Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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The Ezourvedam Manuscripts, Excerpt from Ezourvedam: A French Veda of the Eighteenth Century
Edited with an Introduction by Ludo Rocher
W. Norman Brown Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania
© 1984 -- John Benjamins B.V.



The Ezourvedam Manuscripts

The Pondicherry Manuscripts

The manuscripts which Ellis saw in Pondicherry in 1816 can no longer be traced. The latest exhaustive reference to them is by Father Hosten, in three successive publications. He says (1923:137n28) that "what remains of them is in my possession now for study, lent to me by the authorities of the Catholic Mission of Pondicherry." Two years earlier he stated (1921:500; cf. also 1922:65) that manuscripts of the archives of the Procure des Missions Etrangeres de Paris, "bound up in two large tomes," had been with him, at Darjeeling, since the end of 1918. I am not sure how to interpret his reference to the size of the EzV: "The manuscripts contain portions of the Ezour-Vedam (Yajurveda), about which there has been no little commotion in Oriental circles since 1761, in Voltaire's time; but, whereas the Ezour-Vedam printed at Yverdon in 1778 contains only 8 books, the Pondicherry manuscripts of the Ezour-Vedam must have originally contained 42 books" (1922:65). For a reason which he explains no further, he seems to believe (1922:66; cf. also 1921:500) that "large portions still existing in 1816 have been lost."

In the description of manuscript No. 3, Ellis (1822:22) adds a remark on the handwriting of the entire collection: "The handwriting of this manuscript differs from that in which the Ezour Vedam is written, but agrees with that of the Sama Vedam and of all the others in which Sanscrit and French are found together." In other words, according to Ellis the handwriting of the EzV manuscript is different from that of all other texts in the collection. On the other hand, Hosten (1922:65-6; cf. also 1921:500; 1923:138n28) reports as follows on a visit to Pondicherry, in 1921: "During my visit to Pondicherry, a few minutes' search in the Cathedral Church registers, where many entries were in Father Mosac's handwriting, showed clearly that all the Pondicherry manuscripts on the Vedas, both transliterations and translations, are by Father Mosac. ... I had a photograph made of some of the entries in the Cathedral Church registers, signed by Father Mosac, and as I have photographs of parts of his translations, even the most exacting critics will be able to satisfy themselves as to the identity of the writings."
As indicated earlier, Hosten believes that Mosac is the author of the French translation only, not of the Sanskrit original. "The fact that at times, he confesses that he does not understand the Sanskrit text proves also that he is not the author of the Sanskrit texts" (1922:65; cf. 1921:500; 1923:138n28). If Hosten's reference is indeed to marginal notes to the Sanskrit sections, in Mosac's handwriting, it is also possible that these manuscripts were Mosac's own copies, of both the French and the Sanskrit sides, of earlier documents, in which he occasionally was unable to establish the correspondence between the two. As Castets (1921:577) puts it: "even if the whole could be identified to be in the handwriting of the said Father, the only safe conclusion would be that this missionary had written down the document found in the Pondicherry Mission Library, but, not necessarily that he was rather the discoverer or the translator."

Although he does not explicitly say so, Castets himself seems to have seen the Pondicherry manuscripts, some time before 1935. He reports (1935:10) that "in the course of time the collection has been bound in two volumes, and is even considerably deteriorated." He also suggests (1935:12-3) that there are variant readings in the different manuscripts: "If Mr. Ellis had been able to compare the manuscript that was handed to him with the Yverdon edition, he would have discovered that if one confronts the three manuscripts -- Voltaire's, A. du Perron's, and the one found at the Mission -- with one another, not one is found to be identical with any other, at least not as far as the contents are concerned." And he adds (14), about Ellis' No. 2: "The Ezour Vedam in this copy-book contains eight books, even as the printed Vedam; but, as I indicated earlier, it differs from the other three manuscripts by many additions, in the form of introductions, or even additions of several of these books." Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to verify these data.

Castets also has different ideas on the original owner -- and annotator -- of the Pondicherry manuscripts. He quotes (1935:45) a letter by Calmette to show that, to acquire manuscripts in India, paying money for them was not necessarily a sufficient condition: "Less than six years ago two missionaries, one in Bengal and another one right here [i.e., in the Telugu area], have been misled. Mr. Didier, an engineer for the King, gave 60 roupies for a so-called Vedam, in favor of Father Pons, the superior of Bengal." From this Castets (46) draws the conclusion, first that Calmette fully realized that the Vedas at Pondicherry were nothing more than "counterfeits, composed and sold by Brahmin sharks, to impose upon them" and, second, that Calmette "provides us the name of the principal supplier of the collection, namely Father Pons, who is also the famous marginal annotator of these Pseudo-vedams." And Castets concludes (46) with a touching description of Pons' activities: "Father Pons, for a long time a missionary among the Telugus, Superior of the Mission in Bengal from 1728 to 1733, eminent sanskritist, author of a treatise on Sanskrit prosody, great collector of Sanskrit books, who finally, reduced by age and exhaustion, to forced leisures, at the seat of the Mission, in Pondicherry, enjoyed himself revising his past acquisitions, even in the year of his death which came in December 1751 or January 1752." The following year Srinivasan repeats (1936:132) that Father Pons "was a victim of the famous hoax perpetrated in connection with the Yajur Veda," on the authority of Castets.

Voltaire's and Anquetil's Manuscripts

As far as Voltaire's copy of the EzV is concerned, we know that he received it from Maudave, a well known figure in French colonial history.62 Louis-Laurent de Federbe, chevalier and later comte de Maudave,63 was born on 25 June 1725 at the castle of Fayet, near Grenoble. From April to July 1756 he took part in Louis XVs expedition to Menorca.64 In May 1757 he left for India, with Count Lally. He arrived in Pondicherry on 28 April 1758,65 and participated in the capture of Fort St. David and the siege of Madras. On 26 June 1758 he married Marie Nicole,66 the daughter of the commander of Karikal, Abraham Pierre Porcher des Oulches.67 When all senior officers were recalled in September 1759, Maudave returned to France;68 he arrived at Lorient on 2 February 1760. During the voyage he wrote part of a "Memoire sur les establissemens a la cote de Coromandel,"69 which he completed after his arrival on Menorca, on 6 December 1760. We have seen earlier that it was on his way from Paris to Mahon that Maudave visited Voltaire at Ferney.

On 28 March 1761 Maudave again embarked for India, aboard the Fidelle. He arrived at the Ile de France (Mauritius) just after the news of the fall of Pondicherry (14 January 1761) reached the island. He convinced the governor to give him the Fidelle, and he sailed for Negapatam, where he arrived on 4 April 1762. Under the pretext of lightening the suffering of his compatriots in India, he actually tried to rally them around Yusuf Khan, of Madura.70 Not only did he lose the confidence of the Dutch and had to move to Tranquebar, he also lost the support of the Council of the Ile de France who terminated his mission on 31 January 1764. Seven weeks later he left Tranquebar and joined his family on Mauritius. Maudave spent two years and a half on the Ile de France, managing a large estate but not politically inactive. When the General Assembly at Port-Louis decided to send two representatives to Paris to discuss the colonization of Madagascar, Maudave was one of them. He arrived at Lorient on 9 May 1767. Ten months later he sailed again, and, via the Ile de France, reached Fort Dauphin on 5 September 1768, as the "commander on behalf of the King of the island of Madagascar."71 After two years he was recalled, and by the end of 1770 he left Madagascar for Mauritius.

But, once again, in 1773, Maudave sailed for India, "in search of a military career under one of the Indian princes."72 He traveled to Calcutta, Lucknow, Delhi, and Hyderabad; after four years he was taken seriously ill, and died at Masulipatam, on 22 December 1777.73 The British Government, for obvious reasons, refused to grant him the honors due to his rank.74

From this short biography Maudave appears to us as the prototype of the eighteenth century adventurer. "His life was a true novel;"75 and, "intelligent, courageous, and a natural wanderer, Maudave is one of those who have gone everywhere but never arrived at anything."76 Yet, he also took an active interest in all parts of the world he visited, especially India. From the time of his first return from India, in 1760, when he visited Voltaire and when d'Alembert described him as "a man of intelligence and merit" (Best. 8496) and "an Indian" (Best. 8567), his advice was also sought and appreciated by the foreign minister of Louis XV. "Choiseul soon recognized Maudave as someone unusually well acquainted with matters Indian, on whose information he could rely: the puzzle of Hinduism, Oriental customs, the location of the warriors and neutrals, he knows everything, gives his opinion on everything. And this good soldier occasionally also turns out to be an accomplished economist. He bristles with ideas on the commercial possibilities of our establishments and on the ways to reorganize them. He supports his speeches with writings which he composed during the long journey."77

To be sure, the religions of India were not Maudave's primary concern. He states himself, at the end of the unpublished letter to Voltaire: "I feel I have neither the energy nor the knowledge, Sir, that would be required to explain to you here and now the foundations of Indian religion. To tell you the truth, this subject has roused my curiosity only intermittently. The political situation of the country, its history, and the ways and means to make our Establishments in it more flourishing, have occupied most of my time. These things appeal more to my taste and interest me more professionally. The abominable superstitions of these peoples arouse my indignation. They are a disgrace to human reasoning. But is there any place on the earth where reason is not corrupted by superstition?" Yet, he was also not totally uninterested in the religions of India, We are told by d'Alembert (Best 8567) that Maudave was anxious to meet Voltaire and "take his orders for the Bramins." He did write Voltaire extensively on the "Lingam." Unless there have been other similar letters to the philosopher of Ferney during or right after Maudave's first stay in India, Malesherbes' indication that this is only an extract from a longer letter may very well be confirmed by d'Alembert's statement in another letter to Voltaire (Best. 8458): "He has written you recently a great letter (une grande lettre) on India, which will be for him the best way to commend himself to you." We also know from the unpublished letter that Maudave knew the EzV well, so as to be able to quote from it the relevant passages on the "Lingam." This in turn is confirmed by two marginal notes in what was to become Voltaire's copy of the EzV. Twice on the same folio (fol. 14 recto = book 3, ch. 6), a handwritten note, probably by Maudave to himself, says: "Copy these prayers in the letter to M. de Voltaire." The prayers do not appear in Malesherbes' "extract," but may have figured elsewhere in the letter.

The "extract" raises more questions than it answers. If Maudave was convinced that Martin was the translator of the EzV, and if he wrote so to Voltaire, how do we explain the latter's belief, after he met Maudave in person, that the translator was the high priest "of the island of Cheringam," together with detailed information on this gentleman's knowledge of French and his defense of Law? On the one hand, Maudave assured Voltaire that the translation "was very faithful"; on the other hand, he writes in the letter (9- 10): "I must confess that this manuscript is quite strange. I find in it propositions on the unity of God and on the creation of the universe, which are so direct and so much in agreement with our own Sacred Books, that I cannot have full confidence in the accuracy of the translation."

In fact, Voltaire's general enthusiasm about the French EzV, as described earlier in this volume, is in strange contrast with Maudave's own misgivings. He believes in the antiquity of the Sanskrit language and its EzV, but he does not agree with the way in which the Jesuits interpret -- and translate -- the Vedas. According to them, "the four books of the Vedam contain our principal dogmas and even some of our mysteries." If the Jesuits are right in saying that they have discovered Latin words in the Vedas, the Vedas must be very recent. And this cannot be true. But, then, the Jesuits find traces of their own faith in every part of the world: in the Chinese books, in Mexico, among the savages of South America!

All this seems to indicate at least one thing: Maudave was puzzled by the French EzV, to the point of doubting its authenticity. But he was convinced that it was a translation from a Sanskrit original -- even though elsewhere in the letter (9) he calls it "a Malabar dialogue" --; to him no one must have even hinted at the fact that this might be a text written in French by the missionaries themselves. This leaves us with the question: did Maudave receive a copy of the EzV directly from the Jesuits, or did he obtain it through an intermediary? The sole conceivable argument in favor of the former alternative is Maudave's specific reference to the Jesuits and to the translator, Father Pierre Martin, in his unpublished letter. However, since this letter has remained unknown so far, the latter alternative has been invariably adhered to. Two possible intermediaries have been mentioned over the years.

The first intermediary that has been considered is Maudave's father-in-law, Abraham Pierre Porcher des Oulches, whose name appears repeatedly in the official documents of the French East India Company.78 He appears as the "chef de la Compagnie" at Masulipatam when his daughter Jeanne Marie was born on 28 October 1736. He was the commander at Karikal, at least from August 1754 until April 1758 and is still so described at the birth of Maudave's daughter Louise Marie Victoire Henriette, on 19 April 1760. Between his posts at Masulipatam and Karikal he was a member of the "Conseil Superieur," and he is again given that title from 6 November 1759 onward.

Porcher des Oulches seems to have taken pride in sending Indian documents to Europe. In his chapter: "On the religion of the Indians," de La Flotte79 refers to one of his sources as "a manuscript brought from Pondicherry in 1767, and sent through the intervention of Mr. Porcher, the former governor of Karikal. One sees, on one side, the Indian text, and on the other side figures of all the deities painted by a local painter, after the originals which are in de Pagodas." It was once again Porcher's son-in-law, Maudave, who brought these and/or similar documents with him when he returned to France on 9 May 1767. Anquetil, who returned from India on 15 March 1762, appears to refer to the same manuscripts, when he says (1808:3.122n) several years later: "A few years after my return to France, I was consulted about four large volumes in-folio, with figures of Indian deities, accompanied by a French translation, for which he (= Maudave) asked the King's Library a considerable price; the affair was arranged."80

Anquetil mentions at least twice the possibility that Maudave obtained the manuscript of the EzV from his father-in-law. But it is clear that, according to him, it is more likely that it came from the papers of Louis Barthelemy. I have already quoted Anquetil's handwritten note to that effect in his own manuscript of the EzV. In a note to Paulinus' Voyage he repeats (1808:3.122n): "The translation of the Ezour-Vedam, made by an interpreter of the Company, passed into the hands of Mr. de Merave (sic), while at the same time another copy remained among the papers of Mr. Barthelemy, which went to his nephew. Father Coeurdoux who, in 1771, mentioned to me the copy of his learned confrere Father Mosac, evidently did not know that the Ezour-Vedam existed in French, in the hands of Mr. Barthelemy; and Mr. de Merave, the purchaser, who wanted the merit of his present for himself, surely did not divulge his acquisition in India. He obtained it either from Mr. Barthelemy himself, or from Mr. Porcher, the commander of Karikal near the famous pagoda of Chalambron, whose daughter he had married."81

In fact, at an earlier stage of his career Anquetil mentions (1771:1,1 .lxxxiii) Barthelemy only, and this is also the way in which the origin of the EzV is reported by Sainte-Croix (1778:viii): "This work comes originally from the papers of Mr. Barthelemy, second of the Council of Pondichery. Mr. de Modave, known for his intelligence and for his services, brought a copy of it from India." All this speculation derives, of course, from the way in which Anquetil himself acquired his own copy. As indicated earlier (see p. 8), based on a note in the manuscript, he obtained it, via Court de Gebelin, from Tessier de la Tour, nephew of Barthelemy. He returns to this in his note on Paulinus' Voyage, together with speculations on the origin of the text as translated, in his opinion, by Mosac: "Mr. Barthelemy, second of Pondichery, who was in charge of the interpreters, was a covert Protestant. It is through Mr. Court de Gebelin, also a protestant, that I have been given access to the copy of Mr. Teissier de la Tour, nephew of Mr. Barthelemy. The translation of the Ezour Vedam was sent to the King's library in 1761.
Father Mosac, formerly the superior of the Jesuits at Schandernagor, which was taken by the English in 1757, could then very well be at Pondichery. In 1771 Father Coeurdoux mentioned to me that he was the translator of a Vedam in which Indian polytheism is refuted. In view of the precarious situation in which the Mission found itself, he may have tried to show his work to the secretary of the Council at Pondichery, to gain his support. Did Father Coeurdoux know this? Or else, the book may have existed among the Brahmes of Scheringam, who through their contacts with the French undoubtedly became more easy-going in matters of religion."

What was formerly Voltaire's copy of the EzV contains, written by a different hand, a "Notice sur le Zozur Bedo, et sur sa traduction." This notice which, according to a third hand, is "par Mr Court de Gebelin," elaborates in similar terms on the origin of the text. It is, as Pinard de la Boullaye (1922:213n1) rightly remarks, "highly fanciful;" yet, it deserves to be quoted in full in the original for it is also characteristic of Vedic speculations of the time.

"Zozur est un mot des langues du Gentoo, et compose du mot Zo contre & du mot Zur poison. Ce Vedam ne peut etre mieux nomme.

"Ce Livre doit avoir ete compose dans le Malabare. Biach qu'on y fait parler sans cesse, ou l'un des Interlocuteurs etant une Divinite de ce Pays, qui ne se trouve point dans les deux plus anciens livres des Bramines le Shastah de Brama, & l'Aughtorrah-Bhade: qui est de meme que le Vedam du Malabar une innovation du livre original le Shastah de Brama. A l'exemple de ces innovateurs, nombre de gens d-esprit & pleins de genie s'eleverent il y a environ 3400. ans contre les doctrines recues & s-exprimerent sur tous les points de la Philosophie et de la Theologie Indienne avec beaucoup de liberte et de force: Ainsi le Zozur doit etre de ce tems la, ayant ete fait dans le meme esprit.

"Par raport a sa Traduction, elle a ete faite par les ordres de M. Barthelemi premier Conseiller a Pondichery. Ayant grand nombre d'Interpretes pour lui, il leur fit traduire quelques ouvrages indiens avec toute l'exactitude possible: mais les guerres de l'Inde & la ruine de Pondichery ont entraine la perte de tout ce qu'il avoit rassemble sur ces objets: et il ne s'en est echape que la traduction du Zozur, dont il ne subsiste qu'un seul exemplaire complet. entre les mains de M. Teissier de la Tour neveu de M. leConsr. Barthelemy. C'est sur celui la que l'on a fait la Copie que l'on possede a la Bibliotheque de Sa Majeste, et que l'on n'avoit pas eu le tems d'achever sans doute lorsque M. de Modave s'embarqua pour revenir en Europe."

[Google translate: "Zozur is a word from the Gentoo languages, and consists of the word Zo against & from the word Zur poison. This Vedam cannot be better named.

"This Book must have been composed in Malabare. Biach that one does there talking incessantly, or one of the Interlocutors being a Divinity of that Country, who is not found in the two oldest books of the Bramines the Shastah of Brama, & the Aughtorrah-Bhade: which is the same as the Vedam of Malabar a innovation from the original book Brama's Shastah. Following the example of these innovators, number of people of spirit & full of genius arose about 3400 years against the doctrines received & expressed on all points of Indian Philosophy and Theology with great freedom and strength. So the Zozur must be from that time, having been done in the same spirit. "In relation to his Translation, it was made by the orders of Mr. Barthelemi, First Counselor in Pondicherry. Having a great number of interpreters for him, he had them translate some Indian works with all possible accuracy: but the wars of India & the ruin of Pondicherry resulted in the loss of all that he had gathered on these objects: and only the last translation of Zozur, of which only one complete copy remains, between the hands of M. Teissier de la Tour nephew of M. leConsr. Barthelemy. It's certain the one that we made the copy that we have in the Library of His Majesty, and which no doubt had not had time to complete when M. de Modave embarked to return to Europe."]

I have not been able to gather any information on Tessier -- or Teissier -- de la Tour. Louis Barthelemy is much better known; although his career in India runs parallel to that of Porcher des Oulches, of the two he is the more prominent one and holds the highest offices. His name appears repeatedly in the official documents of the French Company.82 He was born at Montpellier, circa 1695, came to India in 1729,83 and stayed there until his death at Pondicherry, on 29 July 1760. He served at Mahe, was a member of the council at Chandernagore, and was called to Pondicherry in 1742. His duties at Pondicherry were twice interrupted in later years: in 1748 he was appointed governor of Madras, and in 1753-54 he preceded Porcher as commander of Karikal. He rose to the rank of "second du Conseil Superieur," and in the short period in 1755, between the departure of Godeheu and the arrival of de Leyrit, Barthelemy's name appears first on all official documents. It should perhaps be mentioned, first, that on 22 February 1751 Barthelemy represented the father of the bride at the wedding of Jacques Law -- Dupleix was the witness for the bridegroom --, and second, that on 8 August 1758 he was godfather of Jacques Louis Law. These two entries seem to suggest that he was indeed close to the Law family, whose interpreter has been given credit for the translation of the EzV (see p. 28). It should also be pointed out that Barthelemy died more than half a year after Maudave -- and the EzV -- reached Lorient on 2 February 1760.84

The Company failed to found a successful colony on Madagascar, but was able to establish ports on the nearby islands of Bourbon and Île-de-France (today's Réunion and Mauritius). By 1719, it had established itself in India, but the firm was near bankruptcy. In the same year the Compagnie des Indes Orientales was combined under the direction of John Law with other French trading companies to form the Compagnie Perpétuelle des Indes [The Mississippi Company].
Lauriston Castle from the south

Law was born into a family of Lowland Scots bankers and goldsmiths from Fife; his father, William, had purchased Lauriston Castle, a landed estate at Cramond on the Firth of Forth and was known as Law of Lauriston. On leaving the High School of Edinburgh, Law joined the family business at the age of 14 and studied the banking business until his father died in 1688.

