Penser l'État dans le Dictionnaire de Trévoux Une alternative catholique à la légitimité bureaucratique

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Pierre Bonin


The last edition of the Dictionnaire de Trévoux, published in 1771, offers a view that remains Catholic of the very objects around which, at the same time, the notion of ‘State knowledge’ was being formed—for example, in the rival but dialogic enterprise of the Encyclopédie. Terms that were at the center of the debate at the time, such as ‘Political Economy’, were presented in a way that neutralized their novelty, while the classical presentation of the ‘Mysteries of the State’, which did not need to be revealed and which concealed—in a rather pessimistic view of power—a necessary evil, remained prevalent. New paradigms, for example that of a society that individuals establish by contract, were subtly resisted. Beyond the classic games of borrowing and circulation among dictionaries, the Dictionnaire de Trévoux, from a perspective of the history of legal thought thus testifies to a mastery of the issues of the time, despite the disrepute into which its opponents tried to cast upon it.

English title: Thinking the State in the Dictionnaire de Trévoux: a Catholic Alternative to Burocratic Legitimacy

Keywords: Dictionnaire de Trévoux, Encyclopedism, 18th-century Catholicism, History of Law, Science of Government


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