ENCYCLOPEDISTS. The name Encyclopedistes was given to the French scholars and thinkers of the eighteenth century who edited and contributed to the " Encyclopddie ou Dictlonnaire raisonne des Sciences, des Arts et des Metiers," which was published in Paris in twenty-one volumes (1751-1764). The work was founded and edited by Denis Diderot (1713-1784) and Jean d'Alembert (1717-1783). Jean d'Alembert was co-editor only for a few years (till 1757), but he wrote the Intro duction on the methods and correlation of the sciences. The other contributors included Marie Francois de Voltaire (1694-1778), Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), Baron Montesquieu (1689-1755), Etienne de Condillac (1715-1780), Claude Adrien Helvetius (1715-1771), and Baron Holbach (1721-1789). The writers were influenced by the philosophy (Sensualism) of John Locke (1632 1704) and David Hume (1711-1776): " nihil est in intellectu quod non prius fuerit in sense." But this philosophy was transformed to suit the peculiar temper and circumstances of the age in France. " Instead of aiming at a transformation of the old theology into another pattern, as had been the object of the earlier English Deists, the French representatives of the move ment advocated a general repudiation of theology and the substitution of an undogmatic religion in place of Roman Catholicism. To this end Voltaire applied the weapons of his caustic satire, and the Encyclopaedists added the weight of their accumulated knowledge. In deed, Diderot (t1784) and his school represent a further stage in the downward transition from Deism towards Materialism " (Hastings' E.R.E., s.v. " Deism "). It has
been pointed out, however, that it is a mistake to sup pose that Diderot's Encyclopedic is full of open and bold attacks on religion. Christianity, and the Roman Catholic Church. " Though the article on the Jesuits is written with great gusto for scandals, and though the article on the Pope vindicates the Gallican views of the episcopacy, the work as a whole is confessedly Roman Catholic, and the Reformation, with all that belongs to it, is treated in a supercilious manner as a vicious innovation; to which must be added that there Is hardly any Christian dogma which is not accepted and de fended,—such as those of the trinity, of inspiration, of the atonement, etc. But (and this is characteristic of the book) the reasons for the acceptance of the Christian dogmas are generally of such a quality that a flat re jection, for no reason whatever, could not have made the matter worse. Theism is preferred to atheism, because it is better for the development of human hap piness to accept than to reject the idea of the existence of God. Christ is the first and foremost of all religious founders, because he revealed the best and highest morality, etc." (Schaff-Herzog). See Schaff-Herzog; J. H. Blunt; C. J. Deter; Max B. Weinstein, Welt- and Leben-anschauungen, 1910.