While the French Revolution has been much discussed and studied, its impact on religious life in France is rather neglected. Yet, during this brief period, religion underwent great changes that affected everyone: clergy and laypeople, men and women, Catholics, Protestants, and Jews. The 'Reigns of Terror' of the Revolution drove the Church underground, permanently altering the relationship between Church and State.
In this book, Nigel Aston offers a readable guide to these tumultuous events. While the structures and beliefs of the Catholic Church are central, it does not neglect minority groups like Protestants and Jews. Among other features, the book discusses the Constitutional Church, the end of state support for Catholicism, the 'Dechristianization' campaign and the Concordat of 1801-2.
Key themes discussed include the capacity of all the Churches for survival and adaptation, the role of religion in determining political allegiances during the Revolution, and the turbulence of Church-State relations.
In this masterly study, based on the latest evidence, Aston sheds new light on a dynamic period in European history and its impact on the next 200 years of religious life in France.