International texts

I’m including a small sampling of texts which were important in Europe during the 18th century and earlier, and which may have impacted the French Enlightenment. They are in no particular order.


Spinoza’s Tractatus theologico-politicus (in English translation). Possibly the most divisive Enlightenment text? Few wished to be associated with Spinoza after this was published in 1670. Digitized by Google Books. This edition published in London by Trübner & Co., 1862. It is also available at the Internet Archive in a very readable format. Spinoza was Dutch.

Adrian Beverland (Dutch, 1650-1716) developed a philosophy of original sin that intended to ensure the emancipation of the libido, and in particular, women’s sexuality. Peccatum originale. Digitized by Gallica. This edition published in Eleutheropoli, 1678 in Latin. It is also available in French translation as État de l’homme dans le péché originel, published in 1714.

Alberto Radicati (Italian), a scandalous thinker and writer, recorded some of his impressions of the church in Recueil de pièces curieuses sur les matières les plus intéressantes. Digitized by Google Books. The section “Déclaration” warns readers that “quelque lecteurs … pourrait s’alarmer et se scandaliser de ce que je dis dans cet ouvrage touchant l’Église et les Écclésiastiques…” This book was published in Rotterdam Chez la Veuve Thomas Johnson et fils, 1736.

Bernard de Mandeville (born in the Netherlands, died in England). La fable des abeilles, ou Les fripons devenus honnêtes gens. Traduit de l’Anglais. Digitized by Gallica. Based on the 6th edition, published in London in 1740. Tome premier. Tome Second. Tome troisièmeTome quatrième.

Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of (English). Characteristicks of men, manners, opinions, times. Vol. I, Vol. III. Digitized by Google Books, Available at the Internet Archive. This edition, 2nd, 1714. Originally published in 1711. Later edition of 1900 in two volumes: Vol. 1, Vol. 2. published by Grant Richards in London. The circulation of Shaftesbury’s text throughout 18th Europe.

John Locke’s A letter concerning toleration was originally written in Latin as Epistola de Tolerentia, and was published anonymously. It was one of several essays on religious toleration circulation in the 18th century. Digitized by Google Books, 1689.

Henry Lee. Anti-scepticism, or Notes upon each chapter of Mr. Lock’s Essay concerning Humane Understanding. In four books. Digitized by Google Books. Published in London for Clavel and Harper in 1702. This was used as a text book for students of philosophy.

John Toland’s Christianity not mysterious was exceptionally controversial. The subtitle “no Christian doctrine can be properly call’d a mystery” describes Toland’s argument. The book was burned in Ireland, only narrowly escaping the same fate in England. Digitized by Google Books, Published in London in 1702.

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