On the other hand, divine beings are essentially the opposite of all those things. Thus, it appears that one person could bear both natures, human and divine, only if such a person could be both limited and unlimited in various ways, created and uncreated, and so forth. And this is surely impossible. Two main strategies have been pursued in an attempt to resolve this apparent paradox. The first is the kenotic view. The second is the two-minds view. We shall take each in turn. According to this view, in becoming incarnate, God the Son voluntarily and temporarily laid aside some of his divine attributes in order to take on a human nature and thus his earthly mission.
If the kenotic view is correct, then contrary to what theists are normally inclined to think properties like omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence are not essential to divinity: something can remain divine even after putting some or all of those properties aside. The problem, however, is that if these properties aren't essential to divinity, then it is hard to see what would be essential. If we say that something can be divine while lacking those properties, then we lose all grip on what it means to be divine.
One might respond to this worry by saying that the only property that is essential to divine beings as such is the property being divine. This reply, however, makes divinity out to be a primitive, unanalyzable property. Critics like John Hick 73 complain that such a move makes divinity out to be unacceptably mysterious. Alternatively, one might simply deny that any properties are necessary for divinity. It is widely held in the philosophy of biology, for example, that there are no properties possession of which are jointly necessary andsufficient for membership in, say, the kind humanity.
That is, it seems that for any interesting property you might think of as partly definitive of humanity, there are or could be humans who lack that property. Thus, many philosophers think that membership in the kind is determined simply by family resemblance to paradigm examples of the kind. Something counts as human, in other words, if, and only if, it shares enough of the properties that are typical of humanity.
If we were to say the same thing about divinity, there would be no in-principle objection to the idea that Jesus counts as divine despite lacking omniscience or other properties like, perhaps, omnipotence, omnipresence, or even perfect goodness. One might just say that he is knowledgeable, powerful, and good enough that, given his other attributes, he bears the right sort of family resemblance to the other members of the Godhead to count as divine. Some have offered more refined versions of the kenotic theory, arguing that the basic view mischaracterizes the divine attributes.
According to these versions of the kenotic view, rather than attribute to God properties like ommniscience, omipotence, and the like, we should instead say that God has properties like the following: being omniscient-unless-temporarily-and-freely-choosing-to-be-otherwise, being omnipotent-unless-temporarily-and-freely-choosing-to-be-otherwise, and so forth. These latter sorts of properties can be retained without contradiction even when certain powers are laid aside. In this way, then, Jesus can divest himself of some of his powers to become fully human while still remaining fully divine.
Feenstra, — Unfortunately, however, this response only raises a further question, namely: if Christ's incarnation required his temporarily surrendering omniscience, then his later exaltation must have involved continued non-omniscience or the loss of his humanity.
However, Christians have typically argued that the exalted Christ is omniscient while retaining his humanity. It is hard to see how this view can respond to such an objection. But for one response see Feenstra Moving away from the standard version of the kenotic theory, some philosophers and theologians endorse views according to which it only seems as if Christ lacked divine attributes like omniscience, omnipotence, and so on. They are views according to which the apparent loss of divine attributes is only pretense or illusion.
Among other things, this raises the concern that the incarnation is somehow a grand deception, thus casting doubt on Christ's moral perfection. More acceptable, then, are views according to which it somehow seems even to Christ himself as if certain divine attributes which he actually possesses have been laid aside.
On this view, the loss of omniscience, omnipotence, and so on is only simulated. Christ retains all of the traditional divine attributes. But from his point of view it is, nevertheless, as if those attributes are gone. Crisp , Ch. One concern that might be raised with respect to the doctrine of functional kenosis is that it is hard to see how a divine being could possibly simulate to himself, without outright pretense the loss of attributes like omniscience or omnipotence.
But perhaps the resources for addressing this worry are to be found in what is now widely seen as the main rival to the traditional kenotic theory: Thomas V. Morris develops the two minds view in two steps, one defensive, the other constructive. First, Morris claims that the incoherence charge against the incarnation rests on a mistake. The critic assumes that, for example, humans are essentially non-omniscient. But what are the grounds for this assertion? Unless we think that we have some special direct insight into the essential properties of human nature, our grounds are that all of the human beings we have encountered have that property.
But this merely suffices to show that the property is common to humans, not that it is essential. As Morris points out, it may be universally true that all human beings, for example, were born within ten miles of the surface of the earth, but this does not mean that this is an essential property of human beings. An offspring of human parents born on the international space station would still be human. If this is right, the defender of the incarnation can reject the critic's characterization of human nature, and thereby eliminate the conflict between divine attributes and human nature so characterized.
This merely provides a way to fend off the critic, however, without supplying any positive model for how the incarnation should be understood. In the second step, then, Morris proposes that we think about the incarnation as the realization of one person with two minds: a human mind and a divine mind. During his earthly life, Morris proposes, Jesus Christ had two minds, with consciousness centered in the human mind. This human mind had partial access to the contents of the divine mind, while God the Son's divine mind had full access to the corresponding human mind.
The chief difficulty this view faces concerns the threat of Nestorianism the view, formally condemned by the Church, that there are two persons in the incarnate Christ.
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It is natural simply to identify persons with minds—or, at the very least, to assume that the number of minds equals the number of persons. If we go with such very natural assumptions, however, the two minds view leads directly to the view that the incarnation gives us two persons, contrary to orthodoxy.
