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    M. (Isaac) De Beausobre. Histoire Critique De Manichee Et Du Manicheisme. Amsterdam: J. Frederic Bernard, (Formey), 1734-39. Krown & Spellman retail: $1250. First edition. 4to. 2 vols in 1. LXXVI, 594, xxxiv, 806p. Contemporary vellum, slight chipping to first volume spine, second volume with front hinge cracked. Title page to first vol. with loss of text to top corner, repaired, first and last blank leaves of vol. 2 with outer margin chipping, loss of top right corner to title page, two letters affected. Columbia Univ. Library stamp to A1 in vol. 1, vol.2 with corner torn off to A1, assuming removal of the same stamp. Engraved vignette by B. Picart. Scarce set. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.

    More Information:

    "Beausobre, Isaac de (1659-1738), pioneer of modern studies of Manicheism. Beausobre was a Frenchman from a family who had been Protestants (Huguenots) for several generations. Born at Niort in Poitou on March 8, 1659, he received a basic but incomplete education and, despite his parents' wish that he should go in for a legal career, he chose to study theology at the Saumur academy... Not only among the Huguenots of Berlin but also in much wider circles, de Beausobre won renown as a brilliant scholar and as a master of the art of writing French. King Frederick II spoke of him as "la meilleure plume de Berlin." He wrote essays on problems of Protestant doctrine and Reformation history, published a collection of sermons, and contributed to an annotated French translation of the New Testament. He was a contributor to the Bibliotheque Germanique (the learned journal of the French exiles) and for a time its editor.... In addition to the Reformation, Manicheism attracted de Beausobre's attention because of his interest in theology and his personal life-experience. His Histoire critique de Manichée et du Manichéisme was published in two volumes, vol. 1 in 1734, vol. 2 posthumously in 1739. His aim was to obtain and provide a clear picture of this potent heresy of late ancient times from which the pre-Reformation heresies of medieval times were said by their Catholic adversaries to be descended. A planned third volume was to be a history of the Paulicians, Bogomils, Albigenses, Waldenses, and Bohemian Brethren (vol. 2, p. 6 n. 1). As he himself had expected, the published parts of the work were dismissed by conservative critics as an unwarrantable defamation of the fathers of the early church and commendation of the arch-heretic Mani. More positive but not dissimilar is H. S. Nyberg's judgement that de Beausobre saw Manicheism as "a sort of pre-Protestant protestantism." It must be emphasized, however, that de Beausobre shared the view of the heresy-hunters of earlier generations that Manicheism was a false doctrine. At the same time he aimed to present an account of the subject which would be free from prejudice and from slanders prompted by "ecclesiastical politics." - Encyclopaedia Iranica.

         "The Huguenot scholar Isaac de Beausobre developed Bayle's defense of Manichaeism in his "Critical History," a two-volume study published between 1734 and 1739, producing a precise and careful account of the history of Manichaeism. For Beausobre, the critical approach of his work concerned a detailed handling of the patristic sources for Mani and Manichaeism from Late Antiquity, very many of which had become available for the first time in new, critical editions which Beausobre made very good use of: he was largely reluctant to conclude that the Greek and Latin sources about Manichaeism contained anything other than lies and distortions of Mani's life and teachings." - Nicholas Baker-Brian, Manichaeism: An Ancient Faith Rediscovered.


              Caillet 885. Guaita 1143. Brunet I: 723 "ouvrage tres estimee."

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