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First edition of Baron d'Holbach's attack on Judaism (sometimes erroneously ascribed to Anthony Collins), possibly printed in Amsterdam by Marc Michel Rey.


Paul Henri Dietrich, Baron D'Holbach (1723-1789), famous atheist, encyclopedist, and close friend of Diderot, criticised Christianity in a number of publications. In the present essay, he attacks Jews and Judaism, claiming that Christianity is nothing but a reformed Judaism.


He covers several aspects of Jewish history and culture to conclude that the Jews are a superstitious people, all too easily led astray by impostors such as Moses and the prophets. In d'Holbach's view, neither Jewish history nor the Jewish scriptures are truly virtuous.


Indeed, the Jewish people are "le plus stupide, le plus aveugle, le plus malheureux de tous les peuple du monde, & qu'après avoir été victime des passions de ses Prophètes, il finit par être l'objet et l'aversion & de la risée de toutes les nations." Neither Judaism nor Christianity, in d'Holbach's view, are capable of making man happy, which can only be achieved through reason.


However, this critique had an important flip side, as David Crowe notes: "And although it can be argued that such attacks on Jews and Judaism were part of the broader intellectual assault on traditional Christianity, they nonetheless helped keep alive many of the hatreds and stereotypes that had plagued Jews for centuries."

Baron d'Holbach's attack on Judaism

€ 675,00Price
  • [Baron d'Holbach].

    L'esprit du Judaïsme, ou Examen raisonné de la loi de Moÿse, et de son influence sur la religion chrétienne.

    Londres [= Amsterdam, Marc Michel Rey?], 1770.

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