Moreover, one might wonder whether taking the two minds model seriously leads us to the view that Christ suffers from something like multiple personality disorder. In response to both objections, however, one might note that contemporary psychology seems to provide resources which support the viability of the two minds model. As Morris points out elsewhere, the human mind is sometimes characterized as a system of somewhat autonomous subsystems. The normal human mind, for example, includes on these characterizations both a conscious mind the seat of awareness and an unconscious mind. It does not really matter for present purposes whether this psychological story is correct ; the point is just that it seems coherent, and seems neither to involve multiple personality nor to imply that what seems to be a single subject is, in reality, two distinct persons.
Morris proposes, then, that similar sorts of relations can be supposed to obtain between the divine and human mind of Christ. First, a brief note about terminology. But it is not a neutral term. Rather, it already embodies a partial theory about what human salvation involves and about what the work of Christ accomplishes. In particular, it presupposes that saving human beings from death and separation from God primarily involves atoning for sin rather than say delivering human beings from some kind of bondage, repairing human nature, or something else.
Obviously these terms are not all synonymous; so part of the task of an overall theology of salvation—a soteriology—is to sort out the relations among these various terms and phrases is salvation simply to be identified with eternal life, for example? That said, however, we do not ourselves intend to advocate on behalf of any particular terminology.
In what follows, we shall discuss only three of the most well-known and widely discussed theories or families of theories about what the work of Jesus accomplishes on behalf of human beings. All take the suffering and death of Jesus to be an integral part of his work on our behalf; but the first theory holds Jesus' resurrection and ascension also to be absolutely central to that work, and the second theory holds his sinless life to be of near-equal importance.
Discussing these theories under three separate headings as we do below may foster the illusion that what we have are three mutually exclusive views, each marking off a wholly distinct camp in the history of soteriological theorizing, and each aiming to provide a full accounting of what Jesus' work contributes to human salvation from death and separation from God. As we have already indicated, however, a variety of terms and images are used in the Bible to characterize what Jesus accomplished and, in contrast with the doctrines of the trinity and incarnation, we do not have for the doctrine of salvation an ecumenical conciliar prononouncement i.
Consequently, it is no surprise that many thinkers appropriate imagery from more than one of the theories described below or others besides to explain their understanding of the nature and efficacy of Jesus' work. The ransom theory, also known as the Christus Victor theory is generally regarded as the dominant theory of the Patristic period, and has been attributed to such early Church Fathers as Origen, Athanasius, and especially Gregory of Nyssa. One might question, however, whether any of these theologians ever intended to offer the ransom story about to be described as a theory of the atonement, rather than simply an extended metaphor.
What does seem clear, however, is that they at least intended to emphasize victory over sin, death, and so on as one of the principle salvific effects of the work of Christ. The ransom theory takes as its point of departure the idea that human beings are in a kind of bondage to sin, death, and the Devil. The basic view, familiar enough now from literature and film, is that God and the Devil are in a sort of competition for souls, and the rules of the competition state that anyone stained by sin must die and then forever exist as the Devil's prisoner in hell.
As the view is often developed, human sin gives the Devil a legitimate right to the possession of human souls. Thus, much as God loves us and would otherwise desire for us never to die and, furthermore, to enjoy life in heaven with him, the sad fact is that we, by our sins, have secured a much different destiny for ourselves. But here is where the work of Christ is supposed to come in. According to the ransom view, it would be unfitting for God simply to violate the pre-ordained rules of the competition and snatch our souls out of the Devil's grasp.
But it is not at all unfitting for God to pay the Devil a ransom in exchange for our freedom. Christ's death is that ransom. By living a sinless life and then dying like a sinner, Christ pays a price that, in the eyes of all parties to the competition, earns back for God the right to our souls, and thus effects a great triumph over the Devil, sin, and death. The moral exemplar theory, pioneered by Peter Abelard, holds that the work of Christ is fundamentally aimed at bringing about moral and spiritual reform in the sinner—a kind of reform that is not fully possible apart from Christ's work.
The Son of God became incarnate, on this view, in order to set this example and thus provide a necessary condition for the moral reform that is, in turn, necessary for the full restoration of the relationship between creature and Creator. On this picture, Jesus' sinless life is as much a part of his soteriologically relevant work as his suffering and death on the cross. Thus far, it may sound as if the exemplar theory says that all there is to the efficacy of Jesus' life and death for salvation is the provision of a fine example for us to imitate.
According to Philip L. Quinn , however, to present the theory this way is simply to caricature it. According to Quinn, the dominant motif in Abelard's exemplar theory is one according to which human moral character is, in a very robust sense transformed by Christ's love. He writes:. In Quinn's hands, then, the exemplar theory is one according to which the life and death of Christ do indeed provide an example for us to imitate--and an example that plays an important role in effecting the transformation that will make us fit for fellowship with God.
But, in contrast to the usual caricature of that theory, the exemplary nature of Christ's love does not exhaust its transformative power. Satisfaction theories start from the idea that human sin constitutes a grave offense against God, the magnitude of which renders forgiveness and reconciliation morally impossible unless something is done either to satisfy the demands of justice or to compensate God for the wrong done to him.
These theories go on to note that human beings are absolutely incapable on their own of compensating God for the wrong they have done to him, and that the only way for them to satisfy the demands of justice is to suffer death and eternal separation from God. Thus, in order to avoid this fate, they are in dire need of help. Christ, through his death and, on some versions, through his sinless life as well has provided that help.
The different versions of the satisfaction theory are differentiated by their claims about what sort of help the work of Christ has provided. Here we'll discuss three versions: St. Anselm's debt-cancellation theory, the penal substitution theory defended by John Calvin and many others in the reformed tradition, and the penitential substitution theory, attributed to Thomas Aquinas and defended most recently by Eleonore Stump and Richard Swinburne.
