Theses Doctoral

Witches, Jews, and Redemption Through Sin in Jules Michelet's La Sorcière

Haziza, David

The present study aims to bring into focus the antinomian doctrine of redemption through sin as it appears in Jules Michelet’s La Sorcière. According to Michelet, the witch-cult was both vestigial paganism and an attempt at overthrowing the Christian political order. The witch redeemed mankind by sinning against the Christian order, thus anticipating the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, as well as the French Revolution.

The notion of redemption through sin, borrowed from Gershom Scholem, will enable us to compare Michelet’s and Scholem’s approaches to history and counter-history. It will also allow us to read La Sorcière against a broader religious background than is usually employed. Among the sources of Michelet, the often overlooked kabbalistic, possibly Sabbatian, subtext will be assessed in relation to his peculiar female messianism. Likewise, the episode, in La Sorcière, of the encounter between the witch and the Jew will be thoroughly studied. This may lead us to better comprehend Michelet’s theology, with the biblical God being akin, in his opinion, to that of the witches.


  • thumnail for Haziza_columbia_0054D_16939.pdf Haziza_columbia_0054D_16939.pdf application/pdf 1.71 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
French and Romance Philology
Thesis Advisors
Compagnon, Antoine Marcel
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
November 10, 2021