|Professor of Religion
Departmental Area: History and Ethnography of Religion
Address: Department of Religion
François Dupuigrenet Desroussilles graduated from the École nationale des Chartes and the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris (1976). He was curator of rare books in the Bibliothèque nationale (1978-1995), director of the French national school for librarians, ENSSIB (1995-2005), visiting professor at the University of Italian Switzerland (1998-2005), scholar in residence at the Ecole normale supérieure Lettres et sciences humaines (2005-2006), and curator of rare books at the Institut de France (2006-2007) before becoming professor of Humanities at FSU in 2008 and switching to Religion in 2009. For thirty years he taught and published research on the Bible in early modern Europe, the mise en page of Latin poetry during the Renaissance and Baroque era, and the Italian book in France during the sixteenth century. He was a founding member of the Consortium of European Research Libraries and a member of its board (1991-2004), and president of the Institut d’étude du livre (1988-1994) and the Institut d’histoire du livre (2002-2005).
His main book, Dieu en son royaume, presently under major revision, emphasizes the constant metamorphosis of biblical texts in France between the time of Saint Louis and the French revolution. A rigorous bibliographical analysis of Biblical production and diffusion leads to studies of the Davidic image of French kings, the Biblical tragedies of Racine or the religious grands motets of seventeenth century court composers. It is this approach that led him to join the history of text technologies initiative where textual culture encompasses the whole process of production, reproduction, circulation and reception of “texts” intended in the very wide sense that D.F. McKenzie gave to the word in his “heretical classic” Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts (1985).
In parallel to his work in the history of the religious book he edited in French major authors in the history of Christian thought for the publisher Payot-Rivages: the Apocryphal Gospels in Voltaire’s translation, saint John, saint Augustine, Petrarch, Pascal, La Rochefoucauld.
Between 2007 and 2009, when he was a professor in the Humanities department, he taught graduate courses on The Bible as a Book (13th to 18th century) and The Visual Space of the Book. Antiquity to Twentieth Century. He is currently working on a book on Baroque religious Latin poetry, and one on French and English sovereigns and the Bible.
Research and Teaching Interests
- The Bible in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
- The Visual Space of Religious Baroque Poetry
- Christian Sensitivities during the Medieval and Early Modern Period
- Political Theology and the Birth the Modern State
- Dieu en son royaume. La Bible dans la France d’autrefois (13e-18e siècle), Paris, Editions du Cerf, 1991.
- Regards sur le livre (Art. Histoire. Technique), Paris, Editions du Sorbier, 1997.
- Trésors de la Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, Nathan, 1987.
- 2004. La Bible de Barbe Bleue. « Cahiers de médiologie » (17).
- 1999. La galaxie Tsaï-Loun. « Cahiers de médiologie » (6) Revised edition of a 1983 article published in “Traverses”, the journal of the Centre Pompidou.
- 1995. Les représentations du livre chez Clouet et Vélasquez. In La symbolique du livre dans l’art occidental du haut moyen âge à Rembrandt. Bordeaux: Société des bibliophiles de Guyenne.
- 1988. La contrefaçon des éditions bibliques de Port Royal. In Les Presses grises. La contrefaçon. Actes du colloque de Dijon, 12-14 mai 1987 Paris: Aux amateurs de livres.
- 1987. Pour une étude de la production catholique en français au XVIIIe siècle. In La Bible au siècle des Lumière. Paris: Beauchesne.
1984. Sept problèmes de l'édition port-royaliste du psautier en français. « Revue de la Bibliothèque nationale.
REL3293 Topics in Biblical Studies: The Scripture and the People (4th-20th c)
This history of the Scripture in the West presents conceptions and uses of the Scripture developed through time by groups of individuals such as the monks, knights and missionaries of early medieval Europe, the modern scientists, printers and reformers of the Renaissance, or the Christian communities of North America in the 20th century. Retrospective sociology will allow us to focus on the ways in which the universal message of the Bible acted, and continues to act, as a creator of strong and often conflicting identities in western societies. Prerequisites: REL2210, REL2240
REL4290/RLG5297 Biblical Studies Sem: The Bible as Book (8th-17th c.)
