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Voltaire's campaign to secure the re-trial of Calas and the impact of religious prejudice.
Metadata describing this Open University audio programme
Module code and title: A204, The Enlightenment
Item code: A204; 20
Recording date: 1980-06-23
First transmission date: -08-07-1980
Published: 1980
Rights Statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: This material can be used in accordance with The Open University conditions of use. A link to the conditions can be found at the bottom of all OUDA web pages.
Duration: 00:17:50
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Producer: Tony Coe
Contributors: Anthony Herrick; Allan McClelland; George Parsons; Michael Malony
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Parliament of Toulouse; Treatise on Tolerance
Footage description: In 1762, Jean Galas, a French Protestant, was executed for murdering his eldest son, supposedly because the boy wanted to become a Catholic. However, discrepancies in the evidence and trial procedures convinced many, that justice had not been done by the Parlement of Toulouse, who had tried the case. Voltaire heard of the affair and after some hesitation became convinced that Calas was an innocent victim of religious prejudice. From 1762 onwards, he and many of his friends worked to obtain a review of Calas' trial by mobilising public opinion in Paris. In June 1764, the King's Council decided that there should, be a retrial because of certain procedural irregularities in the original trial. Despite strong opposition from the Parlement of Toulouse, Voltaire's campaign was finally successful and at the retrial, the Calas family were acquitted, and Jean Calas' memory rehabilitated. One unjustice reversed was a start but Voltaire realised only too well that religious intolerance and prejudice were firmly rooted in what he saw as the ignorant superstitions of organised religion.
Master spool number: TLN26950H934
Production number: TLN26950H934
Available to public: no