The Double Theodicy of Bernardin de Saint-Pierre: A philosophical reading of ‘Paul et Virginie’
Keywords:Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Evil, Theodicy, Anthropodicy, Eschatology
The article aims to show how Bernardin de Saint-Pierre – whose philosophical and theological thought is generally overlooked by scholars – provides an original solution to the problem of the existence of evil. A comparative reading of the systematic discussion of Providence that animates The Studies of Nature, his major theoretical work, and Paul and Virginie, true Romanesque application of the philosophical treatise, brings out a ‘double’ theodicy. Saint-Pierre establishes a fruitful synergy between Rousseau’s anthropodicy, which provides a social and historical justification of evil, and Leibniz’s eschatology, aimed at its metaphysical and otherworldly justification.