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Original price £750.00 - Original price £750.00
Original price
£750.00 - £750.00
Current price £750.00

[Prades, Jean-Martin de] [Brotier, Gabriel] [Gourlin, Pierre-Sébastien]: Recueil de pièces concernant la thèse de M. l’Abbé de Prades, soutenue en Sorbonne le 18 Novembre 1751, censurée par la Faculté de Théologie le 27 Janvier 1752, & par M. l’Archevêque de Paris le 29 du même mois; divisé en trois Parties. Première Partie [Observations importantes sur la thèse de M. l’Abbé de Prades. Seconde partie]. [Apologie de M. L’Abbé de Prades. Troisieme partie]. [] [France or Netherlands?] 1753.

Illustrated volume containing the Latin-French text of a theological treatise by a contributor to Diderot and D’Alembert’s Encyclopédie. It was so controversial that its author had to take exile in Holland and Prussia. The book also has condemnations from the University, Parlement, and Archbishop of Paris amongst others, and a defence of the thesis by the author. Prades (c.1720-1782) even had to defend himself against the accusation that his thesis was a conspiracy of the Encyclopédie against religion (see part III p. 2). The Prades affair was satirised by Voltaire in his work Le tombeau de la Sorbonne (1753).

This work is imbued with philosophy - in a way which was certainly challenging to traditional theology. Prades makes the senses the source of all human knowledge, he sees the sole basis of society in utility and the need of one person for the help of another, and he sees justice as being the reaction of the weak against the oppression of the strong (Bouillier). In the Encyclopédie, Prades wrote the article on ‘Certitude’.

The illustrations to the volume comprise a woodcut of saints and patriarchs at All Saints’ Day (at first p. 1), and a vignette to title-page which is in fact an allegory of the triumph of religion, and which is printed a second time with title and full-page explanation (first p. 35). Our book is particularly rare for having the penultimate (17-page) section, which is titled Examen de lapologie de M. lAbbé de Prades.


First edition thus. One volume, 26.2 cms. x 20.8 cms., in quarto, 3 parts in 1 vol., + ‘Table de matières’. Pp. [4] 97 [1], [2] 60 [2], [2] 88, 17 [1], [2], 13 [3]. With three blanks. Penultimate register misbound (1-8, 13-16, 9-12, 17). Woodcut vignette to title-page, large woodcut illustration to (first) p.1. The same vignette repeated at (first) p.35 (titled here ’Le triomphe de la religion’). Light browning, flaw at pp.11/12 (third register) (sig. B2), rendering two or three words illegible to recto (all text still legible to verso), still a very good copy, bound in contemporary mottled calf, spine decorated in gilt, red morocco gilt label, marbled pastedowns and endpapers, green silk ribbon, all edges red.

Not in Conlon or STCN. OCLC shows copies outside mainland Europe at: UCLA, CUA, Sweet Briar, Harvard, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Penn; Cambridge.