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Pierre Bayle’s Dictionaire historique et critique: Historical Criticism and Impartiality of Judgement

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Chapter Summary

Pierre Bayle (1647-1706) was one of the most famous and at the same time controversial scholars in the Republic of Letters in the late seventeenth century. The German exponents of the early Enlightenment like Thomasius, as well as Leibniz and Gottsched, published the first German translation of Bayle's Historical and Critical Dictionary. There has been a wide range of interpretations and evaluations of Bayle's critical works. In the European context Bayle's comprehensive work set off a controversy within the learned world which has continued to the present day. Bayle's method of literary criticism was considered an exemplary masterpiece that represented the skills of editors, journalists, and scholars to produce striking works of lasting effect. In contemporary intellectual debates, the role Bayle played in the preparation of the European formation of the Enlightenment age was thus a controversial issue.

Keywords: criticism; Enlightenment; European context; Historical and Critical Dictionary; Pierre Bayle



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