Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Bayle, Pierre, son of a Calvinist minister, and author of the Historical and Critical Dictionary, was born November 18th, 1647, at Carlat, Languedoc. His studies led him at first to renounce Calvinism for Catholicism; later, however, he returned to Protestantism, and went to Geneva, where he studied the philosophy of Descartes in place of the Peripatetic scholasticism that had been taught him by the Jesuits. In 1675 he was appointed to the Chair of Philosophy in Sedan university, and afterwards to a similar chair in Rotterdam, where his lectures and publications attracted the notice of the learned of Europe. This popularity aroused animosity against him, and he was denounced as an atheist. The result was that he was forbidden to give instruction in Rotterdam, and in 1693 was deprived of his licence to teach. He, however, went on with his writings, bearing his persecutions with philosophic calmness, until his death, in 1706. His chief work was the Dictionary, which, though proscribed in France and Holland, yet had an enormous effect upon the thought of the Continent, and is credited with being the beginning of the scepticism of the eighteenth century.