According to Anselm, our sin puts us in a kind of debt toward God. As our creator, God is entitled to our submission and obedience. By sinning, we therefore fail to give God something that we owe him. Thus, we deserve to be punished until we do give God what we owe him. Indeed, on Anselm's view, not only is it just for God to punish us; it is, other things being equal, unfitting for him not to punish us. For as long as we are not giving God his due, we are dishonoring him; and the dishonoring of God is maximally intolerable.
By allowing us to get away with dishonoring him, then, God would be tolerating what is maximally intolerable. Moreover, he would be behaving in a way that leaves sinners and the sinless in substantially the same position before him, which, Anselm thinks, is unseemly. But, of course, once we have sinned, it is impossible for us to give God the perfect life that we owe him.
So we are left in the position of a debtor who cannot, under any circumstances, repay his own debt and is therefore stuck in debtor's prison for the remainder of his existence. By living a sinless life, however, Christ was in a different position before God. He was the one human being who gave God what God was owed. Thus, he deserved no punishment; he did not even deserve death. And yet he submitted to death anyway for the sake of obeying God. In doing this, he gave God more than he owed God; and so, on Anselm's view, put God in the position of owing him something. According to Anselm, just as it would be unfitting for God not to punish us, so too it would be unfitting for God not to reward Jesus.
But Jesus, as God incarnate, has already at his disposal everything he could possibly need or desire. So what reward could possibly be given to him? None, of course. But, Anselm argues, the reward can be transferred; and, under the circumstances, it would be unfitting for God not to transfer it. Thus, the reward that Jesus claims is the cancellation of the collective debt of his friends. This allows God to pay what he owes, and it allows him to suffer no dishonor in failing to collect what is due him from us. As should be clear, the notion of substitution isn't really a part of Anselm's theory of the atonement.
Contrary to the more common view in the liteature, Richard Cross doesn't even take satisfaction to be part of Anselm's theory. Perhaps he is right—the question seems to turn on whether part of what God the Father receives in the overall transaction with Jesus is a kind of compensation for the harm done by human sin. Nevertheless, substitution is a central part of other satisfaction theories. Thus, consider the penal substitution theory. According to this theory, the just punishment for sin is death and separation from God.
Moreover, on this view, though God strongly desires for us not to receive this punishment it would be unfitting for God simply to waive our punishment. But, as in the case of monetary fines, the punishment can be paid by a willing substitute. Thus, out of love for us, God the Father sent the willing Son to be our substitute and to satisfy the demands of justice on our behalf.
Richard Swinburne's , version of the satisfaction theory also includes a substitutionary element. See also Stump The views defended by Stump and Swinburne are quite similar, and both attribute the same basic view to Aquinas. Here we focus on Swinburne's development of the view. According to Swinburne, in human relationships, the process of making atonement for one's sin has four parts: apology, repentance, reparation where possible , and in case of serious wrongs penance. Thus, suppose you angrily throw a brick through the window of a friend's house.
Later, you come to seek forgiveness. In order to receive forgiveness, you will surely have to apologize and repent—i. You ought also to agree to fix the broken window. Depending on the circumstance, however, even this might not be enough. It might be that, in addition to apologizing, repenting, and making reparations, you ought to do something further to show that you are quite serious about your apology and repentance. Perhaps, for example, you will send flowers every day for a week; perhaps you will stand outside your friend's window with a portable stereo playing a meaningful song; perhaps you will offer some other sort of gift or sacrifice.
This something further is penance. Importantly, penance isn't punishment: it's not a bit of suffering that you deserve to have inflicted upon you by someone else for the purpose of retribution, rehabilitation, deterrence, or compensation. Rather, it's a bit of suffering that you voluntarily undergo or a sacrifice that you voluntarily make in order to repair your relationship with someone. According to Swinburne, the same four components are involved in our reconciliation with God. Apology and repentance we can do on our own, but reparation and penance we cannot.
We owe God a life of perfect obedience. By sinning we have made it impossible for God to get that from us. If, upon apologizing to God and repenting of our sins we were thereafter to live a life of perfect obedience, we would only be giving God what we already owe him; we would not thereby be giving back to him anything that we have taken away. Thus, our very best efforts would not suffice even to make reparations for what we have done.
There is nothing we can give God to compsensate him for his loss, and there is no extra gift we can give or extra sacrifice we can make in order to do penance.
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According to Swinburne, it would be unfitting for God simply to overlook our sins, ignoring the need for reparation and penance. It would also be unfitting for God to leave us in the helpless situation of being unable to reconcile ourselves to him. Thus, on his view, God sent Christ to earth so that Christ might willingly offer his own sinless life and death as restitution and penance for the sin of the world.
In this way, then, God helps us to make restitution and penance. We must apologize and repent on our own; we must also recognize our own helplessness to make up for what we have done. But then we can look to the life and death of Christ and offer that up to God on our own behalf as reparation and penance. Although the Christus Victor theory is of historical importance and has exerted a great deal of literary influence, it has been widely rejected since the middle ages, in no small part because it is hard to take seriously the idea that God might be in competition with or have obligations toward another being much less a being like the Devil in the ways described above.
Critics object to the idea, which is typically part of this view, that salvation involves a sort of transaction between God and the Devil; they object to the idea, present particularly in Gregory of Nyssa's version of the view, that Christ's victory over the Devil comes partly through divine deception with Christ's divinity being hidden from the Devil until after Christ's death, when he triumphantly rises from the grave ; and they sometimes also object to the reification and personification of the forces of sin, death, and evil.