“Textualization” of the Bible (Walter J. Ong) during the medieval and early modern period will be studied using the specialized tools of the historian, from codicology and bibliography to iconography. Traditional chronological borders between the “medieval” and the “modern” period are systematically crossed, as well as the manuscript/printed book divide, to stress elements of continuity and imitation. Most examples and case studies will be taken from the history of the Bible in England and in English. Some of the classes will be given in the Special Collections room of the Strozier library to take advantage of its early printed Bibles, mostly English, from the Carrothers collection. Although indispensable notions about the textual history of the biblical texts during the period will be addressed during the two first weeks, it will concentrate from week 3 on the Bible as an artifact.
RLG5497 The Soul & the Self in Christian Anthropology (Augustine to Rousseau)
The aim of this course is to introduce students to major texts about the human person in relation to God in Christian thought between Late Antiquity and the Enlightenment period, when motifs stemming from Greco–Roman philosophers, especially Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and Seneca, were reinterpreted through the lens of the Bible and the Revelation to create a religious conscience of the self. From Augustine’s Soliloquies, written around 386 in the language of Platonism, to the « deviant Calvinist » Rousseau’s Reveries of a solitary walker,posthumously published in 1782, the texts selected for this course will be analyzed as representatives of precise doctrinal views but also of shifting historical mentalities and sensitivities.
REL3936 Introduction to Medieval Christianity
The Christian millennium, from the time of the first Christian emperors and the Church fathers, from the 4th to the 5th century, to the breaking of Christianity brought by the Reformation, in the 16th century, is often for our contemporaries, particularly in the US, a source of fascination and disbelief. Countless novels, films, or videogames, from Mark Twain’s A Connectitut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court to Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood have acquainted them with a world of monks and knights, magicians and saints, of which they actually have very little knowledge – apart from the existence of papacy and the Inquisition. The dominant view is that medieval Christianity was wiped out by the great Reformers and somehow survived in Catholicism.
In this course, which does not require any prior knowledge of the period, I will introduce students to the history of ten centuries during which European society became Christian, a travailed process of which I will highlight the contradictions and difficulties, very far from the majestic “all Christian world” that we spontaneously imagine medieval Europe to have been. The first part of the course will be dedicated to the progressive delimitation of Christendom, a “Christian Commonwealth” (Respublica Christiana) governed by the Roman pope and defined in opposition to Islam and Orthodoxy, its adversaries from the outside, and paganism and heresies, its opponents from the inside. The second part will exemplify the ways in which Christian society represented itself, with its “tri-functional” division between those who pray (the secular and the regular Church), those who fight (kings and knights) and those who work (peasants, artisans and merchants). The last part of the course will examine the changing meanings of the essential moments of Christian life: baptism, marriage and death, with a particular emphasis on the medieval conception of human love.
RLG5305/ENG5801 History of Text Technology Gateway Course
This course, cross-listed between the Religion and English departments in the History of Text Technologies PhD track, provides an introduction to the interactions between text culture and the media technologies that shaped the way we produce, transmit, transform, receive and interpret creative representations of human experience. This year, because it will be taught by a historian of the religious book it will mostly address representations of religious, mostly Christian, experience, from catacomb art to televangelism.
This course provides an introduction to the interactions between text culture and the media technologies that shaped the way we produce, transmit, transform, receive and interpret creative representations of human experience. It focuses on representations of religious experience, mostly Christian, from Biblical times to the present. Beginning with the two opposed categories of the ephemeral and the monumental in Antiquity, the course will then embark on a generally chronological tour of technologies and their forms: the diversity of manuscript, the evolution of print from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, the history and theory of reading, visual texts, film, recorded sound, broadcast and digital media. Each of these categories will be explored through a combination of lectures, case studies presented by specialists, and hands-on workshops in the Special Collections department of the Strozier Library.
Requirements: This is the required gateway course for the History of Text Technologies concentration. It also fulfills the general literature requirement for one course pre-1660 or for one course pre-1800, and it fulfills a requirement for the Certificate in Editing and Publishing.