-- John Law (Economist), by Wikipedia

The reorganized corporation resumed its operating independence in 1723.

-- French East India Company, by Wikipedia

Jacques Alexandre Bernard Law, marquis de Lauriston
Birthdate: 1 February 1768
Death: 12 June 1828)
French soldier and diplomat of Scottish descent, and a general officer in the French Army during the Napoleonic Wars. He was born in Pondicherry in French India, where his father, Jean Law de Lauriston, was Governor-General. Jean Law de Lauriston was a nephew of the financier John Law. Jacques’ mother was a member of the Carvallho family of Portuguese traders.Lauriston Castle, in Scotland, was inherited by John Law in 1729. Lauriston is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe.

Jacques Louis Law de Clapernon
Birthdate: 1758
Immediate Family:
Son of: Jacques François Law, comte de Tancarville and Maria de Carvalho
Husband of: Louise Law de Clapernon
Father: of Joseph Amédée Geneviève Saint Caprais Law de Clapernon

Jacques François Law
French: Jacques-Francois Law, Compte de Tancarville
Birthdate: 1724
Death: 1767 (42-43), Mauritius
Immediate Family: Son of William Law of Lauriston and Rebecca Desves de Percy
Husband of Maria de Carvalho
Father of Jacques Louis Law de Clapernon
Brother of Jean Law, baron de Lauriston; Jeanne Marie Law and Elisabeth Jeanne Law

Baron Jean Law de Lauriston
Birthdate: October 5, 1719
Death: July 16, 1797
Twice Governor General of Pondicherry. Law was a nephew of the financier John Law, who had founded the Banque Générale and in 1719 had helped re-finance the French Indies companies. Jean Law was a contemporary of Alivardi Khan. Jean Law’s son was soldier and diplomat Jacques Lauriston.

William Law of Lauriston
Birthdate: 1675
Death: 1752 (76-77)
Immediate Family: Son of William Law of Brunton, Baron of Lauriston and Jean Campbell
Husband of Rebecca Desves de Percy
Father of Jean Law, baron de Lauriston; Jeanne Marie Law; Jacques François Law, comte de Tancarville and Elisabeth Jeanne Law
Brother of John Law de Lauriston; Andrew Law of Lauriston and Jean Law of Lauriston

William Law of Brunton, Baron of Lauriston
Birthdate: estimated between 1608 and 1668
Death: September 1684, Paris, France
Immediate Family: Son of Reverend Mr. John Law of Waterfoot, Minister of the Gospel at Neilston and Agnes Shearer; Husband of Jean Campbell; Father of John Law de Lauriston; Andrew Law of Lauriston; William Law of Lauriston and Jean Law of Lauriston
Brother of John Law, goldsmith

A New Manuscript: BN Fonds Francais 19117

In the meanwhile, no one seems to have noticed the existence, in the Bibliotheque Nationale, of a third manuscript of the EzV. The catalogue: Ancien Saint-Germain Francais III. Nos. 18677-20064 du Fonds Francais (by L Auvray and H. Omont, Paris: Leroux, 1900), has the following entry: "19117, 'Zozur Bedo'; traduction francaise du YADJOUR VEDA,4c livre des Vedas. En huit livres. XVIIe-XVIIIe. Papier. ) 58 pages. 208 sur 205 millimetres. Cartonne. (Saint-Germain, Harlay 515.)." This is, indeed, another copy of the EzV, in eight books.

The manuscripts of the Harlay family were donated, by Achille IV de Harlay (died 23 July 1717) to Louis-Germain de Chauvelin (1685-1762), on 11 August 1716.85 The condition attached to the donation said that the manuscripts should stay with de Chauvelin and his male descendants until one of them died without further male descendants "revetus de charge de judicature." [Google translate: load bearing judicature.] At that time the manuscripts were to become the property of the Benedictines of the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Chauvelin not only allowed the members of the Order to use the materials while he still held the usufruct; he also enriched the collection with documents which were his own full property.86 On 19 March 1755 he decided to transfer the collection to Saint-Germain, together with those manuscripts of which he himself was the owner.87 The manuscripts were transferred from the castle of Grosbois to the abbey. They remained a special fund while deposited there, until they were transferred, together with the other manuscripts of Saint-Germain, to the Bibliotheque Nationale, in 1865.88 There the entire collection was integrated into the "Troisieme Serie" of the Fonds Francais: manuscripts 15370 to 20064.89

These data do not entirely solve the problem of the origin of the third EzV manuscript. The donation of 11 August 1716 was accompanied by a catalogue which is, however, lost, with the result that it is no longer possible to ascertain which particular manuscripts were added to the collection by de Chauvelin.90 We can only presume that the EzV did not belong to the original collection of 1716, and that it was one of the latest additions; it is no. 515 in a collection of altogether 519 items. But, even then, the third EzV manuscript must have belonged to the collection by 1755, five years before Maudave brought his copy to Europe.

The principal problem that remains unsolved in all this is that in two handwritten catalogues at the Bibliotheque Nationale, manuscript "Harlay 515" is described as "Melanges cont. 110. pieces": in the "Catalogue des manuscrits de Monsieur** [Chauvelin]",91 and in the "Catalogue des mss. de la bibliotheque de feu Mre Achilles de Harlay, premier president du Parlement de Paris, passes depuis dans la bibliotheque de feu messire Louis- Germain Chauvelin, ancien garde des sceaux, et actuellement dans la bibliotheque de l'abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Pres, a Paris, 1762."92 [Google translate: Catalog of mss. of the library of the late Mre Achilles de Harlay, first Speaker of Parliament of Paris, since passed in the library of the late Messire Louis-Germain Chauvelin, former Keeper of the Seals, and currently in the library of the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, in Paris, 1762.]

Even assuming that the EzV manuscript did belong to the private collection of Louis-Germain de Chauvelin on 19 March 1755, it is no longer possible to investigate how and when he acquired it. The important fact is that it is the oldest EzV manuscript in Europe, even though no one ever took notice of it. It also shows that the terminus ante quem [Google translate: term before he] for the composition of the EzV, which until now was 1759 -- the time when Maudave left India --, has to be advanced with at least five years and possibly by more than that.

The new manuscript further complicates the problem of the original title of the French text. As I said earlier, the title in the manuscript is "Zozur Bedo." Yet, on two occasions on which the title is mentioned in the body of the text (pp. 214, 215), the scribe writes "leZourvedan" This seems to suggest that the copyist was familiar with the term "Zozur," but, at the same time, it is a clear indication that his original read "l ezourvedan" or ''l'ezourvedan.''

The Harlay manuscript will play an important role in the new edition of the text.

The Edition

There is no doubt that the three EzV manuscripts: A (= Anquetil), H (= Harlay), and V (= Voltaire), are closely related and derive from the same archetype. This archetype was already a copy, prepared by a scribe who was not familiar with the subject matter. He was especially unfamiliar with the Indian terms used in the text Hence all three manuscripts read: Noudo for Nondo (pp. 152, 153). Nilokouto for Nilokonto (p. 164), Chuelo for Chueto (p. 127). Ouguochino for Ougrocheno (pp. 152, 153) , etc. Were it not for the abbe Dubois93 (1825:2.448; 1906:694), I might not have been able to correct Toulochi, toutona, nasti, otsibo, toulochi, into: Toulochi, toulona nasti oto ebo toulochi (p. 204; Dubois: Tulasi-tulana-nasty, ataeva tulasi).

Of the three manuscripts, A and V are more closely related with one another than they are with H. E.g., p. 117 AV ont en H en ont; p. 157 A V du tout rim H rien du tout. On a number of occasions the better reading is preserved in AV. E.g., p. 126 AV a la tete H est la tete; p. 196 AV enfers H enfants; p. 196 AV Vedan H Divan; p. 198 AV damnes H demons. H also exhibits a number of omissions, which can be easily recognized, either as simple haplographies (e.g.. pp. 109; 195; 203), or because the words are necessary for the context (e.g., pp. 111; 137; 201). Only on a few occasions is it difficult to decide whether we are faced with omissions in H or additions in AV (e.g., pp. 117; 124; 169) . Passages which occur in AV only are printed in brackets.

Elsewhere the better reading appears in H. E.g., p. 150 H faites moy part de AV faites moy de, p. 200 H le tremblement de sa tete ebranle H l'ebranlement de sa tete ebranle. Eventually H is more faithful to its original. E.g., p. 190 AV sous la metamorphose d'un arbre H sous la metamorphose de l'arbre followed by an empty space. This seems to indicate that, in the archetype, either the name of the tree was not indicated, or that it was illegible. Cf. Dubois 1825:2.540 en prenant la forme d'un Vepou [margousier] = 1906:713 a vepu or margosa-tree.

Far more important is the fact, first, that H, like A, is complete, and, second, that it contains numerous shorter and longer passages that are missing in both A and V. This situation becomes particularly evident in the latter half of the text. One gets the impression that the scribe of the sub-archetype of A and V decided to shorten the text, by eliminating unnecessarily verbose and repetitious formulas. E.g., p. 171 H quels sont, Seigneur, ... ou nous vivons?, is reduced. in AV. to quels sont donc ces avantages?

Although in many cases the abbreviated version does not eliminate anything that is essential for the understanding of the text, it is evident that it is H that maintains the style and general atmosphere of the original throughout. In fact, there are indications that AV no longer reproduce the original text. E.g., p. 183. Biache announces "a few questions," but AV have maintained only one: "is there only one soul?"

Too elaborate a critical apparatus would be required to indicate the numerous passages -- both pure omissions and abbreviated circumlocutions -- in which AV differ from H.

For all these reasons, and except in cases in which A and V obviously preserve the better reading, the edition is based on H. The text will, therefore, be very different from Sainte-Croix'.

Punctuation, accentuation, and spelling of words generally are inconsistent in all three manuscripts, as they generally were in the 18th century. As far as possible, the edition follows H.

H -- and, hence, the edition --- uses "Ezour Vedan," as against "Ezourvedam" in A and V. Elsewhere in this volume I have maintained the latter spelling, for it is in this way that the text became known in Europe, and it is in this way that it has been referred to ever since.

For the same reason another inconsistency has been allowed. The two interlocutors of the EzV became known as "Biache" and "Chumontou." H consistently writes "Biach" and "Chumantou."

H has fewer chapter titles than A and V. It often adds headings in the margin, which, however, do not always correspond to the titles in A and V. The edition omits these marginal notes, but reproduces the titles in H.

The edition also follows H, rather than AV. in case of variants which, for all practical reasons, are identical. E.g., p. 125 AV je serois curieux de scavoir la priere qu'on luy addresse H quelle est fa priere qu'il lui adresse. Je serois curieux de la scavoir? This principle is applied even in cases where it is not clear whether AV actually preserve the original reading, or whether they have tried to improve on it. E.g., p. 111 AV qui n'aime que la verite et qui NE LIT que le vedan; p. 125 AV a regler sa maison a GOUVERNER son pais; hesitantly, p. 129 AV danseuses H danseurs.

Indian names create problems of their own. I have already indicated that the copyist of the archetype wrote nonsense words, which appear identically in the three manuscripts. In addition, the individual scribes have created numerous nonsense terms of their own. In all these cases the edition is based on the premise that at least the author of the French EzV knew the names and terms he used, and that it is therefore appropriate to restore Indian terms to the spelling which the original author may be presumed to have used. When AV and H display different but acceptable readings, the edition follows H. I have already referred to "Biache"/"Biach" and "Chumontou"/"Chumantou." Other examples: AV "Lingam" H "Linguam", A V "Chvarguam" H "Chuarguam", etc.

The edition makes yet another assumption, namely that in the original text Indian terms were spelled in a uniform fashion. This may not have been the case, but it would again not be possible to provide all relevant data without extensive critical notes. Instead, variants will be added in the Index of Indian terms. The sole exceptions to this assumption are "Chako" /"Choko" and "Chojonboumounou" /"Chuajanbou Mounou", which obviously reflect different pronunciations.



62. On Maudave generally, see B. Foury: Maudave et la colonisation de Madagascar, Paris: Societe de l'histoire des colonies francaises, 1956.

63. In the Actes de l'Etat Civil of Pondicherry for 19 April 1760, on the occasion of the birth of his daughter Louise Marie Victoire Henriette, his name appears as Henri Louis Laurent Dolizy de Maudave (Resume des Actes d l'Etat Civil de Pondichery de 1736 a 1760, ed. A. Martineau, Pondicherry: Socieste de l'histoire de l'Inde Francaise, 1919-20). Fourty (op. cit., p. 6n2) notes that, in official reports, the form "Modave" occurs more frequently than "Maudave." A Toussaint (Dictionnaire de biographie Mauricienne, Port-Louis: The Standard Printing Establishment, 1941-66, p. 462) uses the form "Faidherbe."

64. E. Guillon: "Port-Mahon. La France a Minorque sous Louis XV (1756-1763," in Nouvelles archives des missions scientifiques et litteraires 5, 1893, 265-382, especially 336-7.

65. H. de Closets d'Errey: Resume des lettres du Conseil Superieur de Pondichery a divers. Du 1er Aout 1725 au 31 Decembre 1742 et du 8 Decembre 1749 au 14 Novembre 1760, Pondicherry-Paris: Leroux, 1933, p. 174.

66. F.A. Aubert de la Chenaye-Desbois et Badier: Dictionnaire de la Noblesse, 3rd ed., Paris: Schlesinger, vol. 7, 1865, p. 884, wrongly calls her Catherine.

67. Henri Pouget de St. Andre: La colonisation de Madagascar sous Louis XV d'apres la correspondance inedite du Comte de Maudave, Paris: Librairie coloniale, 1886, p. 5, uses the variant "Porcher de Soulches."

68. Maudave's name appears twice in The DIary of Ananda Ranga Pillai, vol. 11, Madras: Government Press, 1927, p. 283, under the date of 27 January 1759. Both entries refer to military maneuvers, under Lally.

69. Now manuscript No. 575 at the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, in Paris.

70. On this period in Maudave's life, see S.C. Hill: Yusuf Khan. The Rebel Commandant, London: Longmans Green, 1914, passim.

71. See E. Daubigny: Choiseul et la France d'Outre-Mer apres le traite de Paris. Etude sur la politique coloniale au XVIIIe siecle, Paris: Hachette, 1892, pp. 130-47.

72. S.P. Sen: The French in India 1763-1816, Calcutta: Mukhopadhyay, 1958, p. 143. See there, the chapter on Maudave, pp. 143-9. Sen erroneously states (143) that Maudave "first came to India in 1773."

73. E. Gaudart: Catalogue des manuscrits des anciennes archives d l'Inde Francaise. Vol. 6: Yanaon, Mazulipatam et diverses localities, 1669-1793, Paris: Leroux, 1935, p. 42, No. 5180.

74. Gaudart: Catalogue, Vol. 1: Pondichery, 1690-1789, Paris: Leroux, 1922, p. 83, No. 288, quotes a letter from Bellecombe and Chevreau in Pondicherry to perrichon who was then administering the settlement of Masulipatam: the way in which the English treated Maudave "was dishonest but ... we have nothing to say in the matter." On the ambivalent power structure at Masulipatam at that time, see S.P. Sen: op. cit., pp. 110-1.

75. Guillon: op. cit., p. 336.

76. Ibid., pp. 336-7.

77. Foury: op. cit., p. 11.

78. I have attempted to reconstruct Porcher's career in India from the various publications of the Societe pour l'histoire de l'Inde Francaise. The following data are based on circa thirty entries which need not be listed here in detail.

79. De La Flotte: Essais historiques sur l'Inde, precedes d'un Journal de Voyages et d'une description geographique de la cote de Coromandel, Paris: Herissant, 1769, p. 167 n. a.

80. Foury (op cit., pp. 120-1) also mentions that this manuscript was brought back by Maudave, and that it was deposited in the King's Library. And he continues (121n1): "Perhaps this book on morals should be connected with the Sanskrit manuscript which Maudave proposes to send to Voltaire (cf. MS No. 1765 of the Museum) and with a note inserted in the Fragments sur l'Inde: "The man who wrote these memoirs has sent to the King's library the Cormovedam, and an old commentary on the Vedas. It is filled with predictions for every day of the year, and of religious principles for every hour.'" (See Fragments sur l'Inde, 1773, p. 44; Fragments on India, translated by Freda Bedi, Lahore: Contemporary India Publication, 1937, p. 25.) I hesitate to subscribe to Foury's conclusion because, although informants are mentioned in the Fragments sur l'Inde, Maudave is not one of them. Foury has a tendency to overrate Maudave's influence on Voltaire. For instance, "Maudave has played the role of informant for Voltaire in 1758 and 1759" (121n); in reality they did not meet before the end of 1760.

81. Castet's statement (1935:1) on the origin of the EzV is thoroughly confused: "In 1760 a superior officer of the East India Company, Mr. de Modave, returned to France from Pondicherry, and brought with him two French translations of an unknown text called Ezour Vedam. Mr. de Modave had found these manuscripts in the papers of his father-in-law, Mr. Barthelemy, second of the Conseil Supreme of Pondicherry, who died in that town in the same year. One of the translations was handed to Voltaire, whereas the other was deposited at the royal library." See also Lamalle 1937:179-80.

82. To reconstruct Barthelemy's career I have consulted the same range of source materials which I used earlier for Porcher des Oulches. See note 78.

83. I borrow this date from Castets who quotes (1935:1) a long passage from Gaudart, probably from the Catalogue de quelques documents des archives de Pondichery (1931), which I have not been able to consult. "He was a modest administrator, without ambition but extremely honest ... He retired in 1759 and, at the time of his death, left a considerable fortune. When the inventory of his succession was made, his widow, at her own request, made to the notary the following statement which reveals the feelings of true philanthropy that animated her husband: 'that she does not have a single slave of either sex, since her late husband had broken the seal of slavery whenever he acquired a slave.'"

84. Therefore, Castets (1921:578): "a copy of this text had next been brought from India, probably after M. Barthelemy's death, by another Pondicherry official, M. de Moldave," is wrong.

85. Leopold Delisle: Le cabinet des manuscrits de la Bibliotheque Nationale, 3 vols. Vol. 2, Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1874, p. 101.

86. Ibid., p. 47.

87. Ibid., p. 103.

88. Ibid., p. 51.

89. Ibid., p. 329.

90. Ibid., p. 101.

91. Henri Omont: Catalogue general des manuscrits francais. Nouvelles acquisitions francaises II. N05 3061-6500, Paris: Leroux, 1900, p. 48, No. 5744.

92. Ibid., p. 86, No. 5746.

93. We have seen earlier (see p. 44) that the abbe Jean Antoine Dubois had his own opinion on the composition of the EzV. I noted only recently that long passages in the EzV correspond to Dubois' text. These correspondences, even in Dubois' French version, are never verbatim, but too close to be accidental. The problem of Dubois' sources or the common source of Dubois and the EzV remains to be solved. References in this section -- and in the Index of Indian terms -- are to: Moeurs, institituions et ceremonies des peuples de l'Inde, 2 vols., Paris: 1825; and Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies, transl. Henry K. Beauchamp, 3rd ed., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1906 (often reprinted).
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Sat Sep 26, 2020 11:02 am

Achille de Harlay
by Wikipedia France
Accessed: 9/26/20

A New Manuscript: BN Fonds Francais 19117

In the meanwhile, no one seems to have noticed the existence, in the Bibliotheque Nationale, of a third manuscript of the EzV. The catalogue: Ancien Saint-Germain Francais III. Nos. 18677-20064 du Fonds Francais (by L Auvray and H. Omont, Paris: Leroux, 1900), has the following entry: "19117, 'Zozur Bedo'; traduction francaise du YADJOUR VEDA,4c livre des Vedas. En huit livres. XVIIe-XVIIIe. Papier. ) 58 pages. 208 sur 205 millimetres. Cartonne. (Saint-Germain, Harlay 515.)." This is, indeed, another copy of the EzV, in eight books.

