Resistance to Christianity

Chapter 41: The Spiritual Libertines


At the same time that the Spanish Inquisition was worried by the people who didn’t give a rat’s ass about Catholicism, Protestantism, the Church or its reforms and who lived in the quest for love and discovered in it the very meaning of their existence, Luther and Calvin attempted to subdue – in the countries slowly conquered by their glacial truths – the natural liberties that, among the common people, authorized the spiritual liberties that were being arrogated by the Reformers.


Eloi Pruystinck and the Eloisten

With the development of the economy, Antwerp around 1520 was the scene for a new wave of individual initiative that pushed forward the audacity of private enterprise, the conversion of God into divine capital and, at the same time, the propensity for luxury and the feeling of power that elevated the man of business to the dignity of the elect, nay, even the Demiurge.

At the beginning of the Sixteenth Century, when God – carved up by two factions that disputed their exclusive ownership of him – finally left a chance for the human [to appear], a slate-roofer by the name of Eloi Pruystinck, an “illiteratus et mechanicus”[1] proletarian, agitated the working-class neighborhood of Saint-Andrew.

A letter from David Joris[2] indicated that an encounter got the two men talking about the following question: What is the best life according to the God of goodness and freedom praised by the Reformation, at least in the mind of Eloi?

In February 1525, Pruystinck went to Wittenberg with the intention of persuading, with the justness of his convictions, the man towards whom Europe had turned its eyes: [Martin] Luther, entangled in his sudden glory. Pruystinck confronted Philippe Melanchthon in the presence of the master who, scandalized by the libertarian opinions of Eloi, sent a veritable letter of denunciation to the Protestants of Antwerp:

“I have learned how much your country is agitated by spirits who are full of errors, who devote themselves to hindering the progress of the Christian truth; I know that there has come among you a demon incarnate who wants to induce you into error and divert you from the true intelligence of the Gospel, so as to make you fall into darkness. To avoid his traps more easily, I would like to provide you with some of his propositions: ‘Each man,’ according to him, ‘has the Holy-Spirit; the Holy-Spirit is nothing other than our reason. – Each man has faith; nature has taught me to do to my neighbor what I would like done to me; to have faith is to act this way. – Each one will have eternal life; there is neither Hell nor damnation; only the flesh will be damned. – The law is not violated by bad desires as long as my will does not give in to them. – Those who have the Holy-Spirit do not sin any longer, because they have no reason.’ There is no one who does not want to be more knowledgeable than Luther; everyone wants to win his spurs at my expense. Your demon, when he was here with me, denied all of the articles [of faith], although it was demonstrated that they were his and although he betrayed himself by defending several of them. To tell you the truth, he is an inconstant and lying spirit, full of audacity and insolence, who allows himself to affirm something and then deny it at the same time, who never dares to maintain what he has advanced, and who only came here to praise himself for having discussed a few things with us. With energy he supported the idea that God’s commandments are good and that God does not want sin to exist, which I willingly conceded to him; but he obstinately refused to agree that God, in not wanting sin to exist, nevertheless permits it to reign over mankind. I do not doubt that he represented me to you as if I said that [the existence of] sin is desired by God.”[3]

Returning to Antwerp, Eloi did not cease to continue to propagate his conception of a life inspired by a good God who was hostile to violence, punishment and guilt, and whose grace rendered Edenic innocence to those who followed their desires and their propensity for happiness. Eloi seems to have associated with the humanist Johann Campanus, a gentle man whose project – expounded under the title On the Possibility of a Union of the Christians and the Turks (1546) – in part inspired Pruystinck’s ideas. (Note that, in 1530, Melanchthon refused any contact with Campanus and demanded that he be arrested. After the Servetus affair, Campanus was imprisoned for twenty years.)

In February 1526, Eloi and nine of his friends were arrested for the crimes of heresy and reading forbidden books. The penal moderation that the Regent Marguerite of Austria encouraged in the Netherlands explains the clemency of the judgment [against them]. Condemned to apologize and wear a pectoral sign that designated him a heretic, Eloi – loyal to his refusal of martyrdom – simulated such perfect devotion that the magistrates dispensed with the defamatory mark.

