A Study On Pierre Bayle 's Life And The Historical Context That Influenced Religion And Toleration

775 Words Sep 15th, 2015 4 Pages
When Dr. Kristen Irwin lectured on Pierre Bayle and his ideas about religious toleration, she introduced many people to a new way of thinking about religion and toleration. Dr. Irwin first spoke about Pierre Bayle’s life and the historical context that influenced his thinking. Bayle lived during a period of turmoil in the Church. With many groups separating themselves from Rome, religious life was not as uniform as it used to be. With these changes came persecution. Pierre Bayle was raised as a French Calvinist, or Huguenaut, but converted to Catholicism during his time at seminary school. However, he converted back to Calvinism after a few months. In 1685, he was forced to flee from his home in France because of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, which lifted the law of religious tolerance and permitted the harassment of the Calvinists. Bayle wrote Commentaire Philosophique, his main argument for religious tolerance, as a direct answer to the Revocation. In the lecture, Dr. Irwin explained and gave insight into Bayle’s thinking and his reasoning behind his three main arguments—the Natural Light argument, the reciprocity argument, and the erring conscience argument.
In Bayle’s natural light argument, Dr. Irwin interpreted Bayle as making a negative argument using religious and nonreligious premises to support his idea that intolerance should be impossible through the natural light. Instead of arguing for tolerance, Bayle makes it a point to argue against…

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