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Paul Henri Thiery, Baron d'Holbach
(December 1723 - January 21, 1789) Germany - France

Paul Henri Thiery Baron d'Holbach



Paul Henri Thiery, Baron d'Holbach was born in Germany as Paul Heinrich Dietrich, he was raised in France and inherited his uncle's fortune and title there.

Although during his lifetime few people were aware of the fact, Holbach was the first writer of openly atheistic works in modern history. He ranks as one of the most radical philosophers of the Enlightenment. His estate in Paris became a meeting-place for many prominent intellectual and political figures of the 18th century. Holbach was a close friend of Denis Diderot (1713-1784), and colloborated with him on Diderot's famous Encyclopédie (1751-72).

To avoid persecution Holbach was obliged to publish most of his anti-religious literature anonymously or under false names, usually those of known freethinkers who had been dead for some years. His most famous book is The System of Nature (1770), nicknamed "The Atheist's Bible." In 1772 he published Good Sense, a summary of the principal ideas of The System of Nature. Holbach's books aroused much controversy and even attracted rebuttals from Deistic freethinkers such as Voltaire and Frederick the Great.

Holbach died in Paris, a few months prior to the French Revolution. His authorship of The System of Nature and other works did not become widely known until the 19th century.


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