Church History 1700-1871 1700-1871 – The age of Enlightenment. This period can be situated between the death of Louis XIV, in 1715, and the 9th November 1799, when the future emperor Napoleon Bonaparte took power. The intervening period may be divided into several stages: first the Regency, followed by the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI, and finally the French Revolution. France, the most populated country in Europe, was to experience almost eighty years of domestic peace and economic prosperity. With the emergence of the philosophical spirit in salons, cafes and clubs, came the gradual erosion of monarchical authority. Strengthened by their new-found financial power, the capitalistic bourgeoisie showed clear signs of wanting to annex political power, an ambition that would be achieved from 1789 onwards.
In the domain of the arts, the ageing Louis XIV hoped to see childhood instilled in everything. Under the Regency, this trend of light heartedness became more pronounced and was to flourish during the reign of Louis XV. The widespread taste for elegance, comfort and beautiful objects even infiltrated the ranks of the bourgeosie. But, in the second half of the century, the philosophers reacted against society’s libertine tendencies. They advocated a return to the virtues of the Ancient and Republican Rome, the majority of which would be adopted as the revolutionary ideal. During this time period, people would pay taxes called “tithes” to the church. You could also pay Indulgences to Church and be forgiven of your sins.
Common believe was that the more money you paid in indulgences the better chance you had of going to heaven. The Church of this period is considered by many historians to be a manipulative, influencial and powerful force. Some key figures of this Period are the French Philosophe Voltaire and the King of the time Louis XVI. Voltaire Born on November 21, 1694 in Paris. Voltaire’s style, wit, intelligence and keen sense of justice made him one of France’s greatest writers and philosophers. Voltaire left school at 16 and soon formed friendships with a group of sophisticated Parisian aristocrats.
Paris society sought his company for his cleverness, humor and remarkable ability to write verse. In 1717 he was arrested for writing a series of satirical verses ridiculing the French government, and was imprisoned in the Bastille. In 1726 Voltaire insulted a powerful young nobleman and was given two options: imprisonment or exile. He chose exile and from 1726 to 1729 lived in England. While in England Voltaire was attracted to the philosophy of John Locke.
The book was thought to criticize the French government and Voltaire was forced to flee Paris again. In 1759 Voltaire purchased an estate called Ferney near the French-Swiss border where he lived until just before of his death. Ferney soon became the intellectual capitol of Europe. Throughout his years in exile Voltaire produced a constant flow of books, plays, pamphlets, and letters. He was a voice of reason, and an outspoken critic of religious intolerance and persecution. Voltaire returned to a hero’s welcome in Paris at age 83.
The excitement of the trip was too much for him and he died in Paris. Because of his criticism of the church Voltaire was denied burial in church ground. He was finally buried at an abbey in Champagne. In 1814 a group of ultras stole Voltaire’s remains and dumped them in a garbage heap. No one was the wiser for some 50 years. His enormous sarcophagus was checked and the remains were gone.
His heart, however, had been removed from his body, and now lays in the Bibliotheque nationale in Paris. His brain was also removed, but disappeared after an auction. Religion.