A group formed around Eloi that was more and more important. Dominic of Uccle, who was the “writer of all their books,”[4] created their propaganda, which was distributed in Holland and Germany. Van Meteren revealed that among their many adepts there were several bourgeois from Antwerp, “the best, the richest and the most respected, who agreed to live together joyously and in an Epicurean manner.” And this chronicler deplored “their impious opinions, which were supportive of the world and the flesh, and which derided and treated as stupidities both the Catholic religion and the Protestant one.”[5]

Like the Homines Intelligentiae in Brussels a century earlier, the Eloisten lost all prudence to the extent that the people who were indifferent to the wars conducted in the name of the pope of Rome or the pope of Wittenberg were increasing in number. In 1533, the Lutheran [Michel] Carnovianus, passing through Antwerp, spoke with indignation about the “Illuminati” there in a letter he sent to Johannes Hess: “Those men are far more perverse and obstinate than the Anabaptists.”[6]

The winds of repression became more violent when, in 1531, Marguerite of Austria ceded the Regency of the Netherlands to her niece, Mary of Hungary, sister of Charles V, who was resolved to pursue the heretics, “repentant or not, with a sufficient severity that it roots out their error and without any other consideration than that of not entirely depopulating the provinces.”[7]

No doubt the frenzied persecution of the Anabaptists temporarily diverted the Inquisitorial eye (in which the light of the pyres shined) away from the Eloisten. Nourishing as little sympathy for the adepts of Melchior Hoffmann as for the other henchman of the God of Justice, the Eloisten did not join the [Anabaptist] Münsterites who plotted to seize Antwerp’s City Hall on 11 May 1535. The frightful massacre that ensued thus spared them, while the siege of the town by the Duke of Gelderland, acting for the King of France and against Charles V, gave them a fresh deferment.

The fatal blow would come from Deventer, where Jorien Ketel, a friend of David Joris, was tortured and denounced Corneille Van Lier, a lord of Berchem (a village near Antwerp), his two brothers-in-law, the French jeweler Christopher Hérault, a companion of Eloi, and a “slate-roofer.” When informed [of these facts], the Governess Mary of Hungary demanded expeditious justice.

Other accusations, cleverly spread around, proceeded from the Calvinist milieu.

In 1544, Vallerand Poulain (from Strasbourg) wrote to Calvin: “Our brothers from Valenciennes, who previously provided us with certain writings of the Quintinists, have returned (...). If you take up arms against the Quintinists, I will rejoice. (...) My brother Raymond has written to me that these horrors are now spreading in Lower Germany through the actions of certain people named David and Eloi. He still has not yet sent me the exposé of their doctrine as he promised me he would. When he sends it, I will transmit it to you.” Everything indicates that the announced exposé was none other than the Summa doctrinae, which published [in Latin] by [Johann Joseph Ignaz von] Döllinger. I provided the French translation in The Movement of the Free Spirit.[8]

In July, the police arrested Eloi, Christopher Hérault, John Davion (a rich bourgeois originally from Lille), Jan Dorhaut (a poor salt-seller), Dominic of Uccle (the author of the pamphlets), the painter Henri de Smet, the engraver and sculptor Cornelis van den Bossche, and others.

A large number of Eloisten took flight and went to England, where some of them joined the Familists of Henry Niclaes. On 14 September 1544, Dominic of Uccle, learning of the tortures to which Eloi was subjected, profited from the absence of his guardian and hanged himself in his cell. On 25 October, Eloi was burned. His legend as a amiable dreamer and gentle Epicurean continued into the Nineteenth Century in his neighborhood of Saint-Andrew, where Georges Eeckhout welcomed it.[9] Hérault and his companions were decapitated.

