« Baxter, Richard Bayle, Pierre Bayley, James Roosevelt »

Bayle, Pierre

BAYLE, bêl, PIERRE: French Protestant; b. at Carla (11 m. w. of Pamiers), department of Ariège, Nov. 18, 1647; d. at Rotterdam Dec. 28, 1706. He was the son of a Calvinist clergyman, and, in 1666, began his studies at the Protestant Academy at Puylaurens, whence he went to the University of Toulouse in 1669. Not satisfied with the objections of the Reformed against the dogma of a divinely appointed judge in matters of faith, he became a Roman Catholic. He spent eighteen months at the Jesuits' College in Toulouse, and then returned to Protestantism and went to Geneva (1670), where, living as a tutor in private families, he studied theology as well as the Cartesian philosophy. His friendship with Jacques Basnage and Minutoli began there. Later he accompanied pupils to Rouen and in 1675 to Paris. Then he spent several years as a lecturer on philosophy at Sédan; when that academy was closed by order of the king (1681), he accepted an appointment as lecturer on philosophy at the "École illustre" of Rotterdam. In this refuge of liberty, Bayle wrote most of his works. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes raised his indignation, and several of the best Protestant works called forth by that disgraceful piece of policy proceeded from the pen of Bayle. The conclusion at which he arrives by his close reasoning is: that matters of belief should be outside the sphere of the State as such—a dangerous principle for Catholicism, and the book was at once put on the Index. Even among Protestants Bayle had adversaries. Jurieu, his jealous and violent opponent at Rotterdam, considered toleration equal to indifference, and reproached Bayle with dangerous skepticism, which made his position very difficult. He tried for an appointment in Berlin. But the realization of this wish was prevented by the death of the great Elector Frederick William. Jurieu continued his attacks and even went so far as to represent Bayle as the head of a party working into the hands of Louis XIV by aiming at a split between the princes allied against France. William III gave credence to this and influenced the magistrate of Rotterdam to remove Bayle from his position (1693). From that time he lived for his literary work, chiefly bearing on philosophy and the history of literature. His Dictionnaire historique et critique [(2 vols. in three parts Rotterdam, 1697; 2d ed., 3 vols., 1702; 11th ed., 16 vols., Paris, 1820–24; Eng. transl., 5 vols., London, 1734–38)] was mast favorably received by all the learned men of Europe, though it brought on him a revival of the reproach of skepticism, of want of respect for the Holy Scriptures, even of Manicheism. Called to justify himself before a commission appointed by the presbytery of Rotterdam, he was treated with great moderation, and consented to change some of the offensive articles, which appeared in their new form in the second edition of his Dictionnaire. Accusations against him came up again from time to time, and he tried to refute them in minor philosophical works. Besides the Dictionnaire his works include: Lettres à M. L. D. A. C., docteur en Sorbonne, où il est prouvé que les comètes ne sont point le présage d’aucun malheur (Cologne, 1682); Critique générale de l’Histoire du Calvinisme de M. Maimbourg (Amsterdam, 1682); Recueil de quelques piéces concernant la philosophie de M. Descartes (Amsterdam, 1684); Nouvelles de la République des lettres (1684–1687); Ce que c’est que la France toute catholique sous le règne de Louis-le-Grand (St. Omer, 1685); Commentaire philosophique sur ces paroles de J. C.: "Contrains-les d’entrer" (Amsterdam,1686); Résponse de l’auteur des Nouvelles de la République des lettres en faveur du P. Malebranche sur les plaisirs des sens ( Rotterdam, 1686); Avis important aux réfugiés 17sur leur Prochain retour en France (Amsterdam, 1690; 1709); Lettres choisies avec des remarques (Rotterdam, 1714); Nouvelles lettres (The Hague, 1739).

G. Bonet-Maury.

Bibliography: B. de la Monnoye (pseudonym for Du Revest), Histoire du Mr. Bayle et ses ouvrages, Amsterdam, 1716; P. des Maizeaux, Vie de P. Bayle, The Hague, 1730, reprinted from the 3d ed. of the Dictionnaire, Amsterdam, 1730, reproduced in the Eng. transl. of the "Dictionary," ut sup.; E. and É. Haag, La France protestante, ii, 60–63, 9 vols., Paris, 1846–59; L. Feuerbach, P. Bayle, ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Philosophie und der Menschheit, Leipsic, 1848; J. P. Damiron, Mémoire sur Bayle et ses doctrines, Paris, 1850; C. A. St. Beuve, in Lundis, vol. ix, ib. 1852; F. Bouillier, Histoire de la philosophie cartésienne, ii, 476, ib. 1854; C. Lenient, Étude sur Bayle, ib. 1855; É. Jeanmaire, Essai sur la critique religieuse de Bayle, Strasburg, 1862; Voltaire, Siècle ae Louis XIV, chap. 36; A. Deschamps, La Genèse du scepticisme érudit chez Bayle, Brussels, 1879; J. Denis, Bayle et Jurieu, Caen, 1886; P. Janet, Histoire de la science politique dans ses rapports avec la morale, Paris, 1887.

« Baxter, Richard Bayle, Pierre Bayley, James Roosevelt »
VIEWNAME is workSection