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Benjamin Aubé

Benjamin Aubé

Paris 1826 - 1887

French philosopher, teacher of Bergson at the Lycée Condorcet. H. Gouhier (Bergson et le Christ des évangiles, Paris, Vrin 1987, p. 205) argues that Aubé was not a follower of Cousin.  His earliest writings include an erudite article on Gassendi, in the Nouvelle Biographie générale de Didot (1858, t. 19).  In it, when speaking of the Rapport by Ravaisson, he writes: “Over the long period in which M. Cousin administered the study of philosophy in our country and a kind of eclecticism reigned, M. Ravaisson was in the eyes of the shadowy superintendant a kind of suspicious figure...".  He continues: "M. Ravaisson arrives at a judgment, in my view a definitive one, of the writings of Victor Cousin, a body of work which is almost entirely negative, the result of an excessively timid method and one that followed too closely in Bacon's path.. the words which M. Ravaisson uses here, will, I believe, be valuable to a posterity more interested in the worth of ideas than in persons". Aubé regrets only that Ravaisson did not emphasize Cousin's personal qualities. Since he wrote these passages in 1868, there is reason to doubt that eight years later Aubé would have given lectures based on Cousin's ideas. In a note on La philosophie en Sicile, published in the «Revue des deux mondes» (n° du 1er janv. 1875, p. 237), Aubé associates Cousin with a "an intellectual mastery which, in France, often possessed the allure of a dictatorship" and argues that he demonstrated a "desire to efface or attenuate this or that passage of his writings which might have been exposed to accusations of Germanism or Hegelian pantheism."  His Saint Justin philosophe et martyr, étude sur l'apologétique chrétienne au  IIe siècle (1875) was the first of a long series of works on the history of early Christianity. Four of these works were placed in the Index in 1883 and 1886. He also published editions of works by Plato and Seneca that contain traces of his own spiritualism.

Main works: Saint-Justin, philosophe et martyr, étude critique sur l'apologétique chrétienne au IIe siècle, Paris, Thorin 1875; Histoire des persécutions de l'Église jusqu'à la fin des Antonins, Paris, Didier 1875; Histoire des persécutions de l'église. La polémique païenne a la fin du IIe siècle, Paris, Didier 1877; Chrétiens dans l'Empire Romain : de la fin des Antonins au milieu du IIIe siècle : 180-249, Paris, Didier 1881; L'Église et l'État dans la seconde moitié du IIIe siècle : 249-284, Paris, Perrin 1885.

Bibliography: E.-G. Ledos, Aubé (Benjamin), in Dictionnaire de biographie française, Paris, Librairie Letouzey et Ané 1961, t. IIIe, col. 1464-1465; Ph. Soulez et F. Worms, Bergson, Paris, Quadrige/Puf 2002, pp. 35-40.

Catalogue de livres anciens et modernes, principalement sur la théologie, la philosophie, les belles-lettres et l'histoire, composant la bibliothèque de feu M. B. Aubé..., Paris, Em. Paul Labitte 1888.

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