For this reason, the Abelardian and Anselmian views have been far and away the more popular theories for the past millenium. But each of these remaining theories faces its share of difficulties as well. Penal substitutionary theories, for example, maintain that it is morally impossible for God simply to forgive our sins without exacting reparation or punishment. Some have argued that this entails that God does not forgive sin at all.
Stump, 61—5 Forgiveness involves a refusal to demand full reparation and a willingness to let an offense go without punishment.
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Moreover, the penal substitution theory faces the challenge of explaining how it could possibly be just to allow a substitute to bear someone else's punishment. As David Lewis notes, we do allow for penal substitution in the case of serious fines. But the idea of allowing a substitute to bear someone else's death sentence or similarly serious punishment seems, on the face of it, to be morally repugnant. Indeed, the penal substitution model is seen by critics to be morally offensive on multiple counts.
Objectors claim that at the heart of the model is the image of a wrathful deity who can be appeased by violent and bloody sacrifice, and who has made the violent death of his own incarnate Son the necessary condition for showing love and forgiveness to his human creatures. Finlan , On this score, Swinburne's theory of penitential substitution is on somewhat surer footing; but one problem with Swinburne's view is that it is hard, ultimately, to see what it would even mean to offer up another person's life and death as one's own reparation or penance.
The Anselmian version of the satisfaction theory does not quite encounter these difficulties. But, together with the moral exemplar theory and various other versions of the satisfaction theory, it faces a different sort of problem. Both views seem unable to account for the Biblical emphasis on the necessity of Christ's passion to remedy the problems brought forth by sin. It is hard to see why Christ's death plays any essential role in establishing him as moral exemplar.
Further, it is hard to see why it would be needed in order for him to merit the sort of reward that Anselm thinks the Father owes him. Given that Christ is a man, he owes it to the Father to live a sinless life; but why isn't the incarnation itself sufficiently supererogatory to merit the debt-cancelling reward? Moreover, even if we can discover some reason why Christ's death would be necessary under these theories, it is hard to see why it would have to involve such horrible suffering. For purposes of meriting a reward or for serving as an exemplar, why would it not suffice for Christ to dwell among us, live a perfect human life resisting all earthly temptation, and then die a quiet death at home?
Indeed, these theories seem unable to account even for the value in Christ's passion, much less its necessity. There are, of course, responses to these objections in the literature; and each of the theories just discussed has had able and prominent defenders within the past century. Moreover, insofar as there is no well-developed and formally recognized orthodoxy with respect to these matters, those who remain unsatisfied with the theories just described have populated the literature with a variety of alternative stories about the salvific efficacy of the work of Jesus.
Thus, even more than the other two theological loci we have discussed in this article, the doctrine of salvation seems ripe for substantial further research. Murray Michael Rea. Philosophy and Christian Theology 2. Trinity 2. Incarnation 3. The Kenotic View 3. Atonement 4. The Moral Exemplar Theory 4. Satisfaction Theories 4. Philosophy and Christian Theology In the history of Christian theology, philosophy has sometimes been seen as a natural complement to theological reflection, whereas at other times practitioners of the two disciplines have regarded each other as mortal enemies.
Trinity From the beginning, Christians have affirmed the claim that there is one God, and three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each of whom is God. Incarnation The doctrine of the Incarnation holds that, at a time roughly two thousand years in the past, the second person of the trinity took on himself a distinct, fully human nature.
Phillipians —8, NRSV. He writes: My suggestion is that what Abelard has to contribute to our thinking about the atonement is the idea that divine love, made manifest throughout the life of Christ but especially in his suffering and dying, has the power to transform human sinners, if they cooperate, in ways that fit them for everlasting life in intimate union with God. On [this] view, the love of God for us exhibited in the life of Christ is a good example to imitate, but it is not merely an example.
Above and beyond its exemplary value, there is in it a surplus of mysterious causal efficacy that no merely human love possesses. And the operation of divine love in that supernatural mode is a causally necessary condition of there being implanted or kindled in us the kind of responsive love of God that, as Abelard supposes, enables us to do all things out of love and so to conquer the motives that would otherwise keep us enslaved to sin. Divine Evil? Crisp, Oliver, a. Flint, Thomas and Michael Rea, Crisp, Oliver and Michael Rea eds. Morris, Thomas V. Rea, Michael ed.
Oxford Readings in Philosphical Theology, vol. Trinity Augustine, The Trinity , trans. Ayres, Lewis, Barnes, Michel R. Brower, Jeffrey, Brower and Kevom Guilfoy eds. Brower, Jeffrey and Michael Rea, a.
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Brown, David, Davis, Stephen T. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing.
For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? We have seen that the publication of the first volume of Democracy in America in suddenly made the young Tocqueville a public figure.
Between and , the thirtieth and the forty-third years of his life, Tocqueville was elected to the Chamber of Deputies and to the French Academy He published the second volume of Democracy in America , and a number of minor writings; and his Democracy was being translated and published in many languages across Europe and in the Americas. In he married a middle-class Englishwoman from a respectable family who had served as a governess in France for years; Marie Mottley was several years older and several inches taller than her husband, an earnest and intelligent woman with a difficult temperament, who bore him no children.
Tocqueville suffered from a pulmonary condition, and his lung disease grew progressively worse through the years. He was now a respected public personage, but not a successful political figure. He took part in the political life of France out of a sense of duty rather than out of ambition. He wanted to help channel the democratic tide in the direction of decency and order. Many people disliked the serious and Olympian tone of his utterances; he seemed like Aristides the Just in the heedless democracy of Athens.