No doubt the Eloist movement survived clandestinely. The chroniclers no longer mentioned it, but in 1550 the existence of a group of men and women claiming for themselves the freedoms of love was indicated in the environs of Alost, in Flanders. In 1561, an attack on a convent of Dominicans near Bruges was attributed to this band. Then they moved towards the iconoclast blaze. The exploits of Jacob Gheeraerts, called the Dutchman, evoked the partisans of Battenberg[10] more than the peaceful Eloisten, but it does not appear from Eloi’s doctrine that the partisans of the sweetness of life would let themselves be slaughtered without defending themselves.

The Eloist influence was discernible in the Familists, the Ranters, Dirck Coornhert and the anti-clericalism that, for a long time, was strong in the city that Richard Payne Knight [1750-1824] assured his readers was, from the beginning, devoted to the symbiotic cults of the Magna Mater.


Jacques Gruet

It is to the honor of Geneva, corrupted by dictatorship, that, in that city, there were citizens who were inclined – according to a tradition of national liberty – to claim the free disposition of self and rose up against the theocratic pretensions of Calvin. Several enlightened bourgeois took it upon themselves to confront the fanatic who was resolved to subject the entire population of the city to his austere compulsions.

This revolt, baited by ridicule, revealed [the existence of] an atheistic and irreligious current that, due to the uncertain fate of the Reformation party, was still entitled to pleasant licentiousness.

Benoîte, the wife of Senator Pierre Ameux, justifying the luxuriance of her amorous life, declared that she only saw in it the fortunate effect of the “communion of the saints.”[11]

Jacques Gruet, leader of the opposition to Calvin, composed a pamphlet that evoked the theses of Thomas Scoto and Herman of Rijswick. Though he ordered the destruction of this book, the autocrat could not prevent himself from quoting extracts in his Opinion that Calvin will deliver at the Proceeding that one must convene against the Book by Gruet in the Senate of Geneva.

In 1547, Gruet tried to stir up the people of Geneva. He affixed an appeal to revolt on the walls of the principal church in Geneva. Had he waited too long? Calvin obtained his arrest and the arrest of Gruet’s friends. The accused were decapitated and Calvin reigned as master in his citadel, throwing to the mercy of divine anger the enemies that he attracted so as to better consume them or that he denounced to the magistrates, Catholic or Protestant, so that justice was done.

Calvin called “libertines” the friends of political and religious liberty, which his authority reduced. He gave the name “Spiritual Libertines” to a faction that propagated the doctrine of the free satisfaction of desire in accordance with the tradition of the free spirit that existed among the humanists and the people of the people who were seduced by the modernity of the Reformation and rebuffed by its obscurantism.


Jacques Gruet rejected the existence of God and denied the existence of eternal life in the beyond, “saying of the law of God that it was worth nothing, just like the people who made it, and that the Gospel is only lies and that all of the Scriptures is a false and crazy doctrine.”[12]

In an article on the Gruet affair, Berriot published several remarks attributed to the incriminated pamphlet. He added to them a letter discovered at the time of Gruet’s arrest.[13]

