Voltaire, Storia dell'affermazione del cristianesimo, ed. by Domenico Felice

Voltaire François-Marie Arouet

Abstract


Among the latest texts sended to the press by Voltaire, the Histoire de l’établissement du Christianisme (1776) offers the reader the best possible synthesis of his thoughts on religion. Written in a style as clear and fast as it is dense and passionate, this short text traces all the themes that had fueled the reflection of the French philosopher for more than half a century: the humble origins of Christianity, the close ties of Jesus and his first disciples with the Jewish religion, the importance of the role played by Paul of Tarsus in the elaboration of Christian doctrine, the compromises of the early Church with the Roman imperial power, up to the triumph under Constantine. But Voltaire, with his unparalleled talent for controversy, transforms this historical knowledge into a ferocious anticlerical satire; at the same time, he knows how to draw from his erudition a rich repertoire of arguments, historical figures, facts, to plead the cause of that natural religion, called deism, which constituted the negation of every revealed religion and which it seemed to him, still in the late age (he was over eighty), the "most reasonable religion", the only one capable of healing men from the disease of fanaticism and religious intolerance.

Keywords


Voltaire; Constantine I emperor; Christianity; deism; Jesus; Roman Empire; Christian martyrs; Paul of Tarsus; natural religion; anticlerical satire; theism

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2421-4124/10470

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