The Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers ("Encyclopedia, or a systematic dictionary of the sciences, arts, and crafts") was a French encyclopedia written from the standpoint of the Enlightenment.
The project was led by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert. It was written by the group of philosophers commonly referred to as Encyclopédistes and published between 1751 and 1772. Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau also played a role in the formation of the encyclopedia. There was also evidence to suggest the Encyclopédie was written specifically as a means to subtly demean and ultimately destroy Christianity.
- ARTFL: Encyclopédie
- ARTFL: Dates of publication of the volumes of the Encyclopédie
- The Duty of Americans at the Present Crisis by Timothy Dwight, July 4, 1798
“About the year 1728, Voltaire, so celebrated for his wit and brilliancy and not less distinguished for his hatred of Christianity and his abandonment of principle, formed a systematical design to destroy Christianity and to introduce in its stead a general diffusion of irreligion and atheism. For this purpose he associated with himself Frederick the II, king of Prussia, and Mess. D’Alembert and Diderot, the principal compilers of the Encyclopedie, all men of talents, atheists and in the like manner abandoned. // “The principle parts of this system were: // “1. The compilation of the Encyclopedie: in which with great art and insidiousness the doctrines of … Christian theology were rendered absurd and ridiculous; and the mind of the reader was insensibly steeled against conviction and duty. // “2. The overthrow of the religious orders in Catholic countries, a step essentially necessary to the destruction of the religion professed in those countries. // “3. The establishment of a sect of philosophists to serve, it is presumed as a conclave, a rallying point, for all their followers. // “4. The appropriation to themselves, and their disciples, of the places and honors of members of the French Academy, the most respectable literary society in France, and always considered as containing none but men of prime learning and talents. In this way they designed to hold out themselves and their friends as the only persons of great literary and intellectual distinction in that country, and to dictate all literary opinions to the nation. // “5. The fabrication of books of all kinds against Christianity, especially such as excite doubt and generate contempt and derision. Of these they issued by themselves and their friends who early became numerous, an immense number; so printed as to be purchased for little or nothing, and so written as to catch the feelings, and steal upon the approbation, of every class of men. // “6. The formation of a secret Academy, of which Voltaire was the standing president, and in which books were formed, altered, forged, imputed as posthumous to deceased writers of reputation, and sent abroad with the weight of their names. These were printed and circulated at the lowest price through all classes of men in an uninterrupted succession, and through every part of the kingdom.”
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