ISLAMOPHOBIA. ATHEISM. Pollot, Laurent (fl. end of the 16th century).

Dialogues contre la Pluralité des Religions et l’Atheisme. 1. De la Religion de Dieu. 2. De la Religion des Hommes. 3. Contre l’Atheisme. Sur la fin est adjousté, par occasion tres-necessaire, un quatriesme Dialogue, contre l’Avarice de ce dernier siecle de Fer.

La Rochelle, Jérôme Haultin, 1595

$4,200.00

Octavo: (8), 203 (i.e. 202) leaves.

FIRST EDITION.

With the printer’s device on the title-page. Contemporary overlapping vellum, tinted edges, a very fine copy.

An important work in the literature of atheism, and Islamophobia, in which Muslims (Turks in particular) are condemned as “traitorous, vindictive, cruel, nasty sodomites.”

“Toward the end of the sixteenth century, two works in particular undertook a systematic analysis of atheism and its causes: Pierre Charron’s Les trois véritez (1595) and Laurent Pollot’s Dialogues contre la pluralité des religions et l’athéisme (1595)... [Pollot] argued for the absolute evidence of the existence of God, judging that atheists were freaks, monsters void of all judgment, men so depraved that ‘they had gouged out their own eyes expressly in order to not see God in His works nor in His word’. There were three groups of atheists, he explained: enemies of Christianity ‘who do not know the true God’; those ‘who doubt or speak ill of God’s providence’; and finally, ‘those who force themselves to erase all sentiment of divinity from their heart’, and blaspheming miserably, say that there is no God... In short atheism was a willful blindness, expressed in ‘oppositions and objections’ to orthodox beliefs, and visible in an unjust, dissolute, ungodly life” (A.Ch. Kors, Atheism in France, 1650-1729, I:The Orthodox Sources of Disbelief, Princeton, NJ, 1990, p. 27-28).

Discussing Islam and the Quran, Pollot concludes (citing some suras): ‘Le zele d’une telle Religion doit estre comparé au labeur des brigans, & des paillardes & à celuy des fols & insensez: & pour le regard de l’equité & bonté de ces gens, enquerez-vous des Chrestiens, qui voyagent en leurs Climats, & vous trouverez que s’il y a nation infidele, traistresse, vindicative, cruelle, paillarde, vilaine, Sodomite, la Turquesque l’est’ (leaf 47r.) (cf. M. Heath, Foolish or Fearsome Franks: The Supposed Ottoman View of European Christians in the Sixteenth Century, in: “Conceptions of Europe in Renaissance France: Essays in Honour of Keith Cameron”, D.J. Cowling, ed., Amsterdam, 2006, p. 155).

Adams, P-1786; A. Cioranesco, Bibliographie de la littérature française du seizième siècle, (Paris, 1959), no. 17743; L. Desgraves, Les Haultins, (Genève, 1960), no. 150; E. Kushner, Le dialogue à la Renaissance: histoire et poétique, (Genève, 2004), p. 103.