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TraitÃ© des trois imposteurs. En Suisse, de - VROESEN, Jan - 1793. 
- This work's notorious message is that 'Toutes les religions sont l'ouvrage de la politique', and the eponymous 'Three Imposters' are Moses, Jesus Christ and Muhammad. The first printed version had been published in The Hague in 1719 by Charles Levier under the title La vie de Monsieur Benoit de Spinosa. For a long time its author was thought to be Jean-Maximilien Lucas, but Justin Champion of Royal Holloway College, who has published extensively on the background, thinks differently: 'the work in manuscript had a massive clandestine circulation throughout the eighteenth century. The dissection of the TraitÃ© has shown its sources to be a collage of much earlier discourses: Hobbes, Spinoza, Vanini, Pomponazzi, Campanella, and Machiavelli all rubbed shoulders with classical standards like Cicero. Although there have been many candidates for authorship ranging from Frederick II to French libertins Ã©rudits it now seems most likely that the compiler was a minor Dutch diplomat Jan Vroesen'. For a full account of the dating, authorship and influence of this, 'the most widely diffused of all the illicit manuscripts' see Israel, Radical Enlightenment, pp. 694-700 and passim. PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 12mo, [ii], 176, iv pp., contemporary quarter calf over marbled boards, rubbed, spine gilt with abrasions, front joint starting, contemporary annotation in French on front free endpaper, title-page cropped close at foot with slight loss, browning and spotting, final two leaves (the table of contents) with a hole and an edge repair involving slight loss of text, still a good copy overall. [Attributes: Hard Cover]
[Bookseller: Rudi Thoemmes Rare Books]
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