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Pierre Bayle

1647-1706. French writer. Son of a Reformed minister, he became an educator, teaching first at the Huguenot Academy of Sedan and then, when that institution was closed (1681), at Rotterdam. In 1682 he published a work on comets that indicated religion and morality were not related. In later books he advocated universal toleration and a conciliatory attitude toward the French government (even after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes*). These ideas antagonized important French Protestant leaders such as Pierre Jurieu,* who supported the school where Bayle taught, and led to his dismissal (1693). Thereafter he devoted himself to his Dictionnaire historique et critique (1695-97; rev. ed., 1702). This encyclopedic work contains many notes informed by Bayle's skeptical philosophy which made the work popular during the eighteenth-century Age of Enlightenment.*

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