Chapter

Examinations of the Bible

in Selected Philosophical and Scientific Writings

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780226168067
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226168081 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226168081.003.0006
Examinations of the Bible

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In the late 1730s, Marquise Du Châtelet and Voltaire had begun a systematic study of the Old and New Testaments, and of one of the most authoritative commentaries on the Bible: the twenty-three-volume exegesis by the learned Augustinian scholar, Dom Augustin Calmet (1672–1757). Calmet's multivolume work presented them with all of the past exegetical arguments about each chapter and verse of the Bible. Coupled with writings by seventeenth-century English Deists, in particular, Thomas Woolston, whose six essays on Jesus Du Châtelet summarized in French, her manuscript grew to more than 700 pages. The result was Examinations of the Bible, whose style is sometimes satirical and argumentative, sometimes scientific and didactic, with no effort at creating a smooth, continuous narrative. Du Châtelet presents damning criticisms of the Old Testament God, declares the prophecies of a redeemer to be ambiguous at best, and disproves the divinity of Jesus, both his miracles and his resurrection. The chapter includes her letters to Louis François Armand Du Plessis, Duke de Richelieu; to Johann Bernoulli II; and to F. M. Zanotti.

Keywords: Marquise Du Châtelet; Voltaire; Old Testament; Bible; God; Examinations of Bible; letters; Armand Du Plessis; Johann Bernoulli II; F. M. Zanotti

Chapter.  24440 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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