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The Abbe Gregoire and the French RevolutionThe Making of Modern Universalism$
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Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520241800

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520241800.001.0001

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The “Bon Curé” of Emberménil

The “Bon Curé” of Emberménil

Chapter:
(p.35) Chapter 2 The “Bon Curé” of Emberménil
Source:
The Abbe Gregoire and the French Revolution
Author(s):

Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520241800.003.0003

In 1782, Henri Grégoire was named curé (parish priest) of Emberménil, as successor to his old mentor—something truly momentous for someone in his circumstances. Though he could have remained an important man in Emberménil until his death, Grégoire was to set his sights higher. Though Grégoire's activities in the 1780s are far less famous than his later actions, tracing them is important for several reasons. First, examining his practical attempts to improve his parish helps understand the roots of his ideas of regeneration and universalism. This chapter shows in particular his early interest in spreading enlightenment to groups he felt had been denied knowledge; in traveling as a means for learning about different cultures; and in using Johann Caspar Lavater's ideas on physiognomy to understand moral behavior and discusses the origins of his controversial stances on the Church during the Revolution.

Keywords:   Henri Grégoire, curé, Emberménil, regeneration, universalism, enlightenment, Johann Caspar Lavater, physiognomy, Church, Revolution

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