On the evidence of his contemporaries we may add that his speeches in the Chamber were unduly learned, sometimes lengthy, and delivered without much oratorical talent. On 29 January he spoke in the Chamber, accurately predicting that a revolution was brewing. Consider the old Monarchy, gentlemen. It was stronger than you, stronger because of its origin; it was better supported than you are by ancient customs, old mores and old beliefs; it was stronger than you, and yet it has fallen into dust.
Why did it fall? No, gentlemen, there is another cause: the class that was ruling then had, through its indifference, selfishness and vice, became incapable and unworthy of ruling… He implored his colleagues in the Chamber to change the spirit of the government, because another great revolution was around the corner.
His prophetic speech was received with apathy and ridicule. What Tocqueville had foretold came about less than a month later with the February Revolution of During the deliberations a second, short but bloody insurrection in June turned the tide of sentiment and opinion more conservative. For the next two years he governed with the support of the Assembly, and in June of he appointed Tocqueville Foreign Minister, and Tocqueville served for five months. Tocqueville performed his duties with much energy and intelligence during a difficult and eventful period of French and European history.
The fires of the revolutions had not yet died out; there was a war of independence in Hungary; a war in Northern Italy; French troops were sent to Rome to crush the republican rebellion there and to restore the Pope to his see. In October Louis-Napoleon dismissed the conservative-liberal cabinet of which Tocqueville was a prominent member. He did not return to political life again. There was worse to come.
Tocqueville accurately foresaw the political future: Louis-Napoleon would be supported as dictator by the majority of the people; his regime would be a new kind of democratic Caesarism. Tocqueville had only contempt for the Left radicals who in June had attempted the first socialist revolution in France; but he immediately realized that the fear-ridden reaction against the Left, equally contemptible, was a new phenomenon consonant with the development of democracy.
It meant the appearance of a new radical Right, supported by masses of people out of fear of revolution and out of their sentiments of nationalism and respectability. But now that the weakness of the Red party has been proved, people will regret the price at which their enemy has been put down. His literary dedication was exceptionally strong. But the largest part of his writings was unpublished after his death, and a good part remains unpublished even today.
To put down his thoughts on paper, whether in letters to friends or only for himself, remained a necessity for Tocqueville throughout his life. The cold and damp winters in the Tocqueville chateau in Normandy were bad for his lungs; and he complained that his state of mind was painfully agitated and depressed. In his doctors advised him to spend a winter farther south; they also said that he ought to occupy his mind with other than political concerns. In Italy, at Sorrento, he began to write the Souvenirs , his recollections of the turbulence of the revolutionary years — They are obviously the most personal of his published books.
Again, we are in the presence of an extraordinary work, because of the character and the genius of its author. The Souvenirs transcend the limits of what is called a memoir or a history. In this book, as also in some of his other writings, Tocqueville demonstrates—without, however, arguing the philosophical point—the inadequacy of the Cartesian and scientific separation of the universe into object and subject, the observer from the matter observed. He begins the book with this kind of avowal. I have for some time in my retreat turned my thoughts to myself, or rather to those events of the recent past in which I played a part or stood as witness.
The best use for my leisure seems to be to go back over those events, to describe the men I saw taking part in them, and, if I can, to catch in this way and engrave on my memory those confused features that make up the uncertain physiognomy of my time. Along with this decision of mine goes another to which I shall be equally faithful: these recollections are to be a mental relaxation for myself and not a work of literature.
They are written for myself alone. These pages are to be a mirror, in which I can enjoy seeing my contemporaries and myself, not a painting for the public to view. My best friends are not to know about them, for I wish to keep my freedom to describe myself and them without flattery. I want to uncover the secret motives that made us act, them and myself as well as other men; and when I have understood these, to state them. In a word, I want to express myself honestly in these memoirs, and it is therefore necessary that they be completely secret.
He returns to this theme of his Souvenirs later in the work. I am merely trying to retrace my own actions, thoughts and impressions during that time. For it is only right that I should take the same liberties with myself as I have taken, and will often take again, with so many others. I think that in his concern for his family he must have wanted to put them in safety outside Paris first. His private and his public virtues, for he had both in great measure, did not march in step, for the former always came first; we saw things go that way more than once.
In any case, I cannot count that as a great crime. Virtues of any sort are rare enough, and we can ill afford to quibble about their type and relative importance. I found this excellent man—for such he was in spite of well-meaning bits of trickery, pious fibs and all the other petty sins that a timid heart and vacillating mind could suggest to an honest soul—I found him, I say, walking about in his room, a prey to strong emotions.
Sauzet had handsome but undistinguished features, the dignity of a cathedral verger and a large fat body with very short arms. When he was restless or upset, as he nearly always was, he would waggle his little arms convulsively in all directions like a drowning man. His manner, while we talked, was strange; he walked about, stopped and then sat down with one foot tucked under his fat buttocks, as he usually did in moments of great agitation; then he got up and sat down again without coming to any conclusion. It was a great misfortune for the House of Orleans to have a respectable man of that sort in charge of the Chamber on such a day; a bold rogue would have been more use.
Beside them stood the Duke of Nemours, buttoned up in his uniform, erect, stiff, cold and silent: a post painted to look like a lieutenant-general. In my view he was the only man in real danger that day. All the time that I watched him exposed to this peril, his courage remained the same: taciturn, sterile and uninspired. Courage of that nature was more likely to discourage and dishearten his friends than to impress the enemy; its only use would be to enable him to die honorably, if die he must.
They regarded him as the evil and Lamartine as the good genius, mistakenly in both cases. Fools show their fear grossly in all its nakedness, but the others know how to cover it with a veil of such fine and delicately woven, small, convincing deceits that there is a pleasure in contemplating this ingenious labor of the intelligence. I could not help smiling at that sight, for they did not love each other at all, but danger is like wine in making all men sentimental. Each time the sitting was resumed, he himself told us all that had been learned for certain, during the adjournment.
