Selections from Bayle's Dictionary

By Pierre Bayle; E. A. Beller et al. | Go to book overview

Spinoza* (BENEDICT DE), a Jew by birth, who forsook Judaism, and at last became an Atheist, was a native of Amsterdam. He was a systematical Atheist, and brought his Atheism into a new method, tho' the ground of his doctrine was the same with that of several ancient and modern Philosophers, both in Europe and the Eastern countries.A

[I think he is the first who reduced Atheism to a system, A and formed it into a body of doctrine, ordered and connected according to the manner of the Geometricians; but otherwise his opinion is not new. It was believed long ago, that the whole universe is but one substance, and that God and the world are but one Being. Pietro della Valle mentions certain Mahometans, who call themselves Ehl-el-Tahkik, or men of truth, men of certainty, who believe that there is nothing existent but the four elements, which are God, man and every thing else.1 He also mentions the Zindikites, another Mahometan sect. They come near the Sadducees, and have their name from them. They do not believe in a providence, nor the resurrection of the dead, as Giggoius shews upon the word Zindik.2 . . . One of their opinions is, that whatever is seen, whatever is in the world, whatever hath been created is God.3 There have been such Heretics among Christians; for we find in the beginning of the XIIIth century, one David of Dinant, who made no distinction between God and the first matter. It is a mistake to say that he

____________________
*
This article is abridged. Bayle's remarks C through H and K through EE have been omitted.
1
See the article ABUMUSLIMUS, remark A.
ED. NOTE: Bayle here describes the doctrine of the Ehl-el-Tahkik: "They believe no other God but the four elements--that there is no rational soul nor another life after this--in a word, that the four elements are the whole of everything, even God and man." Bayle then remarks that this system is based on the same principle as Spinoza's.
2
Bespier, Remarques curieuses sur Ricaut, Etat présent de l'Empire Ottoman, pag.548.
3
Pietro della Valle, pag.394, of Tom.iii, apud Bespier, ib.

-291-

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Selections from Bayle's Dictionary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Editorial Notes xxxiii
  • ABDAS 3
  • ADAM 8
  • ANABAPTISTS 26
  • AUGUSTIN 49
  • BERNARD 77
  • CASTILE 83
  • CONSTANCE 93
  • DAVID 96
  • Hobbes 125
  • JAPAN 142
  • KNUZEN 153
  • MANICHEES 157
  • POQUELIN 183
  • PYRRHO 202
  • REMOND 225
  • RUGGERI 241
  • SARAH 262
  • SPINOZA 291
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