Francois Voltaire

Treatise on Toleration
  • Treatise on Toleration

    • Voltaire

    • Desmond M. Clarke (Translator)

    A new translation of Voltaire's Treatise on Toleration, one of the most important essays on religious tolerance and freedom of thought

    A powerful, impassioned case for the values of freedom of conscience and religious tolerance, Treatise on Toleration was written after the Toulouse merchant Jean Calas was falsely accused of murdering his son and executed on the wheel in 1762. As it became clear that Calas had been persecuted by 'an irrational mob' for being a Protestant, the Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire began a campaign to vindicate him and his family. The resulting work, a screed against fanaticism and a plea for understanding, is as fresh and urgent today as when it was written.

Voltaire, was born in 1694. For twenty years Voltaire lived chiefly away from Paris. In this, his most prolific period, he wrote such satirical tales as “Zadig” (1747) and “Candide” (1759). He died in 1778. Theo Cuffe translated Voltaire’s Micromégas and Other Short Fictions for Penguin Classics. Michael Wood is the writer and presenter of many critically acclaimed series on television, including In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great and its accompanying book.