“Moses is mocked in his ‘person’ and in his ‘doctrine,’ as are all the ‘patriarchs and prophets,’ who are characterized as ‘folz, resveurs, fantastics’: as for ‘their escriptures,’ the author only has ‘detestation’! There is no tenderness for the ‘evangelists’ and ‘disciples’ upon whom he inflicts the epithets ‘maraux, scoundrels, apostates, oafs, escervelés. As far as the Virgin Mary – through whom Jesus is attacked – she is ridiculed in her ‘honor’ and her ‘pudicité,’ since she is described as a ‘bawd’ . . . Nevertheless, it is Christ who is the target of the most lively insults: the manuscript denies his ‘divinity,’ contests ‘his Passion,’ and his ‘resurrection’; Jesus of Nazareth, at first called ‘Nycollas de Molle’ by the pamphlet, is defined as ‘a beggar, a liar, a folz, a seducer, a wicked man and a miserable, unhappy fantastic, (...) a boor full of malignant presumption’ whose ‘miracles (...) are only sorceries and antics’ and whose hanging [from the cross] was ‘merited’; in brief, Christ, who ‘cuidoit estre the son of God’ and who ‘was a hypocrite,’ was in fact ‘dead miserably in his folly, a crazy follastre, a great drunk, a detestable traitor and a hanged wicked man’! The ‘Holy Spirit,’ which seems of little interest to the author, is only the object of several blasphemies, ‘intolerable’ or ‘abominable,’ it is true; while ‘the (...) Escriptures, the Old as well as the New Testament,’ are the subject of many pages of manuscript that express a veritable ‘detestation’: ‘The Gospel (...) is only lies,’ ‘all of the escripture is false and wicked and (...) have less meaning than Aesop’s fables’ since ‘it is a false and crazy doctrine’ . . . Thus, the author clearly vows ‘to mock all Christianity’ and ‘all the Christians who have believed in (...) Jesus Christ and believe and would like to believe’ [in him]. He finally questions in a fundamental fashion ‘this law of God that is worth nothing’; he ‘blasphemies against the divine power and the essence of God’ and, denying that God is ‘creator of the heavens and earth,’ he ‘renounces and abolishes all religion and divinity,’ so as to conclude: ‘God is nothing,’ ‘men (are) similar to the beasts’ and ‘eternal life’ doesn’t exist!

“Faced with such remarks, the historian of ideas certainly regrets not having access to the thirteen manuscript sheets that were publicly burned in 1550, as well as the original copy of the letter Clarissime lector,[14] which was found at the time of the arrest and of which Gruet, in 1547, denied paternity, but which he admitted that he had in his possession and which he said he got from Jean des Cordes, which has also disappeared, in the Nineteenth Century it seems. . . . Through a fortunate turn of events, François Rocca – the secretary of the Consistory, later the archivist of Geneva in 1768, and someone who knew of the Gruet affair through the Letter from [La] Monnoie that concerned The Book of the Three Impostors – had, while recounting the entirety of the trial in his Collection of Manuscript Memoirs concerning Geneva from 1526 to 1593, copied several pieces and transcribed the precious text of the Clarissime lector, which still existed at that point, a text to which explicit reference was made by both the interrogators of June 1547 as well as [Théodore de] Bèze’s Vita Calvini and Letter LXXVII from Calvin to [Pierre] Viret. . . . It is thus in François Rocca’s Manuscript Memoirs, deposited at the Geneva Historical Society, that one can find a copy of this document that is so important to the history of the thought of the Renaissance and that obviously merits quotation at length:

‘Dear illustrious reader,

‘There are men of diverse opinions: one is a professor of literature (litterarum professor), another is a soldier (bellicator), another is in love with riches, another is a philosopher, another is a blacksmith. What do I seem to you, illustrious reader?

‘I do not know what men have said and written, but I believe that all that has been written with respect to divine power is false, illusion and fantasy. . . . Several wise men say that man was created from the substance of the earth and that the first man was Adam. . . .

‘Truly, I myself think that the world is without beginning (absque principio) and will have no end (necdam aliqua finis). In fact, who is the man who was able to truly describe the beginning of the world? None other than Moses, who described the first generation, and this same Moses wrote about what took place two thousand years before his own epoch: therefore, all that he wrote, he had it in his mind, having no other authority than what he himself said and what he says was revealed to him. . . . Me, I deny his authority because many men have contested it (...). He says that he saw God in the form of fire and that God presented himself to him in another form (... as) a voice (...). Truly, I am in agreement with Aristotle, who wrote the following after reading the works of Moses: I am astonished to see this preposterous person [ce cornu] say a lot and prove nothing (iste cornutus multa dicit, sed nihil probat)!

‘This same Moses affirmed, as I have said, that his first narratives were revealed to him by God, which is something I do not know about (...). After him came other men who invented still more (...) and added other fables and wrote them (...) [fables] like Job, Isaiah and the other ancients. Then the moderns, such as Jerome, Ambrose, Bede, Scot, Aquinas and other barbarians (barbari) invented other falsehoods (...). Still others would come later (...).

