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God & Human Beings: First English Translation

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  58 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
In this little-known work by Voltaire (1694-1778)—now available in English for the first time— the famous French philosophe and satirist presents a wide-ranging and acerbic survey of religion throughout the world. Written toward the end of his life in 1769, the work was penned in the same decade as some of his more famous works—the Philosophical Dictionary, Questions on Mi ...more
Paperback, 183 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Prometheus Books (first published May 4th 2010)
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Chris Via
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, philosophy, 2014
If for nothing else, this is a great survey of world religions. Brahmins, Chinese Taoism, Chaldeans, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Persians, Arabs, Jews and more. The central theme is that every civilization has had a supreme being, wether it be Jupiter, Zeus, or God. Voltaire presents a slew of arguments and documented contradictions in Jewish religion, but, contrary to popular belief, Voltaire is not an atheist. He himself believes in the Christian God. This entire treatise is merely a prompt to spa ...more
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, a total eye-opener. I realised that we in the modern world have lost a wealth of knowledge to the mists of time. So much about the origins of society and religion are forgotten in our modern helter-skelter existence. Voltaire exhibits a knowledge of the ancient world that shames me.
G.K. Noyer
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite works by Voltaire, and it's wonderful to find it available in English at last, though it probably was, in extracts at least, in the 18th century. Brought out three years after his "Philosophical Dictionary" became a best-seller, including in America, and while the theologians were still enraged over it, Voltaire marshals all the arguments on where our "Christian" beliefs and dogmas really came from, how much they differ from Jesus,' lists all the massacres committed in ...more
John Doyle
Oct 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Writing in the 18th century, Voltaire takes the existence of God and the brutal hypocrisy of theology as equally obvious. In God and Human Beings he compares Christianity to religions of antiquity to reveal the gospels as plagiarized nonsense co-opted by church authorities to serve their own ends. Voltaire's polemical book went as far as it could in his time given that Darwin wouldn't explain the origins of biological complexity for another century. I found myself wishing the two had been contem ...more
Angraecus Daniels
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
I only read about 3/4 of this book. I found some of it interesting, but superficial. It was clearly never intended to be a scholarly publication. Still, I think the essays should have better supported with more detail and more citations.
Melissa McPhail
Dec 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
I wouldn't recommend this translation, personally. I don't feel it captures Voltaire's usual lyrical use of the language.
Neil Rempel
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ce
Last sentence in the book "Yes, we want a religion, but a simple one, wise, august, less unworthy of God and made more for us; in a word, we want to serve 'God and human beings.'"
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In search of God & Human Beings 1 1 May 03, 2017 10:59AM  
Complete works (1880) :
In 1694, Age of Enlightenment leader Francois-Marie Arouet, known as Voltaire, was born in Paris. Jesuit-educated, he began writing clever verses by the age of 12. He launched a lifelong, successful playwriting career in 1718, interrupted by imprisonment in the Bastille. Upon a second imprisonment, in which Francois adopted the pen na
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