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Philosophical Dictionary (Penguin Classics) Paperback – March 6, 1984
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Voltaire (the pen-name for Francois-Marie Arouet (1694-1778), like Gibbon, is no champion of Christianity. As a case-in-point, the Emperor Julian, who attempted unsuccessfully to restore the ancient cults in early Byzantium, and opposed the newly state-sanctioned "cult" of Christ, was Voltaire's paragon. For those readers interested in an interesting account of Julian's rule and of this era, Gore Vidal's "Julian" is a very well-written, but slightly flawed (in terms of its scholarship) account of the 4th Century ruler.
I particularly love Voltaire's take on "enthusiasm,": "Or was that word enthusiasm, from disturbance of the entrails, first given to that Pythia who, on the tripod at Delphi, received the spirit of Apollo through a part which seems made only to receive bodies?...It is the rarest of thing to unite reason with enthusiasm." No doubt the religious wars and persecutions that were a part and parcel of his era and French history for the preceeding two centuries no doubt had some bearing on his analysis.
To me, Voltaire is the precursor of Nietsche.Read more ›
This version is actually a condensed version of over 300 pages. I found a copy of the original in 6 volumes at over 300 pages each. This work is a `dictionary' arranged in alphabetical order. The subjects he chooses are seemingly random and include such things as `beauty', `corn', `envy', `Joan of Arc', and almost any other thing you can think of.
I found many of the articles to be dated and not very `philosophical', but many others were fascinating. I enjoyed his views on the soul, atheism, and free-will. They were clearly philosophical and were probably considered radical at the time. Many of his radical views are now considered mainstream, but some are still bound to offend. His satire was not as biting as some of his other works, but it still probably caused offence to many of his contemporaries.
I was somewhat disappointed that this was a condensed version, but I still appreciated the opportunity to read more from Voltaire in a Kindle freebie.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The books was well-preserved. The description was very accurate and helpful.Published 8 months ago by WILBERTH NARVAEZ
Voltaire (born November 22, 1694 and named François-Marie Arouet) published this book in 1764. This edition includes a brief “Chronology” or timeline of events in Voltaire’s life,... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Fezziwig
François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778; known by his nom de plume Voltaire) was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Steven H Propp
The Satire of Voltaire on the religious teachings of the Old and New Testament is witty, and thought provoking. Read morePublished on June 20, 2014 by E. Alexander Scianna
A perfect first read for anyone interested in learning and understanding Voltaire. This book was a real page turner. I enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend it.Published on October 24, 2013 by fjrtsb
Great philosophy for those that are interested in something old fashioned yet relevant to today's world. If you enjoy something witty and diverse then this is for you.Published on July 16, 2013 by GreenMan