‘Nevertheless, what dignity did their God have? It is a horrible thing to make man, give him life and then, after two hours and three days of it, to bring death to him (est res nefanda facere hominem, dare illi vitam, post tandem alicui tempus vitae duarum horarum alteri trium dierum et postandem illi contribuere mortem). It is an improbable thing to create man and then break him (...). Likewise, some say that the soul is in the body, while others say that it is a spirit: where does this spirit go when it leaves the body? If you respond to me: it remains in a certain place, waiting for the final advent, then why does God not leave it in its own body, rather than changing its place? If you say: they are at rest, glorifying God, and the others are in Hell, [then I would respond] if they are in Hell, some essence would appear, therefore nothing is known of these things with certitude! . . . Likewise, if it happens that some are resurrected from among the dead, I believe that they would have described something of the form of this other world, like Lazarus and many others. . . . But are these things invented for the pleasure of men, like those [stories of people] who sleep for a whole year?

‘And then, the one whom one calls Christ, who claimed to be the Son of God: why did he suffer so badly during the Passion? If he were the Son of God, he would have demonstrated the power that he said God had. I do not believe that he was the Son of God, but that he was a madman (fantasticus) who wanted to glorify himself and all the things that have been written on this subject are most certainly false (...).

‘Me, I believe that when a man is dead, there is no more hope for life (Hoc ideo credo quod, cum mortuus est homo, nulla altera expectatio vitae).

‘Finally, we who are called Christians: do we not think that the Jews, the Turks and those who live differently are condemned because they do not believe in Christ? Therefore, if truly there is only one God, master of all things (unus Deus actor omnium rerum) who created mankind, why did he create such a great multitude only to make them perish (quare creavit tantam magnam multitudinem et postea vellet ipsam periri facere)? This is absurd: do you not see that all prosper, the Turks as well as the Christians? (...)

‘Nevertheless, as I said at the beginning, there is a difference in the nature of men: some are bloodthirsty, others are peaceful; some are truly chaste where women are concerned, others are lustful. From whence could this come? From the nature of the elements (ex natura elementorum). . . . While our moderns support the idea that this machine (hanc fabricam) is entirely governed by a single God, I think that the astrological philosophers are closer to the truth (puto philosophos astrologos propinquiores esse veritati . . . ). I truly think that everything is driven by the sun, the moon and the stars, along with the four elements (sole, luna et stellis, cum quatuor elementis). Nevertheless, if you ask me who made these things, since no one is their author (nullus est author de iis), I do not know how I would respond to you. But there are astronomers (...) such as Plato and Aristotle, and, if you read them, you will perceive the truth more closely (sunt aliqui astronomi [...] sicut Plato, Aristoteles quos, si leges, percipas proprius veritatem).’”[15]

In his Scrutinio Atheismi, Spizelius attributed to his contemporary, Theodore Simon, the following credo: “I believe in three things: the heavens, the earth and the heavenly form. The earth is the nourishing mother of all things and the heavenly form contains all thought and all speech. Thus eat, drink and partake of pleasure, because God is nothing other.”[16]


Quintin Thierry and His Friends

Around 1525, in Antwerp, while Eloi the Roofer was using the Scriptures to justify the search for pleasures and amenities of existence, Coppin of Lille – known through Calvin’s nasty allusions[17] – professed a similar teaching in his hometown. Not far from there, in Tournai, a tailor named Quintin Thierry (or Thiefry) left his trade and his city to go to France where a state of mind that was both detached from Catholic dogma and reticent with respect to Lutheranism was spreading. In any case, Quintin and a companion, Bertrand des Moulins, hardly had difficulty rallying sympathy. Antoine Pocques of Lille and Claude Perceval, no doubt originally from Rouen, seconded Quintin after the death of Bertrand des Moulins. In Paris, Quintin confronted Calvin, who later on, in a pamphlet, complained about having “to repeat this gossip.” Many artisans in the capital shared the opinions of the man from Tournai.