The manuscripts of the Harlay family were donated, by Achille IV de Harlay (died 23 July 1717) to Louis-Germain de Chauvelin (1685-1762), on 11 August 1716.85 The condition attached to the donation said that the manuscripts should stay with de Chauvelin and his male descendants until one of them died without further male descendants "revetus de charge de judicature." [Google translate: load bearing judicature.] At that time the manuscripts were to become the property of the Benedictines of the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Chauvelin not only allowed the members of the Order to use the materials while he still held the usufruct; he also enriched the collection with documents which were his own full property.86 On 19 March 1755 he decided to transfer the collection to Saint-Germain, together with those manuscripts of which he himself was the owner.87 The manuscripts were transferred from the castle of Grosbois to the abbey. They remained a special fund while deposited there, until they were transferred, together with the other manuscripts of Saint-Germain, to the Bibliotheque Nationale, in 1865.88 There the entire collection was integrated into the "Troisieme Serie" of the Fonds Francais: manuscripts 15370 to 20064.89

These data do not entirely solve the problem of the origin of the third EzV manuscript. The donation of 11 August 1716 was accompanied by a catalogue which is, however, lost, with the result that it is no longer possible to ascertain which particular manuscripts were added to the collection by de Chauvelin.90 We can only presume that the EzV did not belong to the original collection of 1716, and that it was one of the latest additions; it is no. 515 in a collection of altogether 519 items. But, even then, the third EzV manuscript must have belonged to the collection by 1755, five years before Maudave brought his copy to Europe.

The principal problem that remains unsolved in all this is that in two handwritten catalogues at the Bibliotheque Nationale, manuscript "Harlay 515" is described as "Melanges cont. 110. pieces": in the "Catalogue des manuscrits de Monsieur** [Chauvelin]",91 and in the "Catalogue des mss. de la bibliotheque de feu Mre Achilles de Harlay, premier president du Parlement de Paris, passes depuis dans la bibliotheque de feu messire Louis- Germain Chauvelin, ancien garde des sceaux, et actuellement dans la bibliotheque de l'abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Pres, a Paris, 1762."92 [Google translate: Catalog of mss. of the library of the late Mre Achilles de Harlay, first Speaker of Parliament of Paris, since passed in the library of the late Messire Louis-Germain Chauvelin, former Keeper of the Seals, and currently in the library of the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, in Paris, 1762.]

Even assuming that the EzV manuscript did belong to the private collection of Louis-Germain de Chauvelin on 19 March 1755, it is no longer possible to investigate how and when he acquired it. The important fact is that it is the oldest EzV manuscript in Europe, even though no one ever took notice of it. It also shows that the terminus ante quem [Google translate: term before he] for the composition of the EzV, which until now was 1759 -- the time when Maudave left India --, has to be advanced with at least five years and possibly by more than that.

The new manuscript further complicates the problem of the original title of the French text. As I said earlier, the title in the manuscript is "Zozur Bedo." Yet, on two occasions on which the title is mentioned in the body of the text (pp. 214, 215), the scribe writes "leZourvedan" This seems to suggest that the copyist was familiar with the term "Zozur," but, at the same time, it is a clear indication that his original read "l ezourvedan" or ''l'ezourvedan.''

The Harlay manuscript will play an important role in the new edition of the text.

-- Ezourvedam: A French Veda of the Eighteenth Century, Edited with an Introduction by Ludo Rocher

Achille de Harlay
Achille de Harlay, in Charles Perrault, "Des hommes illustres who appeared in France during this century" (1700)
Functions: Attorney General at the Parliament of Paris; First President of the Parliament of Paris
Titles of nobility: Count of Beaumont
Birth: March 7, 1536, Paris
Death: 23 October 1616 (at 80), Paris
Nationality: Kingdom of France Kingdom of France
Activity: Politician
Dad: Christophe de Harlay, Lord of Beaumont
Mother: Catherine Du Val
Spouse: Catherine de Thou
Child: Christopher II of Harlay
Other information
Owner of: Place Dauphine
Place Dauphine under the reign of Henri IV, by Chastillon. Claude Chastillon - Drawn from the French Topography or representations of several towns, villages, chasteaux, plans, fortresses, vestiges of antiquity, modern houses and others of the kingdom of France, Boisseau, Paris, 1655
Master: Louis Duret
Primary works: "Custom of Orleans", in 1583

Several Achilles Harlay held prominent seats of judges in Parliament of Paris in the late xvith century to the early xviith century1.

Achilles Ist Harlay

Achilles Ist Harlay is a magistrate French, born in Paris on March 7, 1536 and dead the 23 October 1616, first president of the Parliament of Paris from 1582 to 1611.

Son of Christophe de Harlay, Lord of Beaumont (now a commune of Beaumont-du-Gâtinais), president with mortar of the Parliament of Paris, and of Catherine Du Val.

Under the Old French Regime, mortar presidents are chamber presidents within parliaments.

Each parliament was chaired by a “first president” appointed by the king and was divided into several chambers (civil chamber, penal chamber, commercial chamber, chamber of maritime commerce, etc.). The most prestigious of these rooms is called the “Grand Chambre”.

The president who presides over it is the Mortar President, named after the “mortier” (a black velvet cap edged with gold).

A toque (/toʊk/[1] or /tɒk/) is a type of hat with a narrow brim or no brim at all. Toques were popular from the 13th to the 16th century in Europe, especially France....


• A toque, or sometimes touge, was the traditional headgear of various French magistrates.
• A low type in black velvet, called mortier (also rendered in English as mortarboard), was used by the président à mortier, president of a parlement (the royal highest court in a French province), and of the members of two of the highest central courts, cour de cassation and cour des comptes.
Andrea Mantegna: Ludovico III Gonzaga (detail from the frescoes of the Camera degli Sposi, 1465–74).

The square academic cap, graduate cap, cap, mortarboard (because of its similarity in appearance to the mortarboard used by brickmasons to hold mortar) or Oxford cap, is an item of academic dress consisting of a horizontal square board fixed upon a skull-cap, with a tassel attached to the centre.
In the UK and the US, it is commonly referred to informally in conjunction with an academic gown as a "cap and gown". It is also sometimes termed a square, trencher, or corner-cap. The adjective academical is also used....

The mortarboard is generally believed by scholars to have developed from the biretta, a similar-looking hat worn by Roman Catholic (and High Church Anglican) clergy. The biretta itself may have been a development of the Roman pileus quadratus, a type of skullcap with superposed square and tump (meaning small mound). A reinvention of this type of cap is known as the Bishop Andrewes cap. The Italian biretta is a word derived from the Medieval Latin birretum from the Late Latin birrus "large hooded cloak", which is perhaps of Gaulish origin, or from Ancient Greek πυρρός pyrrhos "flame-colored, yellow".

The cone-shaped red (seldom in black) biretta, related to the ancient Etruscan tutulus and the Roman pileus, was used in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries to identify humanists, students, artists, and learned and blooming youth in general. The shape and the colour conveyed meaning: Red was considered for a long time the royal power, whether because it was difficult to afford vestments of such solid and brilliant dye or because the high symbolic meaning of blood and life, thus the power over life and death.

It is no accident that the capo (captain) headwear is found so often in Renaissance paintings: for example the highly famous one by Piero della Francesca of Federico da Montefeltro with his red cap. Campano wrote about these hats in his Life of Niccolò Fortebraccio, "he used to wear a red and high hat, the higher from the head the wider it became." Federico and Niccolò were Condottieri. The same cap is seen on Bartolomeo Colleoni, commander of the Venetian Armies in 1454, on the Duke Ludovico III Gonzaga and on John Hawkwood in his equestrian monument by Paolo Uccello. This cap as worn by the leading Italian nobles at the end of the fifteenth century became a symbol of their military and civil powers over Italian cities at a time when the whole of Europe was going to be deeply transformed by Italian influences.

-- Square academic cap, by Wikipedia

• A red toque is sometimes worn by German judges, primarily by justices on the Federal Constitutional Court.

-- Toque, by Wikipedia

The Universal Dictionary of Furetiere accurate at time of Louis XIV, there are ten presidents mortar to the Parliament of Paris, including the first President1.

The office of president with mortar is marketable, that is to say freely purchasable and transferable, under the condition of paying a transfer tax to the sovereign.However, to actually exercise the office, one must be approved by parliament in the form of a legal review. The office is therefore theoretically reserved for the holder of university degrees in law. The office confers, at the end of twenty years of exercise, hereditary nobility, but the system of heredity means that it is exercised, most often, only by people who are already noble.

In contemporary judicial justice, the equivalent of this function within the courts of appeal is that of “First president of the chamber”3.

-- Mortar chair, by Wikipedia

In 1558, he became adviser to the Parliament of Paris.

On May 30, 1568, he married Catherine de Thou, daughter of the first president Christophe de Thou, with whom he had a son, Christophe II de Harlay.

Christophe de Thou (or Christofle at the time) is a French magistrate born in Paris on October 28, 1508 1, died in Pontorson on 1st November 1582, first president of the Parliament of Paris from December 14, 1562 to his death.

Christophe de Thou, first president of the Parliament of Paris. Print by the engraver Léonard Gaultier, Pourtraictz of several illustrious men who have flory in France since the year 1500 until now.

Christophe de Thou was the son of Augustin de Thou, Lord of Bonneuil and of Villebon, president with mortar of the Parliament of Paris
2, died on March 6, 1554, and of Claude de Marle de Versigny (daughter of Jean de Marle, Lord of Versigny, and Anne du Drac). The couple [WIFE!] had 21 children, 14 of whom died in infancy.

-- Christophe de Thou, by Wikipedia

In 1572, he resumed his father's office as president with mortar in Parliament, which the latter had resigned on August 30, 1572. On the death of his father-in-law Christophe de Thou in 1582, Henri III appointed him the first president of the Parliament of Paris.

Statue of Achilles de Harlay on the facade of the Hôtel de Ville in Paris by Martial Thabard

He has remained famous for the firmness he showed during the Eighth Religious War on May 12, 1588 facing Duke Henri de Guise during the Day of the Barricades in Paris, in an unsuccessful attempt to restore order for the benefit of King Henry III. He replied to the Duke de Guise: "It is great pity when the valet drives out the master. Besides, my soul belongs to God, my heart belongs to my king, and my body is in the hands of the wicked, let them do what they want!"2. Embastellated by the leaguers and replaced by Barnabé Brisson as first president, he returned to his duties with the accession of Henri IV.

Chamfort attributed to him this caustic remark launched at Parliament: "If these gentlemen who talk did not make more noise than these gentlemen who sleep, that would greatly accommodate these gentlemen who listen"3.

In 1598, Achille Ist Harlay buys two-thirds of the property of the Abbey of Saint-Denis in Beaune-la-Rolande with its jurisdiction rights for 16,666 crowns.

Defending the Church and its affiliates was a high priority for the king, who initiated numerous acts of royal intervention against the nobles and local royal officials in his efforts to retain ecclesiastical support. First, Louis VI guarded the clergymen from local lords, who often stole property from monasteries and churches. He later defended the abbeys and priories from the financial burdens of heavy taxes imposed by royal officials. The king was so adamant about maintaining the security of the monasteries that he destroyed the fortifications of a traditional royal supporter, Burchard of Montmorency, who had refused to accept the decision of the royal court in a case of dispute with the Abbey of Saint-Denis...

The Church often offered political support to the king through its ecclesiastical authority. In politics, “archbishops and bishops from northern and north-eastern sees were among the Capetians’ most important supporters” because of the crown’s ability to protect them.89 High-ranking church officials supported the monarch by applying ecclesiastical pressure on the opposing castellans.90 Abbot Suger described how the clergy met at a council in Beauvais to renounce Thomas of Marle as a noble through the means of an anathema supported by a papal legate.91 Church officials had excommunicated another local lord named Leo before he died along with his men during the siege of his castle, Meung-sur-Loire, in 1103.92 Hugh Balver of Laversine received excommunication for his hostile acts towards a town under the ownership of the Abbey of Saint-Denis.93 A dispute arose between the king and Hugh Le Puiset in 1111, and a royal charter described the conflict as a “feudal and ecclesiastic coalition against Hugh Le Puiset.”94 This display of ecclesiastical assistance demonstrates the willingness of the Church to support the king against insubordinate nobles, especially those who had threatened the interests of the monasteries....

Learning from his earlier mistake, Louis VI was later careful to justify his acts of warfare against the nobles through legal means. One of the first nobles the French monarch challenged was Burchard of Montmorency, who had attacked the lands of the Abbey of Saint-Denis. Before advancing against Burchard and his allies, Louis VI called the baron to his court to stand trial for his actions. On another occasion, the king fought Mathew of Beaumont for improperly seizing the castle of Luzarches from his father-in-law. The king advanced against Beaumont only after the Baron had not presented himself at the king’s court upon royal command. Even the monarch’s half-brother, Philip, was not exempt. After granting two castles to Philip, the king summoned him to court to answer claims that he had mistreated the poor. In 1109, Louis VI called Haimo of Berry to court for a case involving the absconding baron in an inheritance suit. Military forces, led personally by the king, captured Haimo in Berry, brought him to trial, and finished the inheritance case.111...

Another suit occurred between Hugh Le Puiset and Abbot Bernier of Saint Florentin in Bonneval. Here, the baron forced multiple payments of gîte on the abbey for its lands of Baignolet, and the king ruled in favor of the Church again, declaring that Puiset could ask for the gîte only once a year.126 Earlier in the reign, Louis VI had sent word to all of the ecclesiastical and lay barons in the domain “that he concedes to the abbey of Saint-Denis a market at Touri (on Beauce), and abolishes the oppressive customs established on the land of this abbey by the seigneurs of Puiset.”127 For the second time, the king forced Hugh Le Puiset to abandon his claims to unjust customs publicly.128 These examples show that the nobility were no longer completely disregarding royal commands and court decisions. The king’s military campaigns contrasted with Philip I’s lack of enthusiasm towards the end of his reign. If the castellans did not adhere to royal orders, they at least had to weigh the gains and losses of potential retaliation for their insubordination. Lords began to understand that ignoring the crown now presented the possibility of military attacks from the throne.

-- The Consolidation of Local Authority Through the Defense of the church in the Royal Domain of France Under Louis VI (1101-1137), by Paul Westley Bush

In 1607, Achille Ist Harlay receives the privilege to develop the Place Dauphine in Paris, by concession of King4.

It was he who judged Ravaillac in 1610.

François Ravaillac is a French regicide born in 1577 in Angoulême and executed on May 27, 1610 in Place de Grève in Paris, for the assassination of Henri IV, King of France, on May 14, 1610.

A tormented spirit, brought up in hatred of the Huguenots, he was subject to frequent mystical visions in the years preceding his crime. During his trial he claims to have acted alone, accomplishing a divine mission. The members of his family suffer the consequences of his act....

He was sentenced to death by the Parliament of Paris 18 after a ten-day trial which concluded with the isolated act of a Catholic fanatic17. During his trial, he presented his act as a divine mission19 and claimed to have acted alone. Subject to issue four times20, he led the May 27 Place de Grève where he was quartered after long hours of torture. Its members reduced to ashes are thrown to the wind while the hysterical crowd disperses the rest of his body21...

The family's property is seized, his house in Angoulême is razed, with a ban on using the land for building. Regicide of siblings are forced to change their name on pain of death18.

His parents are forced into exile. They settled in the small isolated hamlet of Rosnay, currently located in the commune of Lavigny in Franche-Comté. As Franche-Comté was then part of the Holy Roman Empire, they thus escaped threats. The name of Ravaillac is gradually transformed into Ravaillard and Ravoyard4.

-- Francois Ravaillac, by Wikipedia

He resigned his charge on March 29, 1611 during the investigation of the Escoman affair: in 1611, charges were brought against the Duke of Épernon, Jean-Louis Nogaret of La Valette, concerning his involvement in the assassination of King Henry IV. The accuser, Mademoiselle Jacqueline d'Escoman5, companion of the Marquise de Verneuil, implicates her mistress and accuses her of having organized the assassination with the help of Épernon. A trial conducted by a tribunal whose Achilles Ist Harlay is first president, hears the witnesses, including Verneuil and Épernon. The first (and only) arrested taken by the court is ultimately the continued detention of Mademoiselle d'Escoman. Fifteen days after the arrest, Harlay is retiring. On July 30, his successor sentences Escoman to life imprisonment for slander6.

The street Harlay, which limits the Paris courthouse west, was named in his honor. A statue of Achilles Ist Harlay is located on one of the facades of the City Hall of Paris7.

His descendants: a dynasty of magistrates in the Paris Parliament

• Achilles I st Harlay (1536-1616)
• His son, Christophe II de Harlay (born around 1570, died in 1615), Count of Beaumont, was advisor, then president of the Parliament of Paris (in 1582) and ambassador to England from 1602 to 1607. He married on June 3, 1599 Anne Rabot, lady of Illins and Hautefort.
o Their son, Achille II de Harlay, born in 1606, died on June 7, 1671, was count of Beaumont, adviser to the Parliament of Paris (1628-1635), master of requests (1635-1661), councilor of state. He married on October 18, 1638 Jeanne-Marie de Bellièvre (died on March 19, 1657 at the age of 40), daughter of Nicolas de Bellièvre, Lord of Grignon and mortar president of the Parliament of Paris.
 Their son, Achille III de Harlay, born on1st August 1639, died July 23, 1712, Count of Beaumont, Lord of Grosbois, was King's Counsel to Parliament (1657-1667) then Attorney General (1667-1689) and finally First President of the Parliament of Paris8. He married on September 12, 1667 Anne-Madeleine de Lamoignon, daughter of Guillaume Ier de Lamoignon, who was also First President of the Parliament of Paris4.
 Their son, Achille IV de Harlay, born on July 11, 1668, died July 23, 1717 9, Count of Beaumont, Marquis de Bréval, Counselor in Parliament (1689), Advocate General (1691), Counselor of State (1697). This is a small-son-great Achilles Ist Harlay2 . He got married on February 2, 1693 with Louise Renée de Louët (c. 1672-1749 10), only daughter of Robert-Louis du Louët, marquis de Coëtjunval (in Ploudaniel), dean of the Parliament of Brittany and Renée Le Borgne de Lesquiffiou, owner of the castle of Lesquivit in Dirinon.
 Their only daughter, Louise-Madeleine de Harlay, born in 1694, died on September 7, 1749 11, married on September 7, 1711 Christian-Louis de Montmorency-Luxembourg, (born on February 9, 1675, died 23 November 1746 in Paris), Duke and Prince of Tingry, Lieutenant-General of the Armies of the King and of the Province of Flanders, Marshal of France4. At least six children are born from their union.

But by the death of the Maréchale de Montmorency in September 1749, "the elder branch of the House of Harlay, known as the Counts of Beaumont, and all this House [...] is reduced to a single person, who is Madame la President of Crevecœur, daughter of the late Mr. Harlay de Celly, State Councilor and granddaughter of Mr. Chancellor Boucherat."11


The Harlay family papers are kept in the National Archives under the number 394AP 12.

Notes and references

1. Julien Broch, "A conservative judicial body of the State: Parliament in the speeches of the First President Achille Ier de Harlay (1536-1611)", Justice et Etat, Proceedings of the AFHIP international conference (Aix-en-Provence, September 12 and 13, 2013), 2014, p. 85-107 (ISBN 978-2-7314-0956-7)
2. "Encyclopedia of the People of the World: Universal Directory of Sciences", volume 13, searchable [1] [archive]
3. Characters and Anecdotes, n°1164.
4. [2] [archive]
5. Henry IV "Political Assassination" [archive]
6. Files on Henry IV and other historical figures of royalty [archive]
7. [3] [archive]
8. [4]. [archive]
9. He is buried "in the cemetery of Saint-Paul, in Paris, as he had requested". Annals of the Historical & Archaeological Society of Gâtinais, 1911, p. 304.
10. She died at the Bellechasse convent at the age of 77 and was then buried in Beaumont-Du-Gâtinais. Mercure de France, May 1749, p. 229-230. Online. [archive]
11. Mercure de France, October 1749, p. 210-211. Online. [archive]
12. See the notice in the virtual inventory room of the National Archives [archive]



• Achilles de Harlay, first president of the Parliament of Paris, in Charles Perrault, The illustrious men who appeared in France during this century, at Antoine Dezallier, 1700, volume 2, p. 51-52 (read online) [archive]

External links

• Authority records :
o Virtual international authority file
o International Standard Name Identifier
o National Library of France ( data )
o University documentation system
o Gemeinsame Normdatei
• data BnF: Achille de Harlay (1536-1616) [ archive ]
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Sat Sep 26, 2020 11:55 am

Germain Louis Chauvelin
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/26/20

A New Manuscript: BN Fonds Francais 19117

In the meanwhile, no one seems to have noticed the existence, in the Bibliotheque Nationale, of a third manuscript of the EzV. The catalogue: Ancien Saint-Germain Francais III. Nos. 18677-20064 du Fonds Francais (by L Auvray and H. Omont, Paris: Leroux, 1900), has the following entry: "19117, 'Zozur Bedo'; traduction francaise du YADJOUR VEDA,4c livre des Vedas. En huit livres. XVIIe-XVIIIe. Papier. ) 58 pages. 208 sur 205 millimetres. Cartonne. (Saint-Germain, Harlay 515.)." This is, indeed, another copy of the EzV, in eight books.

