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Book Cover
Author Voltaire, 1694-1778.

Title God & human beings / Voltaire ; translated by Michael Shreve ; introduction by S.T. Joshi.

Imprint Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 2010.


Location Call No. Status
 PAS Central Library Non-Fiction, 3rd Floor    200.9 VOL    DUE 01-02-20
Description 183 p. ; 23 cm.
Note "First English translation."
Includes indexes.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents Our crimes and stupidities -- Remedy approved by the body of doctors against the above sicknesses -- A god among all civilized nations -- On ancient worship and firstly in China -- On India, Brahmins, and their theology, imitated very late by the Jews and then by the Christians -- On metempsychosis, burning widows, Francis Xavier, and Warburton -- On the Chaldeans -- On the Persians and Zoroastrians -- On the Egyptians -- On the Arabs and Bacchus -- On the Greeks, Socrates, and the double doctrine -- On the Romans -- On the Jews and their origin -- When did the Jews start living in cities, when did they write, and when did they have a fixed and permanent religion? -- What was the religion of the Jews at first? -- Continual change in the Jewish religion to the time of the captivity -- Customs of the Jews -- The Jewish religion on the return from the captivity in Babylon -- The immortality of the soul is not stated or even presumed in any place in the Jewish law -- That the Jewish law is the only one in the universe that ordained human sacrifice -- Reasons of those who claim that Moses cannot have written the Pentateuch -- If Moses existed -- On a very curious life of Moses written by the Jews after the captivity -- On the death of Moses -- If the history of Bacchus is taken from that of Moses -- On the cosmogony attributed to Moses and the flood -- On the plagiarisms blamed on the Jews -- On the worship of the Jews and their conduct after the captivity up to the reign of the Idumean Herod -- On the customs of the Jews under Herod -- On Jesus -- Research on Jesus -- On the morality of Jesus -- On the religion of Jesus -- On the manners of Jesus, the establishment of the sect of Jesus, and Christianity -- Innumerable frauds of the Christians -- On the causes of the progress of Christianity, on the end of the world and the resurrection announced about its time -- Platonic Christians -- the Trinity -- On Christian dogma absolutely different from that of Jesus -- On Christian disputes -- On the customs of Jesus and the church -- On Jesus and the murders committed in his name -- Honest propositions -- How we should pray to God.
Summary In this little-known work by Voltaire (1694-1778)-now available in English for the first time-the famous French philosophe and satirist presents a wide-ranging and acerbic survey of religion throughout the world. Written toward the end of his life in 1769, the work was penned in the same decade as some of his more famous works-the Philosophical Dictionary, Questions on Miracles, and Lord Bolingbroke's Important Examination-all of which questioned the basic tenets of Christianity. Voltaire called himself a deist and thus he professed belief in a supreme deity. But he was always sharply critical of institutional Christianity, especially its superstitions, the hypocrisy of its clergy, and its abuse of political power. Both his deism and his critical attitude toward Christianity are manifest in God and Human Beings, which is, in effect, one of the first works of comparative religion. Comparing Christianity to the more ancient belief systems of the Jews, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Babylonians, Phoenicians, and Arabs, he notes a common tendency to worship one supreme god, despite the host of subordinate deities in many of these religions. He also critiques the many superstitions and slavish rituals in religion generally, but he emphasizes that in this respect Christianity is no better than other faiths. Thus, the clergy's claim that Christianity is God's supreme revelation to humanity has no basis from an objective perspective. This first English translation of a classic critique of religion includes an introduction by writer, scholar, and editor S. T. Joshi, who wrote the article on Voltaire in The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief (edited by Tom Flynn). Anticipating many of the themes of the later Higher Criticism and rationalist critiques of religion, this incisive, witty treatise by the great French skeptic will be a welcome addition to the libraries of anyone with an interest in the philosophy of religion, intellectual history, or the Enlightenment.
Language Translated from the French.
Subject Bible -- Controversial literature.
Christianity -- Controversial literature.
Judaism -- Controversial literature.
Added Author Shreve, Mike.
Added Title God and human beings
Dieu et les hommes. English
ISBN 9781616141783 (pbk. : alk. paper)
1616141786 (pbk. : alk. paper)

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