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Jean Meslier


Suzy
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I only came across Jean Meslier's Testament now. I only read short passages from it yet, but WOW it looks like a great read!

 

Unfortunately I have only found it in Hungarian ( http://mek.niif.hu/0...06258/06258.pdf ), so I'm not sure if it's available in English on-line). I have found it on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co...r/dp/1591027497

 

Here's what Wiki writes about him:

 

Jean Meslier (15 January 1664 – 1729) was a French Catholic priest who was discovered, upon his death, to have written a book-length philosophical essay promoting atheism. Described by the author as his "testament" to his parishioners, the text denounces all religion.

 

In his book In Defense Of Atheism the contemporary atheist philosopher Michel Onfray describes Meslier as the first person to write an entire text in support of atheism:

 

For the first time (but how long will it take us to acknowledge this?) in the history of ideas, a philosopher had dedicated a whole book to the question of atheism. He professed it, demonstrated it, arguing and quoting, sharing his reading and his reflections, and seeking confirmation from his own observations of the everyday world. His title sets it out clearly:
Memoir of the Thoughts and Feelings of Jean Meslier
; and so does his subtitle:
Clear and Evident Demonstrations of the Vanity and Falsity of All the Religions of the World
. The book appeared in 1729, after his death. Meslier had spent the greater part of his life working on it. The history of true atheism had begun.

 

 

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Jean_Meslier

 

One Amazon review:

 

This book is epic. Published just a short time after his death in 1729 this is the first time we can read the full original work in English, NOT Voltaire's heavily edited version (takes the fun bits out) which is usually called Superstition in All Ages.

 

Ok.... Meslier hates God, all gods, he loves to mock Jesus, to pour contempt on prophets, he hates all Kings and princes BECAUSE they are kings and princes! and the bishops that support their illegitimate rule, their underlings the petty priests, cannons and monks. He dissects prophets who babble nonsense, he exposes massive flaws in the 'holy' bible's authority. I must point out unfortunately the book does mention 4 or 5 times the Jews, how they are a most despised and hated people etc, this is a sad mistake the Author made in an otherwise triumphant shotgun blast to tyranny and oppression.

 

I'll just give some typical chapter headings:

 

4: First proof: Of the vanity and falsity of religions, which are all only human inventions

11: Weakness and vanity of the so-called miracles to authorise any truth of religion

16: The wisdom and learning contained in the so-called Holy Scriptures are only human

18: The miracles reported are unbelievable and the reason why

41: Sixth proof: Of the vanity and falsity of the Christian religion, taken from the abuse, the unjust persecutions, and the tyranny of rulers, which it tolerates or authorizes

60: Most of the learned and wisest of antiquity denied or doubted the existence of the gods

76: There are many false prophets and many false miracles

(there are 97 chapters)

 

 

Some times the method is like a flow chart, other times he gives us his stream of conscientiousness. This book is intellectual & philosophical, it is VERY angry, it is righteous and forceful. Meslier's message must have been loud in the ears of the revolutionaries in France when they put their priests in boats.. and sank the boats >;) but in the book Meslier does generously at ONE point say his readers shouldn't kill priests. Oh boy does Meslier hate priests...

 

He is humourous, he is ruthless, he gives us soap box chapters on animal rights and an entire chapter devoted to monks, begging them to get a proper job.

 

Extremely radical. Height of the Enlightenment. Anti-tyranny, anti-religion, anti-state.

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