The Examen de la Religion and Other Clandestine Works

  • C. J. Betts
Part of the Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Idees / International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 104)


The most widely disseminated and typical of the early eighteenth-century clandestine deistic works is one which is known in three different versions and goes under a variety of titles. The commonest, and the most appropriate for the content, is ‘Examen de la religion’, which was used after 1760 for printed editions. Another is ‘Doutes sur la religion’, sometimes with the insincere addition ‘dont on cherche l’eclaircissement de bonne foi’ (the purpose being not to resolve any doubts, but to increase them). Manuscript copies are found in libraries throughout France.1 Its history is similar to that of the Militaire philosophe’s Difficultés; having been copied and revised anonymously for many years, it was published during the philosophes’ campaign against the Church. One publication was due to Voltaire, in his Evangile de la raison, in 1764.


Christian Belief Religious Attitude Christian Religion Religious Idea Natural Religion 
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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague 1984

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  • C. J. Betts

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