Gilbert’s Calejava: Rational Deism with Protestant Overtones
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The first year of the new century saw the modest inauguration of deism proper. Modest, because Gilbert’s Histoire de Calejava is a work of small distinction, and was not distributed or sold; but its historical significance is considerable, since it contains, for the first time, a religious system which is unequivocally deistic. The ‘Avaites’ profess a complete and coherent form of natural religion, obviously Cartesian in character, which is independent of Christianity and to some extent opposed to it. Thus begins the series of works, in print or manuscript, which during the first ten or twelve years of the century are the textual expression of the first phase of French deism. With Gilbert we move out of the ambiguous area of antecedents and into comparatively open territory where there is no doubt about what we are exploring.
KeywordsEighteenth Century Christian Faith Textual Expression Natural Religion Catholic Religion
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