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Home Fictional Letters or Real Accusations? Anonymous Correspondence in the Bayle-Jurieu Controversy

 FICTIONAL LETTERS OR REAL ACCUSATIONS? ANONYMOUS CORRESPONDENCE IN THE BAYLE-JURIEU CONTROVERSY 

Anton MATYTSIN

Abstract.

This article describes the polemical debate that took place between Huguenot refugees Pierre Jurieu and Pierre Bayle following the publication of Bayle’s notorious Dictionnaire historique et critique (1697). It focuses specifically on the volume of letters from anonymous readers published by Jurieu in order to condemn Bayle. The article describes the philosophical, theological, and personal dimensions of their quarrel, and it considers the moral and intellectual implications posed by Jurieu’s publication of anonymous letters that condemned Bayle’s controversial text. Anonymity was a powerful epistolary device in the Republic of Letters that, while divided along confessional lines, was becoming increasingly integrated through learned journals and expanding epistolary networks. This article reflects on the multiple uses of anonymity in the context of the philosophical and theological debates of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. 

Keywords: Pierre Bayle, Pierre Jurieu, Eusèbe Renaudot, skepticism, Pyrrhonism, anonymity, correspondence 

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