The manuscripts of the Harlay family were donated, by Achille IV de Harlay (died 23 July 1717) to Louis-Germain de Chauvelin (1685-1762), on 11 August 1716.85 The condition attached to the donation said that the manuscripts should stay with de Chauvelin and his male descendants until one of them died without further male descendants "revetus de charge de judicature." [Google translate: load bearing judicature.] At that time the manuscripts were to become the property of the Benedictines of the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Chauvelin not only allowed the members of the Order to use the materials while he still held the usufruct; he also enriched the collection with documents which were his own full property.86 On 19 March 1755 he decided to transfer the collection to Saint-Germain, together with those manuscripts of which he himself was the owner.87 The manuscripts were transferred from the castle of Grosbois to the abbey. They remained a special fund while deposited there, until they were transferred, together with the other manuscripts of Saint-Germain, to the Bibliotheque Nationale, in 1865.88 There the entire collection was integrated into the "Troisieme Serie" of the Fonds Francais: manuscripts 15370 to 20064.89

These data do not entirely solve the problem of the origin of the third EzV manuscript. The donation of 11 August 1716 was accompanied by a catalogue which is, however, lost, with the result that it is no longer possible to ascertain which particular manuscripts were added to the collection by de Chauvelin.90 We can only presume that the EzV did not belong to the original collection of 1716, and that it was one of the latest additions; it is no. 515 in a collection of altogether 519 items. But, even then, the third EzV manuscript must have belonged to the collection by 1755, five years before Maudave brought his copy to Europe.

The principal problem that remains unsolved in all this is that in two handwritten catalogues at the Bibliotheque Nationale, manuscript "Harlay 515" is described as "Melanges cont. 110. pieces": in the "Catalogue des manuscrits de Monsieur** [Chauvelin]",91 and in the "Catalogue des mss. de la bibliotheque de feu Mre Achilles de Harlay, premier president du Parlement de Paris, passes depuis dans la bibliotheque de feu messire Louis- Germain Chauvelin, ancien garde des sceaux, et actuellement dans la bibliotheque de l'abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Pres, a Paris, 1762."92 [Google translate: Catalog of mss. of the library of the late Mre Achilles de Harlay, first Speaker of Parliament of Paris, since passed in the library of the late Messire Louis-Germain Chauvelin, former Keeper of the Seals, and currently in the library of the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, in Paris, 1762.]

Even assuming that the EzV manuscript did belong to the private collection of Louis-Germain de Chauvelin on 19 March 1755, it is no longer possible to investigate how and when he acquired it. The important fact is that it is the oldest EzV manuscript in Europe, even though no one ever took notice of it. It also shows that the terminus ante quem [Google translate: term before he] for the composition of the EzV, which until now was 1759 -- the time when Maudave left India --, has to be advanced with at least five years and possibly by more than that.

The new manuscript further complicates the problem of the original title of the French text. As I said earlier, the title in the manuscript is "Zozur Bedo." Yet, on two occasions on which the title is mentioned in the body of the text (pp. 214, 215), the scribe writes "leZourvedan" This seems to suggest that the copyist was familiar with the term "Zozur," but, at the same time, it is a clear indication that his original read "l ezourvedan" or ''l'ezourvedan.''

The Harlay manuscript will play an important role in the new edition of the text.

-- Ezourvedam: A French Veda of the Eighteenth Century, Edited with an Introduction by Ludo Rocher

Germain Louis Chauvelin. Portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud.

Germain Louis Chauvelin (26 March 1685 – 1 April 1762, Paris), marquis de Grosbois, was a French politician, serving as garde des sceaux [Keeper of the Seals] and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under Louis XV.

The title keeper of the seals or equivalent is used in several contexts, denoting the person entitled to keep and authorize use of the great seal of a given country.

-- Keeper of the Seals, by Wikipedia


Germain Louis Chauvelin came from a family of lawyers to the Parlement de Paris, which had moved to Paris around 1530 and set up home in the place Maubert quarter. In the 17th century, a branch of the family allied itself with the family of chancellor Michel Le Tellier, who took them into his service and into the service of his son Louvois. Germain Louis Chauvelin was the son of one of those who made such an alliance, Louis III Chauvelin, who was intendant in Franche-Comté (1673–1684) and in Picardy (1684–1694), by his wife, Marguerite Billiard.

Michel Le Tellier

Michel Le Tellier, marquis de Barbezieux, seigneur de Chaville et de Viroflay (19 April 1603 – 30 October 1685) was a French statesman.

Le Tellier was born in Paris to a Parisian magistrate and his wife. He entered the public service and became maître des requêtes, (a higher level lawyer, or 'procureur') in 1631 for Louis XIII of France. In 1640 le Tellier was appointed Intendant of Justice for the French military stationed in Piedmont, Italy. In 1643, owing to his friendship with the head French minister Cardinal Jules Mazarin, he became Secretary of State for Military Affairs (known as 'Secretary of State for War' during that era),...

The Minister of the Armed Forces (French: Ministre des armées, lit. 'Minister of the Armies') is the leader and most senior official of the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, tasked with running the French Armed Forces. The minister is the third highest civilian having authority over France's military, behind only the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister. Based on the governments, they may be assisted by a minister or state secretary for veterans' affairs.

The office is considered to be one of the core positions of the Government of France.

-- Minister of the Armed Forces (France), by Wikipedia

and was known as being an efficient administrator. He was active in the troubles associated with the aristocratic Fronde uprising, remaining loyal to Cardinal Mazarin and to the state.

In 1677 he was made Chancellor of France.

In France, under the Ancien Régime, the officer of state responsible for the judiciary was the Grand Chancellor of France (French: Grand Chancelier de France). The Chancellor was responsible for seeing that royal decrees were enrolled and registered by the sundry parlements, provincial appellate courts. However, since the Chancellor was appointed for life, and might fall from favour, or be too ill to carry out his duties, his duties would occasionally fall to his deputy, the Keeper of the Seals of France (French: Garde des sceaux de France).

The last Chancellor died in 1790, by which time the French Revolution was well underway, and the position was left vacant. Instead, in 1791, the Chancellor's portfolio and responsibilities were assigned to the Keeper of the Seals who was accordingly given the additional title of Minister of Justice under the Revolutionary government.

-- Grand Chancellor of France, by Wikipedia

One of his major contributions as chancellor included his transformation of the royal army into a considerably larger, more professional force that helped impose the absolute rule of Louis XIV, helping to ensure France's dominance of Europe. As Chancellor, he also reestablished, in April 1679, the teaching of Civil Law at the University of Paris after Pope Honorius III had prohibited it on 11 May 1219.

Le Tellier, who despised Protestantism, was one of those who influenced Louis XIV to revoke the Edict of Nantes which had previously provided religious freedoms to them. He further encouraged the persecution of the Huguenots. He died in Versailles, 15 days after the revocation had been signed by Louis XIV and himself.

Le Tellier also amassed great wealth during his life and left two sons, one being famous statesman Louvois who also served France as Secretary of State for War, and who ultimately became one of the most powerful officials of the regime under his father's tutelage. Michel's other son Charles Maurice Le Tellier became the Archbishop of Reims.

-- Michel Le Tellier, by Wikipedia

On 1 November 1706, Germain Louis Chauvelin was given the joint offices of councillor to the Grand Conseil and of "grand rapporteur et correcteur des lettres de chancellerie" [Google translate: great reporter and proofreader of chancellery letters].

Starting in the 13th century, the "Grand Conseil" was the name given to the largest of the King's Councils, in contrast to the smaller and more elite "Conseil étroit" ("narrow council") or "Conseil secret"...

The "Grand Conseil" had a jurisdiction over the entire kingdom, but could only be convoked by the king. The king sought the Grand Conseil's intervention in affairs considered to be too contentious for the parlement...

At its creation, the "Grand Conseil" was presided by the Chancellor of France...

The "Grand Conseil" was permanently situated in Paris from the reign of Henry II on; its exact location varied over time: first at the Louvre, then at the Augustins, the cloister of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois, the hôtel d'Aligre (from 1686 on), and again at the Louvre (from 1754 on).

The church Église Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, France.

The Church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois is a Roman Catholic church in Paris situated at 2 Place du Louvre. It used to be the parish church for inhabitants of the neighbouring Louvre Palace...

Among the treasures preserved inside are a 15th-century wooden statue of Saint Germain.

-- Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois, by Wikipedia

Extremely criticized for its extended jurisdiction, the Grand Conseil nevertheless remained in existence until the French Revolution.

-- Grand Conseil, by Wikipedia

On 31 May 1711, he gained the post of maître des requêtes.

A Master of Requests (French: maître des requêtes) is a counsel of the French Conseil d'État (Council of State), a high-level judicial officer of administrative law in France. The office has existed in one form or another since the Middle Ages.

The occupational title derives from two words. In jurisprudence and administration, the French term maître is an honorific for a barrister (a lawyer who acts in proceedings before a court of law), and requêtes are "appeals" or "petitions". (The legal term une requête civile is "a petition to an appellate court against a judgement.")

-- Master of Requests (France), by Wikipedia

On the death of his elder brother, Louis IV Chauvelin, in 1715, he added the officer of avocat général [Advocate General] to the parlement de Paris...

An advocate general is a senior officer of the law. In some common law and hybrid jurisdictions the officer performs the function of a legal advisor to the government, analogous to attorneys general in other common law and hybrid jurisdictions.

-- Advocate general, by Wikipedia

then, in 1718, bought a post as président à mortier, raising him to the top of the judicial hierarchy.

The président à mortier (French pronunciation: ​[pʁezidɑ̃t‿a mɔʁtje]) was one of the most important legal posts of the French Ancien Régime. The présidents were principal magistrates of the highest juridical institutions, the parlements, which were the appeal courts.

They numbered 11 in 1789. They were spread over chambers, comprising those who were counsellor to the parliament, who assessed and dispensed justice, and présidents who chaired sessions.

The most important chamber was the Grand Chambre. Its presidents, to mark their status as superior to that the presidents of lower chambers, took the mortier, a black velvet toque with two gold braid ribbons.

The position was venal, being freely bought, sold and inherited, subject to payments to the King. In practice, the parlements' consent was needed, and a law examination was required. This limited candidates to those with an academic background in law. After 20 years, the position brought entry to the noblesse, but in fact, the purchase of the office ensured that it was held only by nobles.

Typically, the presidents served under a premier président, who was a royal appointee, not a purchaser of the office. This led to constant tensions.

-- Président à mortier, by Wikipedia

In the same year, he married the rich heiress Anne Cahouet de Beauvais, daughter of the 'Premier président du bureau des finances de la généralité d’Orléans'. They had several children:

• François Claude Chauvelin (1716–1773), father of Bernard-François, marquis de Chauvelin;
• Claude Louis (1718–1750), marquis de Grosbois, died without issue;
• Anne Espérance (°1725), who married (1) (1747) Henri René François Édouard Colbert de Maulévrier (†1748) and then (2) (1763) the chevalier des Acres de L'Aigle;
• Anne Madeleine (°1727), who married (1748) Louis-Michel Chamillart (1709–1774), comte de La Suze;
• Anne Sabine Rosalie (°1732), who married (1752) Jean François de La Rochefoucauld (1735–1789), vicomte de La Rochefoucauld, marquis de Surgères;
• Henri Philippe (1716–1770), known as the abbé de Chauvelin.

The maréchal d’Huxelles, president of the council for foreign affairs and member of the Regency council from 1718, presented Chauvelin to cardinal Fleury. Chauvelin became Fleury's collaborator and advisor and when Fleury became prime minister in 1726 he was quick to bring Chauvelin into his cabinet, making him garde des sceaux [Keeper of the Seals] on 17 August 1727 following the dismissal of Joseph Fleuriau d'Armenonville, then secretary of state for foreign affairs the following day after the dismissal of Charles Jean Baptiste Fleuriau de Morville.


André-Hercule de Fleury, Bishop of Fréjus, Archbishop of Aix (22 June or 26 June 1653 – 29 January 1743) was a French cardinal who served as the chief minister of Louis XV.

He was born in Lodève, Hérault, the son of a tax farmer of a noble family. He was sent to Paris as a child to be educated by the Jesuits in philosophy and the Classics as much as in theology. He entered the priesthood nevertheless and through the influence of Cardinal Bonzi became almoner to Maria Theresa, queen of Louis XIV, and, after her death, to the king himself. In 1698 he was appointed bishop of Fréjus, but seventeen years in a provincial see eventually determined him to seek a position at court.

In May 1715, a few months before the Sun-King's death, Fleury became tutor to Louis' great-grandson and heir, and in spite of a seeming lack of ambition, he acquired an influence over the child that was never broken, fostered by Louis' love and confidence. On the death of the regent Philippe d'Orléans in 1723, Louis XV came of age. Fleury, although already seventy years of age, deferred his own supremacy by suggesting the appointment of Louis Henri, duke of Bourbon, as first minister. Fleury was present at all interviews between Louis XV and his titular first minister, and on Bourbon's attempt to break through this rule Fleury retired from court. Louis made Bourbon recall the tutor, who on 11 June 1726 took affairs into his own hands and secured the exile from court of Bourbon and of his mistress Madame de Prie. He continued to refuse the formal title of first minister, but his elevation to cardinal, in 1726, confirmed his precedence over any others.

Under the Régence, the Scottish economist John Law had introduced financial measures that were modern for the time: a national bank, easy credit to encourage investors, and paper money exchangeable for gold bullion. Investor overconfidence in the ability to exchange paper money for gold led to wild speculation after 1720, and when the bubble burst, Law and his policies were thoroughly discredited, and French finances were in as dire straits as they had been when Louis XIV died. Fleury was imperturbable in his demeanor, frugal and prudent, and he carried these qualities into the administration. In 1726 he fixed the standard of the currency and secured French credit by initiating regular payment of interest on the national debt, with the result that in 1738/39 there was a surplus of 15,000,000 livres instead of the usual deficit. Fleury's stringencies were enforced through the contrôleur général des finances Philibert Orry (who remained in office until 1745). By exacting forced labor from the peasants (see corvée) he improved France's roads, though at the cost of rousing angry discontent, which later found expression in the French Revolution. During the seventeen years of his orderly government, the country found time to recuperate its forces after the exhaustion caused by the ambitions of Louis XIV and extravagances of the regent, and national prosperity increased. Social peace was seriously disturbed by the severities which Fleury exercised against the Jansenists. He was one of the minority of French bishops who published Clement XI's bull Unigenitus and imprisoned priests who refused to accept it, and he met the Jansenist opposition of the Parlement of Paris by exiling forty of its members to a "gilded cage" not far from Paris.

In foreign affairs, the maintenance of peace was a preoccupation he shared with Sir Robert Walpole, and the two old enemies refrained from war during Fleury's ministry. Some Jacobite sympathizers in France had formed lodges of Freemasons; their attempts to influence Fleury to support the Stuart faction led instead to raids on their premises, and Fleury urged Pope Clement XII to issue a bull in 1738 that forbade all Roman Catholics to become Freemasons under threat of excommunication. It was only with reluctance that he supported the ambitious projects of Elizabeth Farnese, queen of Spain, in Italy by guaranteeing in 1729 the succession of Don Carlos to the duchies of Parma and Tuscany. French diplomacy however was losing its military bite. Fleury's cagey double game with the Corsican revolutionaries under the elder Paoli, smuggled arms to the island while assuring the Genoese of French support. Fleury thus began the manipulations that landed Corsica in the arms of France in 1768....

He had enriched the royal library by many valuable oriental manuscripts, and was a member of the Académie française from 1717, of the Academy of Science, and the Academy of Inscriptions.

-- André-Hercule de Fleury, by Wikipedia

As Garde des sceaux, Chauvelin had to share his powers with Henri François d'Aguesseau, who held onto the unsackable post of Chancellor of France. On 2 September 1727, the king codified the division of powers between the two men: d’Aguesseau held onto his roles as president of the councils and the king's representative to the Parlement, whilst Chauvelin was put in charge of the affairs of the 'Librairie' and given the presidency of the Seal. In this post, Chauvelin exercised censorship over several works linked to the Unigenitus Bull controversy.

Unigenitus (named for its Latin opening words Unigenitus dei filius, or "Only-begotten son of God"), an apostolic constitution in the form of a papal bull promulgated by Pope Clement XI in 1713, opened the final phase of the Jansenist controversy in France. Unigenitus condemned 101 propositions of Pasquier Quesnel as: false, captious, ill-sounding, offensive to pious ears, scandalous, pernicious, rash, injurious to the Church and its practices, contumelious to Church and State, seditious, impious, blasphemous, suspected and savouring of heresy, favouring heretics, heresy, and schism, erroneous, bordering on heresy, often condemned, heretical, and reviving various heresies, especially those contained in the famous propositions of Jansenius.

In 1671 Pasquier Quesnel had published a book entitled Abrégé de la morale de l'Evangile ("Morality of the Gospel, Abridged"). It contained the four Gospels in French, with short explanatory notes, serving as aids for meditation. The work was approved by the bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne. Enlarged editions followed, containing an annotated French text of the complete New Testament, in 1678 and 1693–1694. This last edition was highly recommended by the new bishop of Châlons, Louis Antoine de Noailles. While the first edition of the work contained only a few Jansenist points, its tendency became more apparent in the second edition, and in its complete form, as it appeared in 1693, it was – in the words of the 1912 Catholic Encyclopedia – "pervaded with practically all the errors of Jansenism"...

The Bull begins with Christ's warning against false prophets, especially such as "secretly spread evil doctrines under the guise of piety and introduce ruinous sects under the image of sanctity"; then it proceeds to the condemnation of 101 propositions which are taken verbatim from the last edition of Quesnel's work such as: grace works with omnipotence and is irresistible; without grace man can only commit sin; Christ died for the elect only; every love that is not supernatural is evil; without supernatural love there can be no hope in God, no obedience to His law, no good work, no prayer, no merit, no religion; the prayer of the sinner and his other good acts performed out of fear of punishment are only new sins; the Church comprises only the just and the elect; the reading of the Bible is for all; sacramental absolution should be postponed till after satisfaction; the chief pastors can exercise the Church's power of excommunication only with the consent, at least presumed, of the whole body of the Church; unjust excommunication does not exclude the excommunicated from union with the Church.

The Bull also condemns such things as that the reading of Sacred Scripture is for all, that it is useful and necessary at all times, in all places, and for every kind of person, to study and to know the spirit, the piety, and the mysteries of Sacred Scripture, and that its sacred obscurity is no reason for the laity to dispense themselves from reading it, and that doing so is harmful. (79–81, 83–86)

The Bull finds fault with many other statements in the book of Quesnel, without, however, specifying them, and, in particular, with the translation of the New Testament, which, as the Bull reads, has been censurably altered (damnabiliter vitiatum) and is in many ways similar to a previously condemned French translation.

-- Unigenitus, by Wikipedia

The seal right also gave him access to major revenue streams. Barbier called him "prodigiously rich". He was also able to buy the château de Grosbois in 1731 from Samuel-Jacques Bernard (1686–1753), son of the financier Samuel Bernard.

Entrance to the château de Grosbois

The château de Grosbois in the 19th century

In 1734, he became 'seigneur engagiste' of the Château de Brie-Comte-Robert, and in 1750 razed its towers and courtyards down to a single storey, sparing the tour Saint-Jean, the seigneurial symbol.

the Tour Saint-Jean (St John Tower)

The Château de Brie-Comte-Robert is a castle in the town of Brie-Comte-Robert in the Seine-et-Marne département of France...

The castle became a prestigious residence which the large lords of the kingdom, in particular the dukes of Burgundy, did not hesitate to visit. It was also the site, in 1349, of the marriage of Philip VI of Valois and Blanche d'Évreux, niece of queen Jeanne.

