The insufficiently criticized story of a secularized pre-Revolutionary France has led historians of economics to consider French political economy as free from the influence of religion from the 1730s through the 1780s. On the contrary, through a study of the “second Jansenism,” the most powerful and intellectually the richest Christian movement in the French Enlightenment, this article shows that religion played a pivotal role in the emergence of French political economy. Having established the theoretical richness of the movement, this article aims to show, through two case studies, in what different ways it affected economics. The first explores the resonance of the Jansenist culture of several members of the Gournay circle on their methodological approaches and their promotion of agriculture and trade. The second case study focuses on the loan at interest. This article shows that the major authors on this issue in the second half of the century were all deeply influenced by Jansenist thinking on the subject.
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Arnaud Orain; The Second Jansenism and the Rise of French Eighteenth-Century Political Economy. History of Political Economy 1 September 2014; 46 (3): 463–490. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182702-2796233
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