Never were the ridiculous and the sublime so close, for the deeds were sublime and the narrator ridiculous. This ability rarely comes out in Democracy in America , where Tocqueville deals principally with institutions and society as a whole, rather than with individuals. This is not only the result of intelligent artistry or of the French style. This progression may be superficially—but only superficially —seen as a shift from the subject of institutions to the subject of men and their thoughts, or from political science and sociology to history.
As I left my bedroom…the 24th of February, I first met the cook who had been out; the good woman was quite beside herself and poured out a sorrowful rigmarole from which I could understand nothing but that the government was having the poor people massacred. I met one of the National Guard hurrying along, rifle in hand; with an air of tragedy. I spoke to him but could learn nothing save that the government was massacring the people to which he added that the National Guard would know how to put that right.
It was always the same refrain which, of course, explained nothing to me. I knew the vices of the July government all too well, and cruelty was not among them. I consider it to have been one of the most corrupt, but least bloodthirsty, that have ever existed, and I repeat the rumor only to show how such rumors help revolutions along. The Souvenirs are more than an historical account.
We have seen that Tocqueville had predicted the coming of the revolution of The French Revolution, which abolished all privileges, and destroyed all exclusive rights, did leave one, that of property. The holders of property must not delude themselves about the strength of their position, or suppose that, because it has so far nowhere been surmounted, the right to property is an insurmountable barrier; for our age is not like any other…Soon the political struggle will be between the Haves and the Have-nots; property will be the great battlefield; and the main political questions will turn on the more or less profound modifications of the rights of property owners that are to be made… In this respect, as in so many others, Tocqueville was ahead of Marx and of the socialist thinkers after him.
Unlike them, however, Tocqueville did not for a moment believe that the struggle between the Haves and the Have-nots would be the culmination of the history of mankind. He did not believe in Economic Man. Tocqueville did not think that the coming revolution would be anything but another act in the intermittent drama of violent shocks whereby the cause of equality was advanced in France by different people at different times.
Already in the second volume of Democracy in America Tocqueville made the startling proposition that great revolutions were bound to become rare. In , in the midst of the fighting, he remarked how there was something brummagem and make-believe in this revolution:. We French, Parisians especially, gladly mingle literary and theatrical reminiscences with our most serious demonstrations.
This often creates the impression that our feelings are false, whereas in fact they are only clumsily tricked out. And everything I saw… was plainly stamped with the imprint of such memories; the whole time I had the feeling that we had staged a play about the French Revolution, rather than that we were continuing it.
This time it was not a matter of overthrowing the government, but simply letting it fall. More remarkable still, on occasion Tocqueville is able to distinguish—and he is driven by his honesty to describe—the differences between his impression of certain events when he first experienced them, and the sometimes dissimilar impressions that came to his mind later and the conclusions he drew from them. For my part, I hate all those absolute systems that make the events of history depend on great first causes linked together by the chain of fate and thus succeed, so to speak, in banishing men from the history of the human race.
Their boasted breath seems to me narrow, and their mathematical exactness false. But I am firmly convinced that chance can do nothing unless the ground has been prepared in advance. Antecedent facts, the nature of institutions, turns of mind and the state of mores are the materials from which chance composes those unexpected events that surprise and terrify us… He began to compose his first notes even though he was ill and weighted down by the gloomiest thoughts about the future of France.
By December his mind had seized upon a different plan. He would write a book describing the main features of the French Revolution and include Napoleon. Because of his illness he was again advised to move away from Normandy, at least for a time. He and Madame de Tocqueville found a country house near Tours. A fortunate circumstance attended him there: he was able to search through the provincial archives in Tours, where he was assisted by the excellent archivist Charles de Grandmaison. Tocqueville now extended further the scope of his projected work.
He would deal not only with the French Revolution and with Napoleon but with the origins of the Revolution. He immersed himself more and more in that subject, which became the first volume of a projected two-volume work. It was published in June ; it received a critical acclaim not dissimilar from that of the first volume of Democracy in America twenty-one years before. The writing is of the same high quality as that of his earlier works and his philosophy is of course unchanged. Yet two new features are worth noting. The other new feature is his individual style of historiography.
He is interested in why as well as in how things happened; and the why is often wrapped up in the how. As we found apt illustrations in his chapter titles before, so we may learn about the cast of his thought from these:. And so on. The main theme of the book is that many of the practices of the old regime, foremost among them administrative centralization, were responsible for the actual ills as well as the restlessness that plagued France and the French people before The emphasis on these origins of the French Revolution was something very new at the time.
Yet the Old Regime is not a thesis-history; Tocqueville knew very well that great events are seldom the results of a single string of causes. One of the main achievements of Tocqueville the historian is his revision of many standard notions about the origins of the Revolution. It is not true that the revolution brought about a radically new kind of government: the vice of modern democratic rule, excessive centralization, had begun under the old regime. It is not true that royal abuses provoked the outbreak of the revolt: violence broke out where royal power proved the mildest, and counter-revolution was to rise in the west of France, where the feudal rules had lingered on longest.
It could not be denied that in there was a noble, generous, virile spirit in the air; on the other hand there was much pretense, vanity, and opportunism. In this book I shall study, rather, the background and the nature of the Revolution. We saw earlier that Tocqueville transcends ideological and academic categories; as is the wont of genius, his spirit also transcended his own times. Tocqueville, who is all too often described as an admirable nineteenth-century thinker, a conservative liberal of a time and place now hopelessly remote, possessed a mind which had both eighteenth— and twentieth-century characteristics.
