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Pierre Bayle And Censorship

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Chapter Summary

Pierre Bayle argued that book censorship is ineffective because it leads some readers to think that the censored books must hold arguments which are impossible to refute. What did he think of censorship? To answer this question, this chapter first considers the question from a lexical point of view, taking into account the meaning of the word 'censorship' in the dictionaries of the time, in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It then reviews the main circumstances under which Bayle was personally confronted by censorship before the time of the Dictionnaire historique et critique. Next, the chapter focuses on the two types of censorship that were applied to the Dictionnaire: political censorship in France and ecclesiastical censorship in the Dutch Republic. Finally, in conclusion, it makes a few remarks concerning the interpretation of Bayle's thought.

Keywords: Dictionnaire historique et; Dutch Republic; ecclesiastical censorship; France; Pierre Bayle; political censorship



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