The lady of Brie made the seigneurial residence luxurious, particularly in the area located against the south-western and south-eastern curtains and, above all, in the north-east. She had a chapel built dedicated to Saint-Denis, joined to the Tour Saint-Jean (St John Tower), and laid out vast pleasure gardens. Jeanne d'Évreux died in the castle in 1371, aged 69.

At the end of the 14th century, the castle returned into the royal domain, then later to the Orléans family.

Louis I de Valois, Duke of Orléans led a sparkling life at the castle of Brie-Count-Robert (tournaments, receptions of great nobles), but, faced with growing insecurity, he strengthened the castle from 1405. Following his assassination by John the Fearless, duke of Burgundy, and the founding of the Armagnac Party in 1407, the castle passed under the control of the Burgundian Party, thus securing it as a safe stage on the road from Paris towards Burgundy.

In 1420, the passage of the English army, en route to Troyes, and the siege of Melun which followed, brought some disorder to the town, but did not affect the castle. It is from 1429 that the city was, « par quatre diverses fois en trois ans », ("four separate times in three years"), taken and retaken by the French and the English. The major event remains however the siege begun in September 1430 by the Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham, who caused immense damage, in the town as well as to the castle. The place was repurchased by the French in 1434 and was returned to its rightful owner, Charles of Orléans. His son, the future king Louis XII, placed the castle in the royal domain.

Starting from the reign of Francis I, the castle and its grounds were entrusted by the king to some of his close associates, either by way of favour (« don pour un temps » - "gift for a time"), or by conditional sale with option of repurchase (« l'engagement »)....

In the middle of the century, various families of Italian lords, close to Catherine de' Medici (Aquaviva, Pierrevive, Gondi), held the castle, but allowed the building to deteriorate, even causing the burning of the floors and some frames.

A 1567 law passed by the Parliament was needed to put an end to this damage. At the end of the century, Balthazar Goblin, follower of Henri IV, made repairs to the castle.

The castle was still in a position to receive the young Louis XIII twice, in 1609 and 1611.

In 1649, at the time of the Fronde disorders, the town and the castle of Brie-Comte-Robert, were taken by the royal troops commanded by the count de Grancey. The castle was cannonaded by a battery for more than five hours, losing its south-eastern tower.

The Fronde (French pronunciation: ​[fʁɔ̃d]) was a series of civil wars in France between 1648 and 1653, occurring in the midst of the Franco-Spanish War, which had begun in 1635. King Louis XIV confronted the combined opposition of the princes, the nobility, the law courts (parlements), and most of the French people, and yet won out in the end. The dispute started when the government of France issued seven fiscal edicts, six of which were to increase taxation. The parlements pushed back and questioned the constitutionality of the King's actions and sought to check his powers.

-- Fronde, by Wikipedia

Later repairs had to be very modest: in 1681, the castle was regarded as "... uninhabitable, the ditches full of rubbish, the garden fallow..." (« inhabitable, les fossés comblés d'immondices, le jardin en friche... »).

Jean-Antoine de Mesmes, first President of the parlement of Paris carried out various maintenance works on the roofs and repairs to the access bridges. Legal documents from this period describe some internal developments. The castle was then inhabited by private individuals...

In 1750, Germain-Louis de Chauvelin, lord since 1734, asserting the dilapidation of the building, obtained authorisation to reduce the towers and the curtains to the level of the first floor, excepting however the Saint-Jean tower, the manorial symbol.

Sight of the castle

Below this tower was the residence

Castle courtyard, seen from the northern entrance

-- Château de Brie-Comte-Robert, by Wikipedia

As foreign secretary, Chauvelin was very hostile to Austria, continually seeking to set Spain against Austria. The peace-loving Fleury was often involved in secret negotiations, such as the 1735 preliminaries in Vienna, which subordinated peace to resolution of the Lorraine question - by secret negotiations, Fleury got François de Lorraine to renounce his claim, with Chauvelin only intervening to defeat the last remnants of Austrian resistance. Fleury no longer needed Chauvelin so on 20 February 1737 the latter was dismissed and taken to his château de Grosbois, then to Bourges the following 6 July. He tried for a rapprochement with Louis XV of France on Fleury's death in January 1743, but was disgraced a second time and exiled to Issoire, then to Riom.

"The Ezour-Vedam, which should not be confused with the Esrou-Vedam, according to the spelling adopted by the Indian translator of the Bhagavadam, or IssoureWedam, according to that of Abraham Roger, one of the four Vedams, is only a commentary on these books, or rather an explanation of the doctrine contained in them. This book is, therefore, later than the Vedams."

-- Ezourvedam: A French Veda of the Eighteenth Century, Edited with an Introduction by Ludo Rocher

Jean de Viguerie observed "Such great rigours are hard to explain. Chauvelin had been one of the confidents of the king, who wrote to him often. But it was maybe that was justly the cause of his disgrace. Louis XV was able to regret being his confident." He was able to return to Paris in April 1746 thanks to the intercession of marquis d’Argenson and the comte de Maurepas but stayed out of political life from that date until his death in 1762.


• (in French) Arnaud de Maurepas, Antoine Boulant, Les ministres et les ministères du siècle des Lumières (1715-1789). Etude et dictionnaire, Paris, Christian-JAS, 1996, 452 p.
• (in French) Jean de Viguerie, Histoire et dictionnaire du temps des Lumières, Robert Laffont, collection Guil, Paris, 1995. ISBN 2-221-04810-5
• (in French) Alix Bréban, Germain Louis Chauvelin (1685-1762), ministre de Louis XV, thesis from the École des chartes, 2004 (résumé)
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:30 pm

Saint-Germain-des-Prés (abbey)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/26/20

A New Manuscript: BN Fonds Francais 19117

In the meanwhile, no one seems to have noticed the existence, in the Bibliotheque Nationale, of a third manuscript of the EzV. The catalogue: Ancien Saint-Germain Francais III. Nos. 18677-20064 du Fonds Francais (by L Auvray and H. Omont, Paris: Leroux, 1900), has the following entry: "19117, 'Zozur Bedo'; traduction francaise du YADJOUR VEDA,4c livre des Vedas. En huit livres. XVIIe-XVIIIe. Papier. ) 58 pages. 208 sur 205 millimetres. Cartonne. (Saint-Germain, Harlay 515.)." This is, indeed, another copy of the EzV, in eight books.

The manuscripts of the Harlay family were donated, by Achille IV de Harlay (died 23 July 1717) to Louis-Germain de Chauvelin (1685-1762), on 11 August 1716.85 The condition attached to the donation said that the manuscripts should stay with de Chauvelin and his male descendants until one of them died without further male descendants "revetus de charge de judicature." [Google translate: load bearing judicature.] At that time the manuscripts were to become the property of the Benedictines of the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Chauvelin not only allowed the members of the Order to use the materials while he still held the usufruct; he also enriched the collection with documents which were his own full property.86 On 19 March 1755 he decided to transfer the collection to Saint-Germain, together with those manuscripts of which he himself was the owner.87 The manuscripts were transferred from the castle of Grosbois to the abbey. They remained a special fund while deposited there, until they were transferred, together with the other manuscripts of Saint-Germain, to the Bibliotheque Nationale, in 1865.88 There the entire collection was integrated into the "Troisieme Serie" of the Fonds Francais: manuscripts 15370 to 20064.89

These data do not entirely solve the problem of the origin of the third EzV manuscript. The donation of 11 August 1716 was accompanied by a catalogue which is, however, lost, with the result that it is no longer possible to ascertain which particular manuscripts were added to the collection by de Chauvelin.90 We can only presume that the EzV did not belong to the original collection of 1716, and that it was one of the latest additions; it is no. 515 in a collection of altogether 519 items. But, even then, the third EzV manuscript must have belonged to the collection by 1755, five years before Maudave brought his copy to Europe.

The principal problem that remains unsolved in all this is that in two handwritten catalogues at the Bibliotheque Nationale, manuscript "Harlay 515" is described as "Melanges cont. 110. pieces": in the "Catalogue des manuscrits de Monsieur** [Chauvelin]",91 and in the "Catalogue des mss. de la bibliotheque de feu Mre Achilles de Harlay, premier president du Parlement de Paris, passes depuis dans la bibliotheque de feu messire Louis- Germain Chauvelin, ancien garde des sceaux, et actuellement dans la bibliotheque de l'abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Pres, a Paris, 1762."92 [Google translate: Catalog of mss. of the library of the late Mre Achilles de Harlay, first Speaker of Parliament of Paris, since passed in the library of the late Messire Louis-Germain Chauvelin, former Keeper of the Seals, and currently in the library of the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, in Paris, 1762.]

Even assuming that the EzV manuscript did belong to the private collection of Louis-Germain de Chauvelin on 19 March 1755, it is no longer possible to investigate how and when he acquired it. The important fact is that it is the oldest EzV manuscript in Europe, even though no one ever took notice of it. It also shows that the terminus ante quem [Google translate: term before he] for the composition of the EzV, which until now was 1759 -- the time when Maudave left India --, has to be advanced with at least five years and possibly by more than that.

The new manuscript further complicates the problem of the original title of the French text. As I said earlier, the title in the manuscript is "Zozur Bedo." Yet, on two occasions on which the title is mentioned in the body of the text (pp. 214, 215), the scribe writes "leZourvedan" This seems to suggest that the copyist was familiar with the term "Zozur," but, at the same time, it is a clear indication that his original read "l ezourvedan" or ''l'ezourvedan.''

The Harlay manuscript will play an important role in the new edition of the text.

-- Ezourvedam: A French Veda of the Eighteenth Century, Edited with an Introduction by Ludo Rocher

The church as seen from south-west (Place Jean-Paul-Sartre-et-Simone-de-Beauvoir)

Saint-Germain-des-Prés (French pronunciation: ​[sɛ̃ ʒɛʁmɛ̃ de pʁe]) is a parish church located in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter of Paris. Founded by Childebert I in the 540s as the Abbaye Sainte-Croix-Saint-Vincent, by the middle of the 8th century it had taken on the name of Saint Germanus (French: Germain), the man appointed bishop of Paris by Childebert and later canonized.

Germain (Latin: Germanus; c. 496 – 28 May 576) was the bishop of Paris and is a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church.

The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods. Roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares ("first among equals") of the bishops. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.

Eastern Orthodox theology is based on Sacred Tradition which incorporates the dogmatic decrees of the seven Ecumenical Councils, the Scriptures, and the teaching of the Church Fathers. The church teaches that it is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church established by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, and that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles. It maintains that it practises the original Christian faith, as passed down by Sacred Tradition. Its patriarchates, reminiscent of the pentarchy, and other autocephalous and autonomous churches reflect a variety of hierarchical organisation. It recognises seven major sacraments, of which the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in synaxis. The church teaches that through consecration invoked by a priest, the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The Virgin Mary is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the God-bearer, honoured in devotions.

The Eastern Orthodox Church shared communion with the Roman Catholic Church in the state church of Rome until the East–West Schism in 1054, disputing particularly the authority of the Pope. Before the Council of Ephesus in AD 431 the Church of the East also shared in this communion, as did the Oriental Orthodox Churches before the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, all separating primarily over differences in Christology.

The majority of Eastern Orthodox Christians live mainly in Southeast and Eastern Europe, Cyprus, Georgia and other communities in the Caucasus region, and communities in Siberia reaching the Russian Far East. There are also smaller communities in the former Byzantine regions of Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, and in the Middle East, where it is decreasing due to forced migration because of increased religious persecution in recent years. There are also many in other parts of the world, formed through diaspora, conversions, and missionary activity.

-- Eastern Orthodox Church, by Wikipedia

According to an early biography, he was known as Germain d'Autun, rendered in modern times as the "Father of the Poor"...

He persuaded the king to stamp out the pagan practices existing in Gaul and to forbid the excess that accompanied the celebration of most Christian festivals.

-- Germain of Paris, by Wikipedia

Originally located beyond the outskirts of early medieval Paris, it became a rich and important abbey complex and was the burial place of Germanus and of Childebert and other Merovingian kings of Neustria.

The Merovingian dynasty was the ruling family of the Franks from the middle of the 5th century until 751. They first appear as "Kings of the Franks" in the Roman army of northern Gaul. By 509 they had united all the Franks and northern Gaulish Romans under their rule. They conquered most of Gaul, defeating the Visigoths (507) and the Burgundians (534), and also extended their rule into Raetia (537). In Germania, the Alemanni, Bavarii and Saxons accepted their lordship. The Merovingian realm was the largest and most powerful of the states of western Europe following the breaking up of the empire of Theoderic the Great....

The 7th-century Chronicle of Fredegar implies that the Merovingians were descended from a sea-beast called a quinotaur:

It is said that while Chlodio was staying at the seaside with his wife one summer, his wife went into the sea at midday to bathe, and a beast of Neptune rather like a Quinotaur found her. In the event she was made pregnant, either by the beast or by her husband, and she gave birth to a son called Merovech, from whom the kings of the Franks have subsequently been called Merovingians.

In the past, this tale was regarded as an authentic piece of Germanic mythology and was often taken as evidence that the Merovingian kingship was sacral and the royal dynasty of supernatural origin. Today, it is more commonly seen as an attempt to explain the meaning of the name Merovech (sea-bull). "Unlike the Anglo-Saxon rulers the Merovingians—if they ever themselves acknowledged the quinotaur tale, which is by no means certain—made no claim to be descended from a god"....

Merovingian law was not universal law equally applicable to all; it was applied to each man according to his origin: Ripuarian Franks were subject to their own Lex Ripuaria, codified at a late date, while the so-called Lex Salica (Salic Law) of the Salian clans, first tentatively codified in 511 was invoked under medieval exigencies as late as the Valois era. In this the Franks lagged behind the Burgundians and the Visigoths, that they had no universal Roman-based law. In Merovingian times, law remained in the rote memorisation of rachimburgs, who memorised all the precedents on which it was based, for Merovingian law did not admit of the concept of creating new law, only of maintaining tradition. Nor did its Germanic traditions offer any code of civil law required of urbanised society, such as Justinian I caused to be assembled and promulgated in the Byzantine Empire. The few surviving Merovingian edicts are almost entirely concerned with settling divisions of estates among heirs....

Merovingian kings and queens used the newly forming ecclesiastical power structure to their advantage. Monasteries and episcopal seats were shrewdly awarded to elites who supported the dynasty. Extensive parcels of land were donated to monasteries to exempt those lands from royal taxation and to preserve them within the family. The family maintained dominance over the monastery by appointing family members as abbots. Extra sons and daughters who could not be married off were sent to monasteries so that they would not threaten the inheritance of older Merovingian children. This pragmatic use of monasteries ensured close ties between elites and monastic properties.

Numerous Merovingians who served as bishops and abbots, or who generously funded abbeys and monasteries, were rewarded with sainthood.
The outstanding handful of Frankish saints who were not of the Merovingian kinship nor the family alliances that provided Merovingian counts and dukes, deserve a closer inspection for that fact alone: like Gregory of Tours, they were almost without exception from the Gallo-Roman aristocracy in regions south and west of Merovingian control. The most characteristic form of Merovingian literature is represented by the Lives of the saints. Merovingian hagiography did not set out to reconstruct a biography in the Roman or the modern sense, but to attract and hold popular devotion by the formulas of elaborate literary exercises, through which the Frankish Church channeled popular piety within orthodox channels, defined the nature of sanctity and retained some control over the posthumous cults that developed spontaneously at burial sites, where the life-force of the saint lingered, to do good for the votary.

The vitae et miracula, for impressive miracles were an essential element of Merovingian hagiography, were read aloud on saints’ feast days. Many Merovingian saints, and the majority of female saints, were local ones, venerated only within strictly circumscribed regions; their cults were revived in the High Middle Ages, when the population of women in religious orders increased enormously...

Finally, archaeological evidence cannot be ignored as a source for information, at the very least, on the Frankish mode of life. Among the greatest discoveries of lost objects was the 1653 accidental uncovering of Childeric I's tomb in the church of Saint Brice in Tournai. The grave objects included a golden bull's head and the famous golden insects (perhaps bees, cicadas, aphids, or flies) on which Napoleon modelled his coronation cloak. In 1957, the sepulchre of a Merovingian woman at the time believed to be Clotaire I's second wife, Aregund, was discovered in Saint Denis Basilica in Paris. The funerary clothing and jewellery were reasonably well-preserved, giving us a look into the costume of the time. Beyond these royal individuals, the Merovingian period is associated with the archaeological Reihengräber culture...

The Merovingians feature in the novel In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust: "The Merovingians are important to Proust because, as the oldest French dynasty, they are the most romantic and their descendants the most aristocratic."...

The Merovingians are featured in the book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (1982) where they are depicted as descendants of Jesus, inspired by the "Priory of Sion" story developed by Pierre Plantard in the 1960s. Plantard playfully sold the story as non-fiction, giving rise to a number of works of pseudohistory among which The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail was the most successful. The "Priory of Sion" material has given rise to later works in popular fiction, notably The Da Vinci Code (2003), which mentions the Merovingians in chapter 60.

The title of "Merovingian" (also known as "the Frenchman") is used as the name for a fictional character and a supporting antagonist of the films The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.

-- Merovingian dynasty, by Wikipedia

French Israelism (also called Franco-Israelism) is the belief that people of Frankish descent are also the direct lineal descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, and it is often accompanied by the belief that the Merovingian dynasty is directly descended from the line of King David.

-- French Israelism, by Wikipedia

Chapter Seven: The Merovingians

The Franks

During the Crusades, those members of Eastern European aristocracy descended from the remnants of the Khazars, in addition to the the ruling families of Armenia, reconnected to ignite an important network, by intermarrying with the descendants of the Merovingians. The Da Vinci Code of Dan Brown has recently popularized the legend of that the Merovingians, the most important of the Illuminati bloodlines, was derived originally from the union of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The likelihood of this possibility is nil, as the core doctrines of this lineage are based on the Luciferian teachings of Gnosticism. Rather, the myth of the union of Jesus and Mary Magdalene was preserved to disguise a more occult secret about the origin of this bloodline.

More importantly, the descendants of the Merovingians eventually intermarried with the family of Charlemagne, founder of the Holy Roman Empire, and supposedly, that of an Exilarch, or claimant to the Davidic throne, named Rabbi Makhir. It is from this lineage that all the leading lines of European aristocracy descend, a bloodline featured as the central secret of Grail lore.

The Merovingians, again, came originally from Scythia, where they were known as the Sicambrians, taking their name from Cambra, a tribal queen of about 380 BC. Then, in the early fifth century AD, the invasion of the Huns provoked large-scale migrations of almost all European tribes. It was at this time that the Sicambrians, a tribe of the Germanic people collectively known as the Franks, crossed the Rhine and moved into Gaul, establishing themselves in what is now Belgium and northern France.

The Merovingians are believed in occult circles to have originally been Jewish, and descended from the Tribe of Benjamin, who had entered Greece known as Cadmus and Danaaus. Certain important details of the history of the Merovingians are related in the Fredegar’ Chronicle, a facsimile of which is in the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris. Fredegar, who died in 660 AD, was a Burgundian scribe, and his Chronicle covered the period from the earliest days of the Hebrew patriarchs to the era of the Merovingian kings. Fredegar’s Prologue tells how the Sicambrian line of “Franks”, from whom France acquired its name, were themselves first so called after their chief Francio, a descendant of Noah, who died in 11 BC. Prior to their Scythian days, Francio’s race originated in ancient Troy after which the French city of Troyes was named. The city of Paris, established by the sixth century Merovingians, likewise bears the name of Paris, the son of King Priam of Troy, whose liaison with Helen of Sparta sparked the Trojan War.

The claim, asserted in The Da Vinci Code, is that Mary Magdalene had brought to southern France a child she bore to Jesus, and that her lineage was survived among the Merovingians. However, as explained by genealogical researcher David Hughes:

This theory was popularized in 1982 by the occultic book “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” in which the author to sensationalize his work purposely misidentified Jesus of Nazareth with His cousin Jesus “of Gamala”, for the author surely would have known better from his research. The author by this misidentification could make the claim that Jesus of Nazareth married Mary Magdalene and sired children and had descendants who eventually became the ruling houses of medieval and modern Europe, which the author refers to as the “Jesus Dynasty” or “Jesus Bloodline”, however, these are the wife and children of Jesus “of Gamala”, the cousin of Jesus of Nazareth, who by all accounts was celibate. It is true that descendants of Jesus’ so-called “brothers” and “cousins”, the “Desposyni”, gave Europe some of its noble and royal houses, however, none descend from Jesus of Nazareth Himself but only from His relatives “according of the flesh”, and, ultimately descend from Israel’s Davidic Dynasty, which according to the Bible has a “divine right” to rule. [1]

According to the genealogies compiled by James Allen Dow, and based largely on the work of David Hughes, a descendant of Mary Magdalene and this Jesus, Quintus Tarus, a prefect of Rome, married Argotta, heiress of the Franks, to father Merovech, King of the Franks. [2] The most famous of all Merovingian rulers, though, was Merovee’s grandson, Clovis I, who reigned between 481 and 511 AD. Gaul was the richest and largest area of the western empire, but the Frankish tribes had not succeeded in organizing a single state, until Clovis defeated the surviving Roman forces in 486 AD. During his reign and that of his sons, Frankish power was extended over nearly all of Gaul and far into Germany. The Frankish kingdom eventually became the strongest and most extensive of the new German states, and it was the only one that truly survived into later centuries, and from it were descended the modern states of both Germany and France.


