A History of History: The Académie des inscriptions and the Remaking of the Past
John G. Medlin Fellowship, 2018–19
Anton’s research has focused on the intellectual history of France and the French-speaking world in the long eighteenth century. His first book, The Specter of Skepticism in the Age of Enlightenment (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), explores the ways in which eighteenth-century thinkers responded to the challenges posed by the revival and spread of philosophical skepticism and details how the debates about the powers and limits of human understanding led to the making of a new conception of rationality that privileged practicable reason over speculative reason. Anton is co-editor, with Dan Edelstein, of Let There Be Enlightenment: The Religious and Mystical Sources of Rationality (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018). The chapters in this edited volume explore the complex interplay between reason and religion in different national and religious contexts of eighteenth-century learned culture. Anton is also co-editor, with Jeffrey Burson, of The Age of Skepticism: Doubt and Certainty in the Age of Reason (forthcoming with the Voltaire Foundation in 2019). The essays in this collection explore the centrality of the concern with skepticism and certainty in debates about philosophy, religion, and politics, questioning the portrayal of the Enlightenment as a triumphant “Age of Reason.”
Anton’s current project is a history of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres. This institution, established under Louis XIV in order to locate ancient monuments and inscriptions that could serve as models for commemorating the achievements of the Sun King, had a dramatic impact on the historical and political consciousness of Europe. The research conducted by the members of this group led to fundamental changes in the way Europeans understood the origins of their own Judaeo-Christian culture. Furthermore, the study of antiquity exposed readers to a variety of alternative models of social and political organization, destabilizing established assumptions about the proper nature of government.
- Let There Be Enlightenment: The Religious and Mystical Sources of Rationality, co-edited with Dan Edelstein, has just been published by Johns Hopkins University Press. For more information, please visit: https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/content/let-there-be-enlightenment.
- Matytsin, Anton M., and Dan Edelstein, eds. Let There Be Enlightenment: The Religious and Mystical Sources of Rationality. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018.
- Matytsin, Anton M. “Of Beasts and Men: Debates about Animal Souls in Eighteenth-Century France.” In Eighteenth-Century Thought, edited by Jeffrey D. Burson, 6:1-32. New York: AMS Press, 2016.
- Matytsin, Anton M. “Reason and Utility in Eighteenth-Century French Religious Apologetics.” In God in the Enlightenment, edited by William J. Bulman, 63–82. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
- Matytsin, Anton M. The Specter of Skepticism in the Age of Enlightenment. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016.
- Matytsin, Anton M. “Historical Pyrrhonism and Historical Certainty in the Early Enlightenment.” In Pour et contre le scepticisme: theories et pratiques de l’antiquite aux lumieres, edited by Elodie Argaud, 243–59. Paris: Champion, 2015.