For his part, Pocques went to Strasbourg where, using the double language of devotion, he deceived the Lutheran Bucer and obtained from him letters of recommendation for the Protestants in other countries. Nevertheless, stating in 1538, this same Bucer warned Queen Marguerite of Navarre, the author of the gallant tales of the Heptameron, who – at her court in Nérac – sheltered the innovators who were threatened by the politics of her brother, Francois I, whatever their opinions were.

Pocques pushed insolence and provocation to the point of meeting with Calvin, but, more mistrustful than Bucer, he accorded Pocques no recommendations.

On the other hand, the court of Navarre was favorable to the discourse that gave to ordinary terrestrial pleasures, willingly practiced in this stratum of society, the best reasons in the world. Did not one impute [Marguerite] Porete’s book The Mirror of Simple Souls to the “Marguerite des marguerites”?[18]

Describing the small court at Nérac, Jundt remarked: “One spoke a lot there, it is true, of inward piety, but one gaily surrendered to the pleasures of life.”[19]

In 1543, Pocques and Quintin received an attentive welcome at the court of Marguerite. There they developed the idea that there was no sin in devoting oneself to the sensual pleasures of love and that following the liberties of nature resulted precisely from the presence in each person of a God of universal goodness.

When Calvin’s accusations – enclosed within his treatise Against the Fantastic and Furious Sect of the Libertines who Call Themselves Spirituals – arrived in Nérac, they only aroused scorn and reprobation. Marguerite expressed quite clearly the contempt in which she held this text directed “against herself and against her servants.”[20] She let the author know that she did not desire to have such a contemptible man near her.

His insistence finally ended up alarming Marguerite, whose sympathies for people persecuted by her brother placed her in a difficult situation. It was appropriate for her to avoid the thunderbolts from Geneva even more than those that came from Rome.

Pocques and Quintin returned to the Netherlands, where Calvin’s henchmen – Vallerand-Poulain and his friends – had not been inactive. On 13 September 1542, in Valenciennes, Hugues Lescantelier, a brewer from Maire-lez-Tournai, and Caso Hocq were decapitated for supporting a “new sect called ‘libertine.’”

Lescantelier had proclaimed his state of impeccability, while Hocq – rediscovering the theses of primitive Christianity – explained that Christ did not die on the cross, but that he had simply abandoned his human appearance, which he’d taken on to manifest himself on earth.

In 1546, Quintin – denounced by Calvin to the Catholic authorities of Tournai, who drew their accusations from his pamphlet – was arrested with many of his partisans, who were shoemakers, carpenters and other artisans. Quintin, apprehended because Calvin had said that he had rallied many ladies of the city to his sect, was hanged and burned. Three of his friends perished by the sword.

Quintin shared with Jacques Gruet contempt for so-called apostles. Calvin was indignant: Quintin “had assigned an epithet [quelque brocard] to each of the apostles in order to render them contemptible. And so he called Saint Paul ‘broken pot,’ [using his Picardian dialect he called] Saint John ‘young idiot,’ Saint Peter a denier of God and Saint Matthew a usurer.”[21]

Quintin rejected all forms of the Church, the rituals and the sacraments. God, by dying on the cross after his descent to earth, thus signified that he had abolished sin. From then on, one need only follow one’s inclinations without being preoccupied with anything else. Quintin and his followers celebrated amorous passion, which offended Calvin with an intensity that said a great deal about his own conceptions about the matter: “These miserable people profane marriage, mixing men with women like brute beasts, wherever their concupiscence leads them. (...) They color this brutal pollution with the name of spiritual marriage: they call ‘spiritual movement’ the furious impetuosity that pushes and enflames a man like a bull and a woman like a dog (...). They also make a similar confusion with their goods, saying that it is in accordance with the communion of the saints that no one possesses anything as his own, but that each one takes what he would have.”[22]

