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Dictionnaire Historique et Critique

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Title: Dictionnaire Historique et Critique  
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Language: English
Subject: Gabriel de Foigny, Christianity in the 17th century, Novel, Theodicy, Problem of evil
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Dictionnaire Historique et Critique

The Dictionnaire Historique et Critique (English: Historical and Critical Dictionary) is a biographical dictionary written by Pierre Bayle (1647–1706), a Huguenot who lived and published in Holland after fleeing his native France due to religious persecution. The dictionary was first published in 1697, and enlarged in the second edition of 1702. An English translation was first published in 1709.[1] The overwhelming majority of the entries are devoted to individual people, whether historical or mythical, but some articles treat religious beliefs and philosophies.[2] Many of the more controversial ideas in the book were hidden away in the voluminous footnotes, or slipped into articles on seemingly uncontroversial topics.

The rigor and skeptical approach used in the Dictionary influenced many thinkers of the tolerance, and argued strongly against inflexible and authoritarian application of religious articles of faith.[3][4] This led to a bitter argument with his fellow French Protestant Pierre Jurieu.


  1. ^ See: "A List of the Many Editions of the Dictionary". 
  2. ^ Paul Burrell, "Pierre Bayle´s Dictionnaire historique et critique," in Notable Encyclopedias of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, ed. Frank A. Kafker (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 1981).
  3. ^ See: "Short Summary at". 
  4. ^ See: "A Lengthy Analysis at Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy". 

Further reading

  • Thomas M. Lennon and Michael Hickson, "Pierre Bayle," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2012) online

External links

  • Dictionnaire historique et critique (Reproduction of the edition of Paris : Desoer, 1820-1824. 16 vol.)
  • A Historical and Critical Dictionary in 4 Volumes (vol. 1) London: Hunt & Clarke, 1826. (abridged English translation of the Dictionnaire Historique et Critique)
  • A Historical and Critical Dictionary in 4 Volumes (vol. 2) London: Hunt & Clarke, 1826.
  • A Historical and Critical Dictionary in 4 Volumes (vol. 3) London: Hunt & Clarke, 1826.
  • A Historical and Critical Dictionary in 4 Volumes (vol. 4) London: Hunt & Clarke, 1826.

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