Criticism of Religion (Historical Materialism Book, by Roland Boer

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It was this attitude which in my view, provided the background of ideas and feelings against which any Jansenist ideology developed’. Goldmann 1964a, p. 142; 1959, p. 157. 36 All the same, two elements are worth noting: a literary work, philosophical system or indeed theological position expresses and reflects the interests and aspirations of a distinct social group and class; in order to find such a direct connection, a Marxist analysis must embroil itself in the minutiae of historical detail.

This longer answer appeared in the posthumously published manifesto of Jansenism, the Augustinus of Cornelius Otto Jansenius (1640). As the title suggests, it was a reappropriation of Augustine’s work, asserting the absolute priority of grace and a predestination in which some are elected to salvation and the rest condemned to damnation irrespective of their own acts or volition. Indeed, it was Augustine who first articulated predestination before Calvin took it up with his admirable rigour. For Augustine, the inaccessibility of the reasons for God’s choice between the elect and the damned did not make that choice any less just, for God’s justice is perfect.

60–2, 241–4; 1981, pp. 6–7. The Paradoxes of Lucien Goldmann • 15 this world. It sets its sights on the end of capitalism, on the expectations for a world that is qualitatively different and, we hope, better, whatever its name and shape might be. On this score, Marxism rejects the world, this world of capitalism, in favour of another. To my mind, this is a contradiction, indeed a paradox, that may be expressed in terms of the paradox of Jansenism: a refusal of the world from within the world. With this question in mind, let us see what Goldmann does with the lived contradiction of Jansenism.

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