By Jeremiah Alberg (auth.)
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63 By a careful study of his thought, this understanding may become more widespread. Is it possible to take into account Rousseau’s scandal without participating in the scandal? As we saw above in the Encyclopedia entry for scandaleux, it is difficult to speak of scandal without causing it. It is difficult to read about it without being scandalized. If the roots of scandal were the rejection of forgiveness in Jesus Christ, then the only reading that could take Rousseau’s scandal seriously without participating in it would be a reading that is adequate to the text.
1:708). Rousseau does not accept this, but he does argue that since Jean-Jacques is in such a singular position, “the ordinary forms on which human judgments are established can no longer be adequate for making sound judgments concerning the person in this position and every that relates to him” (CW 1:81; Pl. 1:765). Given that there is a conspiracy, it is not enough to be sure that the ordinary forms are followed: “it is not enough to follow the ordinary rules in judging the proofs [the conspiracy] advances” (CW 1:83; Pl.
1:768). Still, Rousseau is sensitive to the Frenchman’s criticism that his position seems absurd. The Frenchman objects: “You justify a single man whose condemnation displeases you at the expense of a whole Nation, or, what am I saying, of a whole generation which you make into a generation of scoundrels,” a generation without a single “friend of truth” (CW 1:77; Pl. 15 On the other hand, from Rousseau’s viewpoint, the Frenchman’s explanation seems to presume that an entire generation is angelic, cooperating in a great venture out of virtue, beneﬁcence, and charity for an evil Jean-Jacques.
A Reinterpretation of Rousseau: A Religious System by Jeremiah Alberg (auth.)