Vernacular in Seventeenth-Century France: Antoine Arnauld and the Defence of the New Testament of Mons
The thesis studies the translation of the New Testament published in 1667 by the theologians from Port-Royal, their ideas about the translation and vernacular Bibles and consists of Introduction, Seven chapters and Conclusion. The Introduction places the dissertation in the context of existing knowledge about Port-Royal and the cultural influence which emanated from there. The Introduction highlights the role of Antoine Arnauld in the polemical defence of the right of the “smallest ones” to access the Scriptures. The Introduction also sets the frame of the research, centred on the New Testament of Mons, first published in 1667, and the texts written in relation to the translation and publication, both for and against it. The first three chapters of this dissertation are dedicated to the intellectual context in which the New Testament of Mons had appeared. They cover the place of the Bible in post-Tridentine piety, the Catholic biblical translations published before the New Testament of Mons and the theoretical views of the Solitaires on the translation. The fourth chapter provides the chronological core for this study, it tells the story of the publication of the New Testament of Mons and gives an overview of the related polemics. Chapters five and six are dedicated to the two main area of criticism: the language of the translation and the idea of universal reading of the Bible. There I analyse the contributions of Antoine Arnauld as the main defender of Port-Royal biblical translations. The final chapter of this dissertation sheds light on Arnauld’s theory of polemics and his defence of strong rhetoric. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the cultural role of Port-Royal biblical translations and suggests further axes of research in this field.