Clovis converted to Roman Christianity, and an accord was ratified between him and the Roman Church, followed by a great wave of conversion. Clovis was granted the title of New Constantine, presiding over a Holy Roman Empire. Clovis’ successors, however, did not retain his ruthlessness, and instead became mere figureheads, puppets of the Mayors of the Palace, in whose hands was the real power. On Clovis’ death, his son Dagobert, acceded to the kingdom of Austrasia, but was deposed by a conspiracy on the part of Pepin the Fat, the king’s mayor of the palace, which the Church of Rome approved, immediately passing the Merovingian administration of Austrasia to him.

Pepin was followed by Charles Martel, one of the most heroic figures in French history, and who was the grandfather of Charlemagne, according whose name the dynasty came to be known in history as that of the Carolingians. The Carolingians were partly of Merovingian descent, but more importantly, they represented the union of the once divided lineage of the Mithraic bloodline. This lineage had survived in two branches. Julia, the heiress of the Edomite royal bloodline, was the daughter of Herod Phollio King of Chalcis, whose grandfather was Herod the Great, and whose mother was the daughter of Salome, married Tigranes King of Armenia, the son of Alexander of Judea. Their son Alexander married Iotape of Commagene, the daughter of Antiochus IV. From them was descended St. Arnulf, a Frankish noble who had great influence in the Merovingian kingdoms as Bishop of Metz, and who was later canonized as a saint, and who lived from 582 to 640 AD. [3]

In St. Arnulf, this lineage was united with the other branch. That other branch was survived in the priest-kings of Emesa, descended from Claudia, the grand-daughter of the Emperor Claudius, which had also culminated in the person of the Neoplatonic philosopher Iamblichus. [4] Saint Arnulf was the grandfather of Peppin II, the father of Charles Martel.

Charles Martel’s son, Peppin III, was the father of Charles the Great, known as Charlemagne. In 771, Charlemagne assumed the throne and took advantage of his brother’s death to unite the Carolingian territories. Charlemagne’s goal was to unite through conquest all the Germanic people into one kingdom. By 800 AD, the Frankish kingdom included all of modern France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, almost all of Germany and large areas of Italy and Spain.

Charlemagne received substantial help from an alliance with the Pope, who wanted to cut the remaining ties with the Byzantine Empire. In this way, the domains of the Pope became an independent state in central Italy. In the same year, 800 AD, Charlemagne was crowned Emperor by the Pope, becoming the first emperor in the west, since the last Roman emperor was deposed in 476 AD, and thus inaugurating the Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne’s dual role as Emperor, and King of the Franks, provides the historical link between the Frankish kingdoms and later Germany, as both France and Germany look unto Charlemagne as the founding figure of their respective countries.

Guillaume of Gellone

It is frequently claimed by genealogists that all of European aristocracy can claim descent from Charlemagne. Less well- known, though significant for occult lore, is that Charlemagne’s descendants were intricately intertwined with those of one Rabbi Makhir, a Jewish Exilarch from Baghdad, known as Rabbi Makhir, or Natronai, who became the father of Guillaume the Gellone. This was the important union, infusing European aristocracy with Davidic lineage, by which occult societies, and books like the Holy Blood Holy Grail, have claimed represented the secret of the Holy Grail. It is also the reason for which one of the stated aims of the Illuminati, like the enigmatic Priory of Zion, mentioned in The Da Vinci Code, is to reinstitute the descendants of Merovingians, as rulers of a New World Order.

The origin of the office of Exilarch is not known, but the princely post was hereditary in a family that traced its descent from the royal House of David. It was recognized by the state and carried with it certain definite prerogatives, first under the Parthian Empire of the Persians. The office lasted to the sixth century AD, under different regimes, when there was no Exilarch for a century, until the position was restored under the Muslims. In the eighth century AD, an Exilarch, named Judah Zakkai, had as rival candidate Natronai ben Habibai, who, however, was defeated and sent “West” in banishment. Natronai was the great-grandson of Izdundad Princess of Persia, the daughter of Yazdagird III, ruler of the Sassanid Empire, and married Exilarch Bustenai ben Hanina, who lived from 590 to 670 AD.

Coincidentally, according to Medieval Jewish legends, one Makhir, often confused with Natronai, apparently arrived in southern France by the invitation of Charlemagne, who is said to have sent an embassy, in which a Jew, Isaac, took part, to ask the “king of Babel” to send him a man of royal Jewish lineage. In response, the Caliph Harun al Rashid, dispatched Rabbi Makhir to him. According to the appendix of a fourteenth century work titled Sepher ha Kabbalah:

Then King Charles sent to the King of Baghdad [Caliph] requesting that he dispatch one of his Jews of the seed of royalty of the House of David. He hearkened and sent him one from there, a magnate and sage, Rabbi Makhir by name. And [Charles] settled him in Narbonne, the capital city, and planted him there, and gave him a great possession there at the time he captured it from the Ishmaelites [Arabs]. And he [Makhir] took to wife a woman from among the magnates of the town; *...* and the King made him a nobleman and designed, out of love for [Makhir], good statutes for the benefit of all the Jews dwelling in the city, as is written and sealed in a Latin charter; and the seal of the King therein [bears] his name Carolus; and it is in their possession at the present time. The Prince Makhir became chieftain there. He and his descendants were close [inter-related] with the King and all his descendants.

The translation that of the mention that Makhir was “close to the king and all his descendants”, as meaning he was inter- related with French aristocracy, through intermarriage, was proposed by Arthur Zuckerman, in A Jewish Princedom in Feudal France, 768-900. There are numerous confusing genealogies provided as to the descent of this Makhir, or Natronai. According to the research of James Allen Dow, Natronai married one Rolinda of Aquitaine. Their sons were Makhir and Gilbert of Rouergue. Makhir married Alda, the daughter of Charles Martel. [5]

According to Zuckerman, Makhir would have assumed the Christian name of Theodoric, or Thierry, and assumed the title of King of the Jews, and ruled over the independent state of Septimania in southern France, with the city of Narbonne as its capital. In the Mediaeval romances Theirry is called Aymery, and he was the father of Guillaume de Gellone, about whom there were at least six major epic poems composed before the era of the crusades. The device of his shield was the Lion of Judah. At the height of his power, he included as part of his dominion, northeastern Spain, the Pyrenees, along with the region of Septimania. Zuckerman maintains the reference of Makhir’s descendants being “close” to those of the king should be understood to mean “inter-related”, or that Guillaume’s ancestors intermarried with those of the Carolingians.

As late as 1143 AD, Peter the Venerable of Cluny, in an address to Louis VII of France, condemned the Jews of Narbonne who claimed to have a king residing among them, a claim based presumably on the legend of Makhir. In 1144 AD, Theobald, a Cambridge monk, spoke of “the chief Princes and Narbonne where the royal seed resides.” In 1165-66 AD, Benjamin of Tudela, the famous Jewish traveler and chronicler, reports that in Narbonne there are “sages, magnates and princes at the head of whom is… a remnant of the House of David as stated in his family tree.” [6]

The Guilhemids

And, again, though the lines we are about to trace are intricate, it is only through a careful study of them that we may discern that there was a central importance attributed to these bloodlines. This concurs with the claim that this bloodline contained a certain “potency”, purportedly derived from the fact that, not only did these families descend from the Line of David, but as we have seen, from the Mithraic bloodline, but, as well, a claimed descent from Lucifer himself. Because, as we will discover, this careful intermarrying constructed lines of descent to produce specific individuals who would play pivotal roles in this occult history we are following.

A look at the numerous dynastic alliances between this Guillaume de Gellone, and the descendants of Charlemagne, will illustrate the degree of penetration of his lineage, and demonstrate the basis for his perceived importance in occult circles. Their descendants, known as the Guilhemids, would form an important nexus, through intermarriage, with their Saxon and Scandinavian relations, as well as the aristocracy of Eastern Europe, descended from the Khazars, and the royal family of Armenia, that would figure centrally in the occult conspiracy that was brought to birth during the Crusades. Their subsequent subversive activities would alter the history of Europe, and provide an occult influence that would remain a hidden, though powerful influence, until they finally came to light as the Illuminati in the eighteenth century.

Most historians consider the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire to actually begin with the split of the Frankish realm between the sons of Charlemagne’s son, Louis the Pious, at the Treaty of Verdun in 843 AD, who continued the Carolingian dynasty independently in three separate sections. The eastern part fell to Louis the German, while Charles “the Bald”, was granted Italy. Charles “the Bald” married Ermetrude d’Orleans, the granddaughter of Guillaume de Gellone. Their daughter was Judith of England, who married Baldwin I of Flanders, from whom descend the Counts of Flanders. Their granddaughter, Gunhilde d’Urgell, married Raymond II of Toulouse, who was descended from Bertha d’Autun, William of Gellone’s sister, and from them were descended the Counts of Toulouse. [7] The grandson of Raymond II Count of Toulouse, William Taillefer Count of Toulouse, married Emma of Provence, who was both descended from William of Gellone, and Priest of the Khazars. [8]

Priset’s son, Barjik King of the Khazars, was the father of Irene, also known as Tzitzak. Irene married Constantine V “Copronymus” the Isaurian, a descendant of Antiochus I of Commagene, and became the father of Leo the Khazar, who became Byzantine Emperor in 775 AD. From Leo the Khazar was descended Michael III “the Drunkard” the Phrygian, and from him Charles Constantine. Charles Constantine was the father of Constance of Arles and Vienna, who married Boso of Provence, the great-grandson of Bernard Plantevelue, himself the grandson of Guillaume de Gellone. Their son was William Taillefer Count of Toulouse. [9]

William Taillefer’s brother, Raymond III Count of Toulouse, married Adelaide of Anjou, daughter of Fulk II Count of Anjou. [10] Her brother, Geoffrey I Count of Anjou, married Adelais of Vermandois, who was descended from Pippin, brother of Louis the Pious, and son of Charlemagne, who married Cunigundis of the Franks, daughter of William of Gellone. Geoffrey of Anjou and Adelais’ daughter was Ermangarde of Anjou. Her daughter was Judith of Brittany, who married Richard II of Normandy. [11] Richard was the great-grandson of Rollo Ragnvaldsson, a Norman Viking leader, who married Poppa of Bavaria, the great-granddaughter of William of Gellone, and from whom were descended the Dukes of Normandy. Rollo’s daughter, Adele of Normandy, married William III Duke of Aquitaine, from whom are descended the Dukes of Aquitaine. [12]

William of Gellone’s sister Ida Redburga, married Egbert of Wessex, of the Anglo-Saxon invaders who displaced the Britons from England, and a direct descendant, according to the chronicles, of Odin. Egbert had been forced into exile at Charlemagne’s court by a rival Saxon to the throne, Offa, King of Mercia, and returned to England in 802 AD, where he eventually became King of Wessex, and later first king of England. [13] Their son, Ethelwulf King of the English, was the father of Alfred “the Great” King of England, who in turn became the father of Edward the Elder, King of England.

Redburga was also the grandmother of Thyra Dannebod Queen of Denmark, who became the wife of the Viking King Gorm “the Old” of Denmark, and the mother of Harald Bluetooth Blataand King of Denmark. Harald’s son, Sven I of Denmark, embarked on a full-scale invasion of England, and was accepted as King of that country, following the flight to Normandy of king Ethelred the Unready in late 1013 AD. [14]

When Sven was baptized, along with the rest of the royal family, he was given the name of Otto, in honor of Otto I the Great, who was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 962 AD. [15] Otto was the son of Henry I “the Fowler”, Holy Roman Emperor, who in turn was the son of Otto “the Illustrious”. The mother of Otto “the Illustrious” was Oda Billung, the daughter of Billung I Count of Thuringia, a Saxon. Billung had married Alda of the Franks, the daughter of Charlemagne’s son Pippin, and Bertha of Toulouse, the daughter of William of Gellone. [16]

Hedwige, the sister of Otto the Great, married Hugh the Great, son of Robert I of France and Beatrix of Vermandois, a direct descendant of William of Gellone. Their descendants would become the dynasty of Capetians, from whom would descend all the kings of France until the Second Republic established in 1848. Quarrels, however, ensued between Hugh the Great and Louis IV of France, who was the son of Charles the Simple, the grandson of Charles the Bald, and Princess Eadgifu, daughter of Edward the Elder, King of England. These were mended upon the ascension of Lothair I of France, the son of Louis IV and Gerberge, the daughter of Otto the Great. Lothair granted Hugh the Great the Duchy of Burgundy and of Aquitaine, expanding the Capetian dominions.

The son of Otto the Great, Otto II, who succeeded him, married Theophano Princess of Byzantium. Their son was Otto III, who became Holy Roman Emperor in 996 AD. Otto III had given full support to the crowning of Hugh Capet, the son of Hugh the Great, as King of France in 987 AD, after the death of Louis V, the son of Lothair. Hugh de Capet was succeeded by his son Robert II King of France, by his wife Adele of Aquitaine, the granddaughter of Poppa of Bavaria and Rollo Ragnvaldsson. Robert II married Constance d’Arles, a descendant of both Guillame de Gellone, and the Khazars. Constance d’Arles was the daughter William of Provence, the brother of William Taillefer, who married Adelaide d’Anjou, before she married Raymond III of Toulouse. [17]

Otto III was succeeded as Holy Roman Emperor by his cousin, Henry II. The grandfather of Henry II was Henry I, Duke of Bavaria, the brother of Otto the Great. His mother was Gisela of Burdungy, a niece of Otto the Great’s wife Adelheid. The father of Henry II’s wife, Cunigonde of Luxemburg, was descended from Charles the Bald, and Ermentrude d’Orleans, the granddaughter of Guillaume de Gellone. [18] Cunigonde’s mother was Hedwig of Lotharingia, the niece of Otto I the Great. After their deaths, both Henry II and his wife Cunigonde were eventually canonized by the Catholic Church.

In 1027 AD, Henry II was succeeded as Holy Roman Emperor by Conrad II, the son of Henry of Speyer and Adelheid of Alsace, the sister of Saint Cunigonde. Henry of Speyer was the grandson of Otto the Great and Edith of Wessex, and his brother was Pope Gregory V. Gregory V was succeeded by Sylvester II, known as Gerbert d’Aurillac, who was tutor to both Otto II and Otto III. Gregory V, Otto’s cousin, appointed him Archbishop of Ravenna in 998, and the emperor elected him to succeed Gregory as pope in 999. Gerbert introduced Arab knowledge of Arithmetic and Astronomy and the Abacus to Europe. Gerbert was reputed to have studied Kabbalistic arts in Spain, and to have been a sorcerer in league with the devil. Gerbert was supposed to have built a bronze head, that would answer his questions. He was also reputed to have had a pact with a female demon called Meridiana, who had appeared after he had been rejected by his earthly love, and with whose help he managed to ascend to the papal throne.

The Bogomils

Finally, when these various bloodlines reconnected with their counterparts in the east, they became introduced to the Paulicianism, whose influence produced the heresy of the Cathars, that was adopted by the Guilhemids, and ultimately figuring in the lore of their secret bloodline, the Grail legends. There was one union in particular, which set off the beginning of this relationship, and from which would derive the most important line of descent, and which would later figure at the center of the various covert activities of the early predecessors of the Illuminati. That union was the one between Adiva, the daughter of Edward the Elder, King of England, and Boleslav I, the Duke of Bohemia, and the person produced was a daughter named Dubrawka. [19]

At the end of the eighth century AD, Bohemia, like the neighbouring sates of Great Moravia and Hungary, fell to the invading Magyars, and Boleslav I, known as “the Cruel”, became the first king of an independent Bohemia, after he led a Czech force in alliance with Otto the Great, that was victorious over them in 955 AD.

In 965 AD, a Jewish merchant named Ibrahim ibn Jakub noted that the Jews of Prague, the capital of Bohemia, were important persons and active in both local and long-distant trade. According to the Letter of King Joseph, Hasdai ibn Shaprut, who was foreign minister to Abd al-Rahman, Sultan of Cordova, made first unsuccessful attempt to resort to the Byzantine embassy to transmit his letter to the king of the Khazars. But, the envoys of Boleslav I, who were then in Cordova, and among whom were two Jews, Saul and Joseph, suggested a different plan. They offered to send the letter to Jews living in Hungary, who, in their turn, would transmit it to Russia, and from there through Bulgaria, to its destination at Itl. As the envoys guaranteed the delivery of the message, Hasdai accepted the proposal. [20]

Dubrawka, the daughter of Boleslav and Adiva, married Mieszko I King of Poland, a member of the Piast dynasty. Mieszko and Dubrawka’s daughter, Adelaide, married Geza Arpad. [21] Their daughter Hercegno married Gavril Radomir, the son of Samuil, Tsar of Bulgaria. [22] Samuil was one of four sons of Prince Nikola Kumet, Count of Bulgaria, who was descended from Kubrat the first King of Bulgaria, himself descended from Attila the Hun. [23]

Another branch of the Turks, the Bulgars, during the seventh century AD, had come under domination of the Khazars, with whom they shared a language. The Khazars forced some of the Bulgars to move to the upper Volga River region where the independent state of Volga Bulgaria was founded, while other Bulgars fled to modern-day Bulgaria.

Through Jewish influence, Nikola Kumet’s sons were all given Jewish names, which included David, Moses, and Aaron. Nikola married Rhipsime Bagratuni, the daughter of Ashot II Erkat, Shahanshah of Armenia. [24] Bagratuni was the name of the dynasty that succeed the Mamikonians as rulers of Armenia, in the ninth century AD, and claimed Jewish descent. Moses of Chorene, who wrote a History of Armenia at the request of Isaac Bagratuni, the middle of the fifth century AD, stated that King Hracheye joined Nebuchadnezzar in his first campaign against the Jews, and took part in the siege of Jerusalem. From among the captives he selected the distinguished Jewish chief Shambat, and brought him with his family to Armenia. Shambat was purportedly descended from Nedabiah, the son of Tamar of the Davidic Dynasty, the daughter of Johanan Prince of Judah. [25] It is from this Shambat the Bagratuni claim descent. [26]

These Bulgarian Csars became defenders of Bogomilism, a Gnostic heresy that developed in Bulgaria, in the tenth century AD, from Manichaeism and Pauliciansism. In 970 AD, the Byzantine emperor John Tzimisces, himself of Armenian origin, transplanted as many as 200,000 Armenian Paulicians to Europe, and settled them in the Balkans, which then became the centre for the spread of their doctrines. Settled there as a kind of bulwark against the invading Bulgarians, but the Armenians, instead, converted them to their religion, eventually evolving into what is known as Bogomilism. [27]

Signifying in Slavonic “friends of God”, their doctrine maintained that God had two sons, the elder Satanael, the younger Jesus. To Satanael, who sat on the right hand of God, belonged the right of governing the celestial world, but, filled with pride, he rebelled against his Father and fell from Heaven. Then, aided by the companions of his fall, he created the visible world, the image of the celestial, having like the other its Sun, Moon, and stars, and last he created man and the serpent which became his minister.