His writings—if only by the fine clarity of his prose—bear many of the marks of the eighteenth century, when history was part and parcel of literature, in the broad and honorific sense. The lucidity, the economy, the aphoristic quality, and the symmetrical structure of many of his chapters puts Tocqueville in the company of Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Gibbon.
In these respects he has more in common with them than with the professional historians of the nineteenth century. Nor does his view of the nature of history accord with that of the nineteenth century. To him history is not a science possessing an ascertainable method. His view of history, based on his understanding of human nature, is akin, rather, to that of the few independent thinkers of the twentieth century who regard the application of scientific method to human affairs as unworkable and unduly restrictive of meaning.
When Faguet wrote, more than eighty years ago, the texture of history had not yet changed. At that time it seemed still reasonable to concentrate on the history of the politically conscious classes; history was past politics and politics present history. This Tocqueville already knew. The importance of the Old Regime and the French Revolution is not only that it is an extraordinarily enlightening and instructive interpretation of the French Revolution; it is also an extraordinarily instructive new type of history. Tocqueville implicitly and, at times, explicitly refutes many of the dogmas of modern professional history writing.
He is not only among the earliest to note that political history is no longer enough; he sees that the politically active classes may become powerless, and that their abdication of leadership is a development often more decisive than the alleged demands and decisions of the people. Revolutions are seldom made by the conscious dynamism of the people; yet Tocqueville rejects both the fatalistic notion that accidents govern history and the deterministic notion that people are moved by predetermined material motives.
History is made by men, to whom God has given free will. His purpose was description rather than definition, comprehension rather than narration. While Tocqueville was writing the first volume of the Old Regime and the French Revolution he was thinking more in terms of a European Revolution. He considered that what had happened in France in was but the first phase of an epoch of European revolutions which, sixty years after the storming of the Bastille, was still going on.
The European Revolution, in turn, was but part and parcel of a greater movement toward social democracy, at the core of which stood the fundamental problem of the relationship of liberty to equality but also that of democracy to Christianity. By the time the first volume was published he was well on his way through the second. Of the second volume we have his outline: it was to consist of five books, of which two Books I and III were almost completed; the rest consists of half-completed passages and notes to himself. That Tocqueville died before he could finish this work was, and remains, a tragedy.
As in the case of Democracy in America , the second volume might have been even more impressive than the first. The portions we have suggest this judgment. In Book I Tocqueville draws attention to the history of the Parlements, those aristocratic assemblies which in initiated the attack on the old regime. Between fear of the royalists and of the Jacobins, the majority of the nation sought an escape. The Revolution was dear, but the Republic was feared lest it should result in the return of one or the other. One might even say that each of these passions nourished the other; it was because the French found precious certain benefits ensured them by the Revolution that they feared all the more keenly a government which might interfere with these profits.
Of all the privileges that they had won or obtained during the previous ten years, the only one that they were disposed to surrender was liberty. They were ready to give up the liberty which the Revolution had merely promised, in order to finally enjoy the benefits that it had brought. The parties themselves, decimated, apathetic, and weary, longed to rest for a time during a dictatorship of any kind, provided only that it was exercised by an outsider and that it weighed upon their rivals as much as on themselves.
This feature completes the picture. When great political parties begin to cool in their attachments without softening their hatreds, and at last reach the point of wishing less to succeed than to prevent the success of their opponents, one should prepare for servitude—the master is near. It was easy to see that this master could rise only from the army… What a portrait of Napoleon Tocqueville could have given us! We have some of its features in the notes he left behind; they startle us with his many insights. Generally speaking, people are not very ardent or indomitable or energetic in their affairs when their personal passions are not engaged.
Yet their personal passions, however vivid they may be, do not propel them either very far or very high unless these passions keep growing before their own eyes, unless they seem to justify themselves by being related to some greater cause for the service of mankind. It is due to our human sense of honor that we should be in need of this stimulant.
Add to passions born of self-interest the aim to change the face of the world and to regenerate the human race: only then will you see what men are really capable of. Its narrow-minded and selfish nature led to violence and darkness; its generous and selfless elements made its impulse powerful and great. And yet, because of the deplorable habit of thinking in intellectual compartments, it is seldom that he is recognized as such. An interesting list could be compiled with the names of those who have asserted that Tocqueville was a conservative, a liberal, a historian, a sociologist, an aristocrat, a democrat, a Christian, an agnostic.
In quite a few instances the commentators contradict themselves; at times Tocqueville is assigned to contradictory categories within the same monograph, essay, or review. Yet his books about the Revolution are crystal clear. They show, for instance, that while he did not believe that the voice of the people is the voice of God, neither did he believe that it was the voice of the devil.
He was not one of those who thought that a nation has the right to go beyond her natural interest to impose ideas on others and arrogate to herself the role of teaching the world; yet he did not believe in a narrow concept of national interest either. He was not a French nationalist or a European imperialist; yet he did not assume that the achievements and the ideals of every nation and every civilization are of the same worth. He condemned the old regime as well as the Revolution and found virtues in both.
The Revolution , therefore, is hortatory history. In turn, it is only with this moral purpose in mind that one can avoid some of the mistaken conceptions of Tocqueville and his work. If the main concern of Democracy in America was the future of democracy, that book also reveals Tocqueville as more than a conservative democrat or a liberal aristocrat.
If the main concern of The Revolution included the future of France and of Europe, it also reveals Tocqueville as more than an old-fashioned historian or a forerunner of sociology. He had to give up work on his book. In June he suffered a hemorrhage in one lung. His wife was also ill. In October his doctor in Paris recommended that they go south again. Next month they arrived in Cannes, completely exhausted. By February his health had improved a little. As always, he devoted considerable time and effort to correspondence with his friends. His last letters were dictated a week before the day he died, on 16 April Soon after they had arrived in Cannes the Tocquevilles began to look for a nursing sister.