“Around 1546, their doctrine was taught in Rouen by an old Cordelier, who counted among his proselytes several ladies from noble families. He was put in prison the following year as a Protestant. Calvin, to whom his writings were communicated, refuted them in an epistle addressed to the Protestant community of Rouen. Set free, the Cordelier published in response The Shield of Defense, to which Farel would oppose The Sword of the Word in 1550. In France, the last vestiges of the Spiritual Libertines met at Corbigny in the Nivernais; in 1559 Calvin wrote to the Protestants of this town to warn them of the heretics’ tracks. Several rare clues still indicated the presence of these heretics in the towns along the Rhine beyond Strasbourg. In a letter to Rodolph Gwalther, one of the theologians of Zurich, Viret reported the existence of the sect in Lower Germany in 1544, and Calvin, in the same year, let it be understood that the heresy had partisans in Cologne. In 1545, the Walloon community of Wesel declared in its confession of faith that it rejected, among other errors, those of the Libertines.”[23]

[1] Translator: Latin for “illiterate and unskilled.” According to J. C. Margolin, “Libertins, Libertinisme et ‘Libertinage’ au XVIe Siècle,” published in Aspects du libertinisme au XVIe siècle (1974), this was the phrase used by Calvin to describe Pruystinck.

[2] Translator: an Anabaptist leader (1501-1556) in the Netherlands.

[3] M. Luther, Werke, Weimar, 1883-1908, vol. XVIII, French translation in Jundt, op. cit., pp. 122-123.

[4] Translator: in The Movement of the Free Spirit, p. 207, Vaneigem attributes this quote to the accusation of 1544 against the Eloisten.

[5] Van Meteren, Historia der Nederlanden, Amsterdam, 1623.

[6] Ibid. [Translator: Raoul Vaneigem, The Movement of the Free Spirit, p. 208.]

[7] Translator: Raoul Vaneigem, The Movement of the Free Spirit, p. 208.

[8] French translation in R. Vaneigem, Le Mouvement du Libre-Espirit, p. 210. [Translator: Raoul Vaneigem, The Movement of the Free Spirit, pp. 218-223, which via a footnote refers the reader to I von. Döllinger, Beitrage zur Sektengeschicte (Munich, 1890), vol. 2, no. 62, pp. 664-668, and Jules Frederichs, De Sekte der Loisten (Ghent, 1891).]

[9] G. Eekhoud, Les libertins d’Anvers, Paris, 1912.

[10] Translator: cf. chapter 42 of the present work.

[11] Histoire de Genève, I, p. 399.

[12] A. Jundt, op. cit., p. 127.

[13] Translator: in what follows, there are many words in Middle, not Modern French: folz means “crazy people”; resveurs are “dreamers”; escriptures are “writings”; maraux appears to be “rascals”; escervelés are “scatterbrains”; pudicité is “modesty”; cuidoit ester appears to be “believed (himself) to be”; and follastre is either “amorously playful,” or “crazy star” or just “crazy.”

[14] Translator: Middle French for either “Clearest reader” or “Most renowned reader.”

[15] F. Berriot, Un procès d’athéisme a Genève, l’affaire Gruet, BSHPF, 1979.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Calvin, Contre la secte phantastique et furieuse des libertins, Geneve, 1547.

[18] Translator: “Marguerite of the daisies” or perhaps the “Daisy of the daisies.”

[19] A. Jundt, Histoire du panthéisme populaire . . . , op. cit., p. 128.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Calvin, Contre la secte . . . , op. cit., p. 113.

[22] Ibid. [Translator: Raoul Vaneigem, The Movement of the Free Spirit, p. 232.]

[23] A. Jundt, op. cit., p. 131; R. Vaneigem, op. cit., p. 215 and sq. [Translator: Raoul Vaneigem, The Movement of the Free Spirit, pp. 224-232.]


(Published by Fayard in 1993. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! May 2013. All footnotes by the author, except where noted. Please note that, in the French edition of this book, the first 5 footnotes “fell off” their respective pages, so I have had to reestablish their locations.)



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