Later Christ came to earth in order to show men the way to heaven, but His death was ineffectual, for even by descending into Hell he could not defeat the power of Satanael. The belief in the impotence of Christ and the need therefore to appease Satan, led to the doctrine that Satan should be worshipped. Nicetas Choniates, a Byzantine historian of the twelfth century, described the followers of this cult as Satanists because, “considering Satan powerful they worshipped him lest he might do them harm.” [28]

In the first half of the tenth century, Bogomil teaching, led by the priest Bogomil, appeared in Macedonia. Within a short period of time Bogomilism had grown into a large-scale popular movement. The Byzantine Empire was unable to eradicate the heresy, and David, Moses, Aaron and Samuil, began a rebellion in 869 to defend Bogomilism against its enemies, resulting in breaking Macedonia away from the Bulgarian Empire, establishing the first Slavic-Macedonian state. After their considerable territorial conquests Samuil was proclaimed Emperor and was crowned by the Pope of Rome. [29][/size][/b]

-- Terrorism and the Illuminati: A Three Thousand Year History, by David Livingston

At that time, the Left Bank was prone to flooding from the Seine, so much of the land could not be built upon and the Abbey stood in the middle of meadows, or prés in French, thereby explaining its appellation, which also serves to distinguish it from the church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois near the Louvre. The oldest part of the current church is the prominent western tower (partly restored and modified), which was built by Abbot Morard around the year 1000.[1]


Inside of Abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Prés recently restored, 2012

Limestone sculpture of Childebert, from the former refectory portal (Louvre)

The Abbey was founded in the 6th century by the son of Clovis I, Childebert I (ruled 511–558). Under royal patronage the Abbey became one of the richest in France, as demonstrated by its ninth-century polyptych; it housed an important scriptorium in the eleventh century and remained a center of intellectual life in the French Catholic church until it was disbanded during the French Revolution. An explosion of saltpetre in storage levelled the Abbey and its cloisters, but the church was spared. the statues in the portal were removed (illustration) and some destroyed, and in a fire in 1794 the library vanished in smoke. The abbey church remains as the Église de Saint-Germain-des-Prés, one of the oldest churches in Paris.[2]

In 542, while making war in Spain, Childebert raised his siege of Zaragoza when he heard that the inhabitants had placed themselves under the protection of the martyr Saint Vincent. In gratitude the bishop of Zaragoza presented him with the saint's stole. When Childebert returned to Paris, he caused a church to be erected to house the relic, dedicated to the Holy Cross and Saint Vincent, placed where he could see it across the fields from the royal palace on the Île de la Cité.

In 558, St. Vincent's church was completed and dedicated by Germain, Bishop of Paris on 23 December, the very day that Childebert died. Close by the church a monastery was erected. Its abbots had both spiritual and temporal jurisdiction over the suburbs of Saint-Germain (lasting till about the year 1670). The church was frequently plundered and set on fire by Vikings in the ninth century. It was rebuilt in 1014 and rededicated in 1163 by Pope Alexander III to Saint Germain of Paris, the canonized Bishop of Paris and Childeric's chief counsellor. The great wall of Paris subsequently built during the reign of Philip II of France did not encompass the abbey, leaving the residents to fend for themselves. This also had the effect of splitting the Abbey's holdings into two. A new refectory was built for the monastery by Peter of Montereau in around 1239 - he was later the architect of the Sainte-Chapelle.

The abbey church's west end tower was pierced by a portal, completed in the twelfth century, which collapsed in 1604 and was replaced in 1606 by the present classicising portal, by Marcel Le Roy.[3] Its choir, with its apsidal east end, provides an early example of flying buttresses.

It gave its name to the quarter of Saint-Germain-des-Prés that developed around the abbey. This area is also part of the Latin Quarter, because the Abbey donated some of its lands along the Seine—the Pré aux Clercs ("fields of the scholars") for the erection of buildings to house the University of Paris, where Latin was the lingua franca among students who arrived from all over Europe and shared no other language.

Until the late 17th century, the Abbey owned most of the land in the Left Bank west of the current Boulevard Saint-Michel and had administrative autonomy in it, most clearly for the part outside the walls of Paris.

Louis-César de Bourbon, son of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan, was an abbot here.

In the 17th century the district of Saint-Germain was among the most desirable on the Left Bank. Marguerite de Valois pressured the abbot to donate abbey land to her, too. She built a palace on it, and set a fashionable tone for the area that lasted until the Saint-Honoré district north of the Champs-Élysées eclipsed it in the early eighteenth century. Her palace was located at the current numbers 2-10 rue de Seine. The gardens of the estate extended west to the current rue Bellechasse.[4]

The tomb of philosopher René Descartes is located in one of the church's side chapels.


• Childebert I
• Chilperic I
• Clothar II
• Bertrude
• Chilperic II
• Childeric II
• Bilichild
• Germain of Paris
• Fredegund (The tomb of Fredegund (Frédégonde) is now situated in the Saint Denis Basilica, having been moved from the abbey church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés).
• John II Casimir Vasa (Heart only, body transferred to Wawel Cathedral)
• William Egon of Fürstenberg
• George Douglas, 1st Earl of Dumbarton
• Lord James Douglas
• William Douglas, 10th Earl of Angus
• Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg
• René Descartes
• Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux
• Louis César de Bourbon, Count of Vexin

Former configuration

At its apogee, the Abbey extended to the area now bordered to the north by the (current) rue Jacob, to the East by the rue de l'Echaudée, to the south by the south side of the Boulevard Saint-Germain and the rue Gozlin, and to the west by the rue St-Benoit.[5]

A lady chapel was build (c. 1244-7), with glazed windows including a scene showing the death of St Germain; this is currently in the collection of Winchester College.[6]

From 1275 to 1636, the pillory of the Abbey was located in the current Place d'Acadie, better known to Parisians as the Mabillon due to the eponymous Métro station located there. This square was therefore called the Place du Pilori and the current rue de Buci leading to it was called the rue du Pilori.[7]
The Place d’Acadie is a public square in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, dedicated on 8 March 1984 by the mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac, and by the president of an association called "Les Amitiés Acadiennes", Philippe Rossillon.

The association Acadian Friendship was founded in 1976 by Philippe Rossillon. It is a French association law of 1901, supported by the Foundation of France and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Its mission is to develop cultural and friendly relations between Acadians, the French and the descendants of Acadians from all countries while also being a unifying and cognitive element of the “Acadian fact” in France [4].

The Board of Directors is made up of twenty-four members and its headquarters are in Paris. Bernard Dorin, Ambassador of France, is honorary president.

-- Acadian Friendships, by Wikipedia

It is located near the Mabillon metro station, where the Boulevard Saint-Germain intersects the Rue du Four and the Rue de Buci.

The square takes its name from the old French North-American territory of Acadia that was once part of New France. Acadia existed in what is now called New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, provinces of Canada that are, today, home to a large number of francophone Canadians. Acadia is represented, in international forums on the French-speaking world's culture (francophonie), by the Province of New Brunswick.

Dedication of this square in Paris was meant to mark the hundredth anniversary of the Acadian flag in 1884 in connection with the second National Acadian Convention. It was also the 380th anniversary of the first French outpost in Acadia in 1604.

The Place d’Acadie is located only about a hundred metres from another place celebrating French culture in North America, the Place du Québec.

-- Place d'Acadie, by Wikipedia

Charles [*] de SAINT-ETIENNE de LA TOUR [The Tower Of ]
administrateur de l'Acadie [Administrator of Acadia] (1623-1632), gouverneur de l'Acadie [Governor of Acadia] (1636-1641, 1651-1654), pionnier en Acadie, [pioneer of Acadia] [*]: descendants de Charlemagne and du Big-Bang [administrator of Acadia (1623-1632), governor of Acadia (1636-1641, 1651-1654), pioneer in Acadia, [*]: descendants of Charlemagne and of the Big-Bang]
-- Ancestry of Etienne de la Tour, all the way back to Charlemagne

The 17th-century perjurer Titus Oates in a pillory

The pillory is a device made of a wooden or metal framework erected on a post, with holes for securing the head and hands, formerly used for punishment by public humiliation and often further physical abuse. The pillory is related to the stocks.

-- Pillory, by Wikipedia

The pillory was removed upon the rebuilding of the Abbey's prison in 1635 (a prison had stood there since the Middle Ages). It was located in what is now the Boulevard Saint-Germain, just west of the current Passage de la Petite Boucherie. In 1675 it was requisitioned for a military prison. The prison was known for its extremely poor condition, for example, in 1836, Benjamin Appert wrote :[8]

The cells are abominable and so humid that the soldiers incarcerated there, often for minor offences, must subsequently go to the Val-de-Grâce hospital to recover from their imprisonment.

The prison was the site of one of the September massacres of 1792 and was eventually destroyed to make way for the Boulevard Saint-Germain.[9]

See also

• France portal
• Catholicism portal


1. Andrew Ayers (2004), The Architecture of Paris, pp. 125–126. Stuttgart; London: Edition Axel Menges. ISBN 9783930698967.
2. "Église de Saint-Germain-des-Prés", Fodor's Travel
3. Philippe Plagnieux, "Le portail du XIIe siècle de Saint-Germain-des-Prés à Paris: état de la question et nouvelles recherches" Gesta 28.1 (1989, pp. 21-29) p. 22
4. Saint-Germain-des-Prés et son faubourg, p. 203, Dominique Leborgne, Editions Parigramme, Paris 2005, ISBN 2-84096-189-X
5. Saint-Germain-des-Prés et son faubourg, Dominique Leborgne, Éditions Parigramme, Paris 2005, ISBN 2-84096-189-X
6. Hebron, Malcolm. "The Death of St Germain, 1240s". In Foster, Richard (ed.). 50 Treasures from Winchester College. SCALA. p. 43. ISBN 9781785512209.
7. Saint-Germain-des-Prés et son faubourg, p. 125, Dominique Leborgne, Editions Parigramme, Paris 2005, ISBN 2-84096-189-X
8. Benjamin Appert, Bagnes, prisons et criminels, p. 205, Guilbert, 1836, vol. I
9. Saint-Germain-des-Prés et son faubourg, p. 62, Dominique Leborgne, Éditions Parigramme, Paris 2005, ISBN 2-84096-189-X

External links

• Photos
• Article about the medieval stained glass in the abbey
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Sun Sep 27, 2020 1:27 am

Count of St. Germain [Marquis de Montferrat] [Comte Bellamarre] [Chevalier Schoening] [Count Weldon] [Comte Soltikoff] [Graf Tzarogy] [Prinz Ragoczy]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/26/20

An engraving of the Count of St. Germain by Nicolas Thomas made in 1783, after a painting then owned by the Marquise d'Urfe and now lost[1] Contained at the Louvre in France[2]

The Comte de Saint Germain (French pronunciation: ​[kɔ̃t də sɛ̃ ʒɛʁmɛ̃]; circa 1691 or 1712 – 27 February 1784)[3] was a European adventurer, with an interest in science, alchemy and the arts. He achieved prominence in European high society of the mid 1700s. Prince Charles of Hesse-Kassel considered him to be "one of the greatest philosophers who ever lived".[4]

Prince Charles of Hesse, wearing the sash of the Order of the Elephant

Prince Charles of Hesse-Kassel (Danish: Carl), German and Norwegian: Karl; 19 December 1744 – 17 August 1836) was a cadet member of the house of Hesse-Kassel and a Danish general field marshal. Brought up with relatives at the Danish court, he spent most of his life in Denmark, serving as royal governor of the twin duchies of Schleswig-Holstein from 1769 to 1836 and commander-in-chief of the Norwegian army from 1772 to 1814.

Charles was born in Kassel on 19 December 1744 as the second surviving son of Hesse-Kassel's then hereditary prince, the future Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel and his first wife Princess Mary of Great Britain. His mother was a daughter of King George II of Great Britain and Princess Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach and a sister of Queen Louise of Denmark.

His father, the future landgrave (who reigned from 1760 and died in 1785), left the family in 1747 and converted to Catholicism in 1749. In 1755 he formally ended the marriage with Mary. The grandfather, William VIII, Landgrave of Hesse, granted the county of Hanau and its revenues to Mary and her sons.

The young Prince Charles and his two brothers, William and Frederick, were raised by their mother and fostered by Protestant relatives since 1747.

In 1756, Mary moved to Denmark to look after her sister, Queen Louise of Denmark's children. She took her own children with her and they were raised at the royal court at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen. The Hessian princes later remained in Denmark, becoming important lords and royal functionaries. Only the eldest brother William returned to Hesse, in 1785, upon ascending the landgraviate.

Charles began a military career in Denmark. In 1758 he was appointed colonel, at the age of 20 major general and in 1765 was put in charge of the artillery. After his cousin, King Christian VII, acceded to the throne in 1766, he was appointed lieutenant general, commander of the Royal Guard, knight of the Order of the Elephant and member of the Privy Council.

In 1766, he was appointed Governor-General of Norway as successor to Jacob Benzon (1688–1775). He held the position until 1768 but which remained mostly titular, as he never went to Norway during this period.

In 1763, his elder brother William married their first cousin, Danish Princess Caroline. Charles followed suit on 30 August 1766 at Christiansborg Palace — his wife was Louise of Denmark, and Charles thus became brother-in-law to his cousin, King Christian VII of Denmark. The marriage took place despite advice given against it, due to many accusations of debauchery by Prince Charles and the poor influence he had on the King.

Shortly after, Charles fell into disfavour at court, and in early 1767 he and Louise left Copenhagen to live with his mother in the county of Hanau. They would have their first child, Marie Sophie, there in 1767 and then their second child, William, in 1769.

Rumpenheim Palace, Offenbach

In 1768, Charles purchased the landed property and village of Offenbach-Rumpenheim from the Edelsheim family. In 1771 he had the manor expanded into a castle and princely seat. His mother Mary lived in the palace until her death in 1772. In 1781, Charles sold the Rumpenheim Palace to his younger brother, Frederick.

In 1769, Prince Charles of Hesse was appointed royal Governor of the twin duchies of Schleswig and Holstein (initially only the royal share, so-called Holstein-Glückstadt before in 1773 the king also acquired the ducal share in Holstein) on behalf of the government of his brother-in-law, King Christian VII of Denmark and Norway. Charles took up residence at Gottorp Castle in Schleswig with his family. They would have their third child Frederick there in 1771....

In September 1772, Charles was appointed commander-in-chief of the Norwegian army and he and Louise moved to Christiana. The assignment was a consequence of the coup d'état of King Gustav III of Sweden on 19 August 1772 and the subsequent prospect of war with Sweden. While in Norway, Princess Louise gave birth to their fourth child Juliane in 1773. Even though Charles returned to Schleswig-Holstein in 1774, he continued to function as commander-in-chief of the Norwegian army until 1814. At the time of his return from Norway, he was appointed field marshal.

During the War of the Bavarian Succession in 1778-79, he acted as a volunteer in the army of Frederick the Great and gained the trust of the Prussian king. Once, when Frederick was speaking against Christianity, he noticed a lack of sympathy of Charles' part. In response to an inquiry from the king, Charles said, "Sire, I am not more sure of having the honour of seeing you, than I am that Jesus Christ existed and died for us as our Saviour on the cross." After a moment of surprised silence, Frederick declared, "You are the first man who has ever declared such a belief in my hearing."

In 1788, the Swedish attack on Russia during the Russo Swedish War forced Denmark-Norway to declare war on Sweden in accordance with its 1773 treaty obligations to Russia. Prince Charles was put in command of a Norwegian army which briefly invaded Sweden through Bohuslän and won the Battle of Kvistrum Bridge. The army was closing in on Gothenburg, when peace was signed on 9 July 1789 following the diplomatic intervention of Great Britain and Prussia, bringing this so-called Lingonberry War to an end...

Charles was a remarkable patron of theater and opera. He had his own court theater in Schleswig, and he involved himself extensively in its operations....

In 1814 he was appointed general field marshal, and in 1816 Grand Commander of the Order of the Dannebrog.

The Order of the Dannebrog (Danish: Dannebrogordenen) is a Danish order of chivalry instituted in 1671 by Christian V. Until 1808, membership in the order was limited to fifty members of noble or royal rank, who formed a single class known as White Knights to distinguish them from the Blue Knights who were members of the Order of the Elephant. In 1808, the Order was reformed and divided into four classes.

The Grand Commander class is reserved to persons of princely origin. It is awarded only to royalty with close family ties with the Danish Royal House.

-- Order of the Dannebrog, by Wikipedia

Prince Charles died on 17 August 1836 in the castle of Louisenlund in Güby, Schleswig.

-- Prince Charles of Hesse-Kassel, by Wikipedia

St. Germain used a variety of names and titles, an accepted practice amongst royalty and nobility at the time. These include the Marquis de Montferrat, Comte Bellamarre, Chevalier Schoening, Count Weldon, Comte Soltikoff, Graf Tzarogy and Prinz Ragoczy.[5] In order to deflect inquiries as to his origins, he would make far-fetched claims, such as being 500 years old,[6] leading Voltaire to sarcastically dub him "The Wonderman" and that "He is a man who does not die, and who knows everything".[7] [8]

His real name is unknown while his birth and background are obscure, but towards the end of his life, he claimed that he was a son of Prince Francis II Rákóczi of Transylvania.


Francis II Rákóczi (Hungarian: II. Rákóczi Ferenc, Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈraːkoːt͡si ˈfɛrɛnt͡s]; 27 March 1676 – 8 April 1735) was a Hungarian nobleman and leader of the Hungarian uprising against the Habsburgs in 1703-11 as the prince (Hungarian: fejedelem) of the Estates Confederated for Liberty of the Kingdom of Hungary. He was also Prince of Transylvania, an Imperial Prince, and a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece. Today he is considered a national hero in Hungary.

His full title was: Franciscus II. Dei Gratia Sacri Romani Imperii & Transylvaniae princeps Rakoczi. Particum Regni Hungariae Dominus & Siculorum Comes, Regni Hungariae Pro Libertate Confoederatorum Statuum necnon Munkacsiensis & Makoviczensis Dux, Perpetuus Comes de Saros; Dominus in Patak, Tokaj, Regécz, Ecsed, Somlyó, Lednicze, Szerencs, Onod.

His name is historically also spelled Rákóczy, in Hungarian: II. Rákóczi Ferenc, in Slovak: František II. Rákoci, in German: Franz II. Rákóczi, in Croatian: Franjo II. Rákóczy (Rakoci, Rakoczy), in Romanian: Francisc Rákóczi al II-lea, in Serbian Ференц II Ракоци.

-- Francis II Rákóczi, by Wikipedia

His name has occasionally caused him to be confused with Claude Louis, Comte de Saint-Germain, a noted French general.[9]


The count claimed to be a son of Francis II Rákóczi, the Prince of Transylvania, which could possibly be unfounded.[10] However, this would account for his wealth and fine education.[11] The will of Francis II Rákóczi mentions his eldest son, Leopold George, who was believed to have died at the age of four.[11] The speculation is that his identity was safeguarded as a protective measure from the persecutions against the Habsburg dynasty.[11] At the time of his arrival in Schleswig in 1779, St. Germain told Prince Charles of Hesse-Kassel that he was 88 years old.[12] This would place his birth in 1691, when Francis II Rákóczi was 15 years old.

St. Germain was supposedly educated in Italy by the last of the Medicis, Gian Gastone, his alleged mother's brother-in-law. He was believed to be a student at the University of Siena.[9] Throughout his adult life, he deliberately spun a confusing web to conceal his actual name and origins, using different pseudonyms in the different places of Europe that he visited.

The Marquis de Crequy declared that St. Germain was an Alsatian Jew, Simon Wolff by name, and was born at Strasbourg about the close of the 17th or the beginning of the 18th century; others insist that he was a Spanish Jesuit named Aymar; and others again intimate that his true title was the Marquis de Betmar, and that he was a native of Portugal. The most plausible theory, however, makes him the natural son of an Italian princess and fixes his birth at San Germano, in Savoy, about the year 1710; his ostensible father being one Rotondo, a tax-collector of that district.

— Phineas Taylor Barnum, The Humbugs of the World, 1886.