Since his illness prevented him from going to church, he asked one of the Sisters to read him the prayers of the Mass.
The Bishop of Orleans came to visit; he and another priest said Mass in his rooms. He made his confession, he took Communion, and he died in peace with himself and with his Church. Why lay stress on these private matters? For two reasons. First, they may help to answer the third among the series of questions: was Tocqueville a historian or a sociologist? There are evidences of this already in his Democracy in America in the s.
Of the—not yet completed—edition of his collected works in twenty-one volumes, eleven or twelve will consist of letters. They are still being discovered in French family archives and in the stocks of manuscript dealers. The scope of his correspondence is amazing. It deals with innumerable topics of lasting interest.
The letters about England, Germany, Russia deserve minute attention. The quality of the writing is as high as that of his finished books. Tocqueville had often thought that he was solitary, though he put great value on his friendships. He was thus driven by a need to express his thoughts to his friends. His letters served him as a diary would another thinker. In them one finds the germ of ideas Tocqueville would later develop in a book.
Among the most important of these letters are those which Tocqueville wrote to Arthur de Gobineau Gobineau met Tocqueville in the early s. They are summary statements of the beliefs of the Catholic Christian Tocqueville; and they are principal arguments for the incompatibility of Christianity with a philosophy of history dependent on conceptions of race. Like his temperament and his faith, his views of human nature and of human knowledge were not Cartesian. Tocqueville had little appetite for methodical philosophy, though on occasion he did not hesitate to criticize certain passages in Aristotle or Plato.
He saw, for example, that in human beings the relations of cause and effect are far more complex than in other organisms, let alone in the physical world. In short, the mechanical laws of the physical universe are not automatically applicable to the human universe. But even the Newtonian system has no more than such a foundation. His ideas accord with those of some of the greatest twentieth-century thinkers, such as the Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset the French radical Christian humanist Bernanos, or the German physicist-philosopher Werner Heisenberg.
We have seen that the recognition of Tocqueville has been far from universal and often inadequate, even though his literary heritage is unusually rich in scope and extent. We know much about his ideas, about the inclinations of his mind, and even about his religious and other beliefs. We know less about his private life. Yet Tocqueville was a warm-hearted human being, often to the point of excitability. His physical appearance was unprepossessing: he was small in stature, a thin, nervous little man with a sallow complexion: a frail physical specimen, almost the last of a long line of puissant ancestors.
The true nature of his nobility resided in his soul. Reference 1: There are several English editions of Democracy in America , of which the two best ones are a the original Francis Bowen translation, all of its nineteenth-century Victorianisms of style notwithstanding; its most recent paperback edition Knopf-Vintage, New York, contains in Vol. Consult the Bibliography for additional translations and full citations. Reference 2: There are many editions of the Recollections of Alexis de Tocqueville , the best of which is the New York, one.
A number of English translations of the work of Tocqueville and Beaumont are listed in the Bibliography. After thirty-one years it is still far from being complete. See the Bibliography for specifics on the French editions. Marcel, Essai politique sur Alexis de Tocqueville Paris, deserves mention. Antoine Redier, Comme disait M. Thereafter the number of Tocqueville studies increase.
go site I shall list only the more worthy ones: J. Pierson, ed. Many of the most cogent and valuable commentaries concerning Tocqueville have been published in the form of articles. Consult the Bibliography for additional citations. His very name, especially in the English-speaking world, is often written erroneously.
His superiority is evident here to a high degree. It was not a sudden achievement. Tocqueville, Democracy in America , Vol. I, Chapter XI. Because of the differences in pagination in the various English editions of Democracy in America , I am omitting references to the pages where the passages cited may be found.
Please consult the Bibliography for various English translations of Democracy in America. All subsequent quotes in this section are from Chapter VI. Alexis de Tocqueville, Recollections. London and New York, , pp. Memoir, Letters, and Remains of Alexis de Tocqueville , p. Consult English Translation section of the Tocqueville Bibliography. Recollections , p. References to Souvenirs are from the English translation edition. The evidence of his private religious practices during the middle phase of his life remains fragmentary; the evidence for his religious practices during the last phase of his life is not.
So true is this that the better one is acquainted with the old regime the more one finds that the Revolution was far from doing either all the good or all the harm that is supposed; it may be said rather to have disturbed than to have altered society. This truth springs up in all directions as soon as one ploughs the ancient soil. Paris: Gallimard, —. Pouthas, Charles H. Paris, , pp. Democracy in America. The Henry Reeve text as revised by Francis Bowen, now further corrected and edited with a historical essay, editorial notes, and bibliography by Phillips Bradley. New York: Vintage Books, Knopf, , Translated by George Lawrence.
Edited by J. Mayer and Max Lerner. New York, New Haven: Yale University Press, Journeys to England and Ireland. Translated by George Lawrence and J. Translated by Stuart Gilbert. Garden City: Doubleday Anchor Books, Introduced, edited and translated by John Lukacs. Mayer and A.
Garden City: Doubleday, The Recollections of Alexis de Tocqueville. Translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos. Edited and Introduced by J. New York: Meridian Books, Inc. Translated by Henry Reeve. Tocqueville and Beaumont on Social Reform. Edited and Translated with an Introduction by Seymour Drescher. Translated by Francis Lieber. Adams, Herbert B. Jared Sparks and Alexis de Tocqueville. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, , pp.