Open Book Publishers logo Open Access logo
  • button
  • button
  • button
GO TO...
book cover

20. Pierre Bayle, On Tolerance, 168635

From the 1680s onwards, the number of anti-Protestant measures in France began to increase. The philosopher Pierre Bayle went into exile. He published many clandestine works defending moderate positions: for instance, that no one religion can claim a monopoly on truth or use this as a pretext to persecute others.

We need to thoroughly grasp who is right and who is wrong; if it is merely a matter of assertions, and assertion is excuse enough to persecute others, everyone will engage in persecution; each person will say he is persecuted unjustly and will persecute others justly. For the time being, as we wait for God to pass the final judgement, the strong will oppress the weak in good conscience. Are these not noble principles?

It is therefore clear that the right to persecute others cannot be wrested from Protestants by the ridiculous reason used by this author, but only by those that I have established in this work, which remove them universally from all religions.

Read the free original text online (facsimile), 1686 edition:

35 Pierre Bayle, De la Tolérance, in his Commentaire philosophique sur ces paroles de Jésus-Christ Contrains-les d’entrer, ou Traité de la tolérance universelle, ‘A Cantorbéry chez Thomas Litwel’, in fact Amsterdam: Abraham Wolfgang, 1686, Preface, p. xxxi.