Historical figure

He appears to have begun to be known under the title of the Count of St Germain during the early 1740s.[13]


According to David Hunter, the count contributed some of the songs to L'incostanza delusa, an opera performed at the Haymarket Theatre in London on all but one of the Saturdays from 9 February to 20 April 1745.[9] Later, in a letter of December of that same year, Horace Walpole mentions the Count St. Germain as being arrested in London on suspicion of espionage (this was during the Jacobite rebellion of 1745), but released without charge:

The other day they seized an odd man, who goes by the name of Count St. Germain. He has been here these two years, and will not tell who he is, or whence, but professes [two wonderful things, the first] that he does not go by his right name; and the second that he never had any dealings with any woman – nay, nor with any succedaneum. He sings, plays on the violin wonderfully, composes, is mad, and not very sensible. He is called an Italian, a Spaniard, a Pole; a somebody that married a great fortune in Mexico, and ran away with her jewels to Constantinople; a priest, a fiddler, a vast nobleman. The Prince of Wales has had unsatiated curiosity about him, but in vain. However, nothing has been made out against him; he is released; and, what convinces me that he is not a gentleman, stays here, and talks of his being taken up for a spy.[14]

The Count gave two private musical performances in London in April and May 1749.[9] On one such occasion, Lady Jemima Yorke [Jemima Yorke, 2nd Marchioness Grey and Countess of Hardwicke (née Campbell; 9 October 1723 – 10 January 1797), was a British peeress.] described how she was 'very much entertain'd by him or at him the whole Time – I mean the Oddness of his Manner which it is impossible not to laugh at, otherwise you know he is very sensible & well-bred in conversation'.[9] She continued:

'He is an Odd Creature, and the more I see him the more curious I am to know something about him. He is everything with everybody: he talks Ingeniously with Mr Wray, Philosophy with Lord Willoughby, and is gallant with Miss Yorke, Miss Carpenter, and all the Young Ladies. But the Character and Philosopher is what he seems to pretend to, and to be a good deal conceited of: the Others are put on to comply with Les Manieres du Monde, but that you are to suppose his real characteristic; and I can't but fancy he is a great Pretender in All kinds of Science, as well as that he really has acquired an uncommon Share in some'.[9]

Walpole reports that St Germain:

'spoke Italian and French with the greatest facility, though it was evident that neither was his language; he understood Polish, and soon learnt to understand English and talk it a little [...] But Spanish or Portuguese seemed his natural language'.[15]

Walpole concludes that the Count was 'a man of Quality who had been in or designed for the Church. He was too great a musician not to have been famous if he had not been a gentleman'.[15] Walpole describes the Count as pale, with 'extremely black' hair and a beard. 'He dressed magnificently, [and] had several jewels' and was clearly receiving 'large remittances, but made no other figure'.[15]


St. Germain appeared in the French court around 1748. In 1749, he was employed by Louis XV for diplomatic missions.[16]

A mime and English comedian known as Mi'Lord Gower impersonated St. Germain in Paris salons. His stories were wilder than the real count's (he had advised Jesus, for example). Inevitably, hearsay of his routine got confused with the original.

Giacomo Casanova describes in his memoirs several meetings with the "celebrated and learned impostor". Of his first meeting, in Paris in 1757, he writes:

The most enjoyable dinner I had was with Madame de Robert Gergi, who came with the famous adventurer, known by the name of the Count de St. Germain. This individual, instead of eating, talked from the beginning of the meal to the end, and I followed his example in one respect as I did not eat, but listened to him with the greatest attention. It may safely be said that as a conversationalist he was unequalled.

St. Germain gave himself out for a marvel and always aimed at exciting amazement, which he often succeeded in doing. He was scholar, linguist, musician, and chemist, good-looking, and a perfect ladies' man. For a while he gave them paints and cosmetics; he flattered them, not that he would make them young again (which he modestly confessed was beyond him) but that their beauty would be preserved by means of a wash which, he said, cost him a lot of money, but which he gave away freely. He had contrived to gain the favour of Madame de Pompadour, who had spoken about him to the king, for whom he had made a laboratory, in which the monarch — a martyr to boredom — tried to find a little pleasure or distraction, at all events, by making dyes. The king had given him a suite of rooms at Chambord, and a hundred thousand francs for the construction of a laboratory, and according to St. Germain the dyes discovered by the king would have a materially beneficial influence on the quality of French fabrics.

This extraordinary man, intended by nature to be the king of impostors and quacks, would say in an easy, assured manner that he was three hundred years old, that he knew the secret of the Universal Medicine, that he possessed a mastery over nature, that he could melt diamonds, professing himself capable of forming, out of ten or twelve small diamonds, one large one of the finest water without any loss of weight. All this, he said, was a mere trifle to him. Notwithstanding his boastings, his bare-faced lies, and his manifold eccentricities, I cannot say I thought him offensive. In spite of my knowledge of what he was and in spite of my own feelings, I thought him an astonishing man as he was always astonishing me.

Dutch Republic

In March 1760, at the height of the Seven Years' War, St. Germain travelled to The Hague. In Amsterdam, he stayed at the bankers Adrian and Thomas Hope and pretended he came to borrow money for Louis XV with diamonds as collateral.[18] He assisted Bertrand Philip, Count of Gronsveld starting a porcelain factory in Weesp as furnace and colour specialist.[19] St. Germain tried to open peace negotiations between Britain and France with the help of Duke Louis Ernest of Brunswick-Lüneburg. British diplomats concluded that St. Germain had the backing of the Duc de Belle-Isle and possibly of Madame de Pompadour, who were trying to outmanoeuvre the French Foreign Minister, the pro-Austrian Duc de Choiseul. However, Britain would not treat with St. Germain unless his credentials came directly from the French king. The Duc de Choiseul convinced Louis XV to disavow St. Germain and demand his arrest. Count Bentinck de Rhoon, a Dutch diplomat, regarded the arrest warrant as internal French politicking, in which Holland should not involve itself. However, a direct refusal to extradite St. Germain was also considered impolitic. De Rhoon, therefore, facilitated the departure of St. Germain to England with a passport issued by the British Ambassador, General Joseph Yorke. This passport was made out "in blank", allowing St. Germain to travel in May 1760 from Hellevoetsluis to London under an assumed name, showing that this practice was officially accepted at the time.[20]

From St. Peterburg, St. Germain travelled to Berlin, Vienna, Milan, Ubbergen, and Zutphen (June 1762),[21][22] Amsterdam (August 1762), Venice (1769), Livorno (1770), Neurenberg (1772), Mantua (1773), The Hague (1774), and Bad Schwalbach.


In 1779, St. Germain arrived in Altona in Schleswig, where he made an acquaintance with Prince Charles of Hesse-Kassel, who also had an interest in mysticism and was a member of several secret societies. The count showed the Prince several of his gems and he convinced the latter that he had invented a new method of colouring cloth. The Prince was impressed and installed the Count in an abandoned factory at Eckernförde he had acquired especially for the Count, and supplied him with the materials and cloths that St. Germain needed to proceed with the project.[23] The two met frequently in the following years, and the Prince outfitted a laboratory for alchemical experiments in his nearby summer residence Louisenlund, where they, among other things, cooperated in creating gemstones and jewelry. The prince later recounts in a letter that he was the only person in whom the count truly confided.[24] He told the prince that he was the son of the Transylvanian Prince Francis II Rákóczi, and that he had been 88 years of age when he arrived in Schleswig.[25]

The count died in his residence in the factory on 27 February 1784, while the prince was staying in Kassel, and the death was recorded in the register of the St. Nicolai Church in Eckernförde.[26] He was buried 2 March and the cost of the burial was listed in the accounting books of the church the following day.[27] The official burial site for the count is at Nicolai Church (German St. Nicolaikirche) in Eckernförde. He was buried in a private grave. On 3 April the same year, the mayor and the city council of Eckernförde issued an official proclamation about the auctioning off of the count's remaining effects in case no living relative would appear within a designated time period to lay claim on them.[28] Prince Charles donated the factory to the crown and it was afterward converted into a hospital.

Jean Overton Fuller found, during her research, that the count's estate upon his death was a packet of paid and receipted bills and quittances, 82 Reichsthalers and 13 shillings (cash), 29 various groups of items of clothing (this includes gloves, stockings, trousers, shirts, etc.), 14 linen shirts, eight other groups of linen items, and various sundries (razors, buckles, toothbrushes, sunglasses, combs, etc.). No diamonds, jewels, gold, or any other riches were listed, nor were kept cultural items from travels, personal items (like his violin), or any notes of correspondence.[29]

Music by the Count

The following list of music comes from Appendix II from Jean Overton Fuller's book The Comte de Saint Germain.[30]

Trio Sonatas

Six sonatas for two violins with a bass for harpsichord or violoncello:

• Op.47 I. F Major, 4/4, Molto Adagio
• Op.48 II. B Flat Major, 4/4, Allegro
• Op.49 III. E Flat Major, 4/4, Adagio
• Op.50 IV. G Minor, 4/4, Tempo giusto
• Op.51 V. G Major, 4/4, Moderato
• Op.52 VI. A Major, 3/4, Cantabile lento

Violin solos

Seven solos for a violin:

• Op.53 I. B Flat Major, 4/4, Largo
• Op.54 II. E Major, 4/4, Adagio
• Op.55 III. C Minor, 4/4, Adagio
• Op.56 IV. E Flat Major, 4/4, Adagio
• Op.57 V. E Flat Major, 4/4, Adagio
• Op.58 VI. A Major, 4/4, Adagio
• Op.59 VII. B Flat Major, 4/4, Adagio

English songs

• Op.4 The Maid That's Made For Love and Me (O Wouldst Thou Know What Sacred Charms). E Flat Major (marked B Flat Major), 3/4
• Op.7 Jove, When He Saw My Fanny's Face. D Major, 3/4
• Op.5 It Is Not That I Love You Less. F Major, 3/4
• Op.6 Gentle Love, This Hour Befriend Me. D Major, 4/4

Italian arias

Numbered in order of their appearance in the Musique Raisonnee, with their page numbers in that volume, * Marks those performed in L'Incostanza Delusa and published in the Favourite Songs[31] from that opera.

• Op.8 I. Padre perdona, oh! pene, G Minor, 4/4, p. 1
• Op.9 II. Non piangete amarti, E Major, 4/4, p. 6
• Op.10 III. Intendo il tuo, F Major, 4/4, p. 11
• Op.1 IV. Senza pieta mi credi*, G Major, 6/8 (marked 3/8 but there are 6 quavers to the bar), p. 16
• Op.11 V. Gia, gia che moria deggio, D Major, 3/4, p. 21
• Op.12 VI. Dille che l'amor mio*, E Major, 4/4, p. 27
• Op.13 VII. Mio ben ricordati, D Major, 3/4, p. 32
• Op.2 VIII. Digli, digli*, D Major, 3/4, p. 36
• Op.3 IX. Per pieta bel Idol mio*, F Major, 3/8, p. 40
• Op.14 X. Non so, quel dolce moto, B Flat Major, 4/4, p. 46
• Op.15 XI. Piango, e ver, ma non procede, G minor, 4/4, p. 51
• Op.16 XII. Dal labbro che t'accende, E Major, 3/4, p. 56
• Op.4/17 XIII. Se mai riviene, D Minor, 3/4, p. 58
• Op.18 XIV. Parlero non e permesso, E Major, 4/4, p. 62
• Op.19 XV. Se tutti i miei pensieri, A Major, 4/4, p. 64
• Op.20 XVI. Guadarlo, guaralo in volto, E Major, 3/4, p. 66
• Op.21 XVII. Oh Dio mancarmi, D Major, 4/4, p. 68
• Op.22 XVIII. Digli che son fedele, E Flat Major, 3/4, p. 70
• Op.23 XIX. Pensa che sei cruda, E Minor, 4/4, p. 72
• Op.24 XX. Torna torna innocente, G Major, 3/8, p. 74
• Op.25 XXI. Un certo non so che veggo, E Major, 4/4, p. 76
• Op.26 XXII. Guardami, guardami prima in volto, D Major, 4/4, p. 78
• Op.27 XXIII. Parto, se vuoi cosi, E Flat Major, 4/4, p. 80
• Op.28 XXIV. Volga al Ciel se ti, D Minor, 3/4, p. 82
• Op.29 XXV. Guarda se in questa volta, F Major, 4/4, p. 84
• Op.30 XXVI. Quanto mai felice, D Major, 3/4, p. 86
• Op.31 XXVII. Ah che neldi'sti, D Major, 4/4, p. 88
• Op.32, XXVIII. Dopp'un tuo Sguardo, F Major, 3/4, p. 90
• Op.33 XXIX. Serbero fra'Ceppi, G major, 4/4, 92
• Op.34 XXX. Figlio se piu non vivi moro, F Major, 4/4, p. 94
• Op.35 XXXI. Non ti respondo, C Major, 3/4, p. 96
• Op.36 XXXII. Povero cor perche palpito, G Major, 3/4, p. 99
• Op.37 XXXIII. Non v'e piu barbaro, C Minor, 3/8, p. 102
• Op.38 XXXIV. Se de'tuoi lumi al fuoco amor, E major, 4/4, p. 106
• Op.39 XXXV. Se tutto tosto me sdegno, E Major, 4/4, p. 109
• Op.40 XXXVI. Ai negli occhi un tel incanto, D Major, 4/4 (marked 2/4 but there are 4 crochets to the bar), p. 112
• Op.41 XXXVII. Come poteste de Dio, F Major, 4/4, p. 116
• Op.42 XXXVIII. Che sorte crudele, G Major, 4/4, p. 119
• Op.43 XXXIX. Se almen potesse al pianto, G Minor, 4/4, p. 122
• Op.44 XXXX. Se viver non posso lunghi, D Major, 3/8, p. 125
• Op.45 XXXXI. Fedel faro faro cara cara, D Major, 3/4, p. 128
• Op.46 XXXXII. Non ha ragione, F Major, 4/4, p. 131

Literature about the Count


The best-known biography is Isabel Cooper-Oakley's The Count of St. Germain (1912), which gives a satisfactory biographical sketch. It is a compilation of letters, diaries, and private records written about the count by members of the French aristocracy who knew him in the 18th century. Another interesting biographical sketch can be found in The History of Magic, by Eliphas Levi, originally published in 1913.[32]

Numerous French and German biographies also have been published, among them Der Wiedergänger: Das zeitlose Leben des Grafen von Saint-Germain by Peter Krassa, Le Comte de Saint-Germain by Marie-Raymonde Delorme, and L'énigmatique Comte De Saint-Germain by Pierre Ceria and François Ethuin. In his work Sages and Seers (1959), Manly Palmer Hall refers to the biography Graf St.-Germain by E. M. Oettinger (1846).[33]

Books attributed to the Count

Discounting the snippets of political intrigue, a few musical pieces, and one mystical poem, there are only two pieces of writing attributed to the Count: La Très Sainte Trinosophie and the untitled Triangular Manuscript.

The first book attributed to the Count of Saint Germain is La Très Sainte Trinosophie (The Most Holy Trinosophia), a beautifully illustrated 18th century manuscript that describes in symbolic terms a journey of spiritual initiation or an alchemical process, depending on the interpretation. This book has been published several times, most notably by Manly P. Hall, in Los Angeles, California, in 1933. The attribution to St. Germain rests on a handwritten note scrawled inside the cover of the original manuscript stating that this was a copy of a text once in St. Germain's possession.[11] However, despite Hall's elaborate introduction describing the Count's legend, The Most Holy Trinosophia shows no definitive connection to him.

La Très Sainte Trinosophie, The Most Holy Trinosophia, or The Most Holy Threefold Wisdom, is a French esoteric book, allegedly authored by Alessandro Cagliostro or the Count of St. Germain. Due to the dearth of evidence of authorship, however, there is significant doubt surrounding the subject. Dated to the late 18th century, the 96-page book is divided into twelve sections representing the twelve zodiacal signs. The veiled content is said to refer to an allegorical initiation, detailing many kabbalistic, alchemical and masonic mysteries. The original MS 2400 at the Library of Troyes is richly illustrated with numerous symbolical plates....

Manly Palmer Hall... cites Dr. Edward C. Getsinger, "an eminent authority on ancient alphabets and languages," in emphasizing that La Très Sainte Trinosophie is couched in secret codes intended to conceal its contents from the profane.

In all my twenty years of experience as a reader of archaic writings I have never encountered such ingenious codes and methods of concealment as are found in this manuscript. In only a few instances are complete phrases written in the same alphabet; usually two or three forms of writing are employed, with letters written upside down, reversed, or with the text written backwards. Vowels are often omitted, and at times several letters are missing with merely dots to indicate their number. Every combination of hieroglyphics seemed hopeless at the beginning, yet, after hours of alphabetic dissection, one familiar word would appear. This gave a clue as to the language used, and established a place where word combination might begin, and then a sentence would gradually unfold.

The various texts are written in Chaldean Hebrew, Ionic Greek, Arabic, Syriac, cuneiform, Greek hieroglyphics, and ideographs. The keynote throughout this material is that of the approach of the age when the Leg of the Grand Man and the Waterman of the Zodiac shall meet in conjunction at the equinox and end a grand 400,000-year cycle. This points to a culmination of eons, as mentioned in the Apocalypse: "Behold! I make a new heaven and a new earth," meaning a series of new cycles and a new humanity.

The personage who gathered the material in this manuscript was indeed one whose spiritual understanding might be envied. He found these various texts in different parts of Europe, no doubt, and that he had a true knowledge of their import is proved by the fact that he attempted to conceal some forty fragmentary ancient texts by scattering them within the lines of his own writing. Yet his own text does not appear to have any connection with these ancient writings. If a decipherer were to be guided by what this eminent scholar wrote he would never decipher the mystery concealed within the cryptic words. There is a marvelous spiritual story written by this savant, and a more wonderful one he interwove within the pattern of his own narrative. The result is a story within a story.












-- The Most Holy Trinosophia, by Wikipedia

The second work attributed to St. Germain is the untitled 18th century manuscript in the shape of a triangle. The two known copies of the Triangular Manuscript exist as Hogart Manuscript 209 and 210 (MS 209 and MS 210). Both currently reside in the Manly Palmer Hall Collection of Alchemical Manuscripts at the Getty Research Library.[34] Nick Koss decoded and translated this manuscript in 2011 and it was published as The Triangular Book of St. Germain by Ouroboros Press in 2015.[35] Unlike the first work, it mentions St. Germain directly as its originator. The book describes a magical ritual by which one can perform the two most extraordinary feats that characterized the legend of Count of St. Germain, namely procurement of great wealth and extension of life.

In Theosophy

Main article: St. Germain (Theosophy)

Myths, legends, and speculations about St. Germain began to be widespread in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and continue today. They include beliefs that he is immortal, the Wandering Jew, an alchemist with the "Elixir of Life", a Rosicrucian, and that he prophesied the French Revolution. He is said to have met the forger Giuseppe Balsamo (alias Cagliostro) in London and the composer Rameau in Venice. Some groups honor Saint Germain as a supernatural being called an ascended master.

Madame Blavatsky and her pupil, Annie Besant, both claimed to have met the count, who was traveling under a different name.

In fiction

The count has inspired a number of fictional creations:

• The German writer Karl May wrote two stories with the Graf von Saint Germain appearing as antagonist: Aqua benedetta (1877) and its largely extended version Ein Fürst des Schwindels (1880).[36]
• The Comte is a significant character in the Victorian time-travel novella, A Peculiar Count In Time, by M.K. Beutymhill.
• The Comte is the main protagonist in an ongoing series of historical romance/horror novels by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.
• The mystic in the Alexander Pushkin story "The Queen of Spades".
• The character of Agliè in the novel Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco is an occultist who claims to be the Count St. Germain.[37]
• He is the main character of the historical mystery novel based on his early adventures, The Man Who Would Not Die, written by Paul Andrews. He is presented as the son of Prince Rákóczi.[38]
• He is a significant character in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, specifically 1992's Dragonfly in Amber, and an apparent time traveler in Gabaldon's spin-off novella, "The Space Between".
• In the novelization The Night Strangler, from the TV film of the same title, it is strongly hinted that the immortal villain, Dr. Richard Malcolm, is actually the Count St. Germain. When asked directly, Malcolm laughs ironically but does not deny it.[39]
• He is the main antagonist in The Ruby Red Trilogy, written by Kerstin Gier. He is the founder of a secret lodge which is controlling people with a time-travelling gene, and he is trying to gain immortality through the said time-travellers.
• In Kōta Hirano's Drifters, the character of count Saint Germi is inspired by him. He is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita in the anime adaptation.
• Robert Rankin's character Professor Slocombe, in the various books of The Brentford Trilogy, is often described as bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Comte; when the Professor annotates the Comte's ancient notebooks, even the handwriting is nearly identical. Another character, now quite old, born in the Victorian era, has stated that Professor Slocombe was an old man even then.
• He is introduced as a supporting character in the novel The Magician, the second book in the fantasy series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott.
• He is a character in Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, where he's a time traveler and voiced by Adam D. Clark. He fights with Zead, who is the avatar of Death.
• He is a character in Netflix's 2017 Castlevania (TV series), appearing as an itinerant magician in search of the "Infinite Corridor" voiced by Bill Nighy.
• He is mentioned in Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army as a time agent, yet the player never meets him.
• He is played by James Marsters in the TV series Warehouse 13. He is an immortal who used a ring with a gem from the Philosopher's stone used to revitalize plants and heal people to accumulate wealth throughout the ages. The ring was taken by Marie-Antoinette and buried in the Catacombs beneath Paris.
• Hoshino Katsura used him as inspiration for the character of the Millennium Earl in the manga series D. Gray Man.
• In Master of Mosquiton Mosquiton's enemy is an immortal demon loosely based on the Count of St. Germain.
• He is portrayed by Miya Rurika in the play Azure Moment by Takarazuka Revue.
• Prominent Bengali fiction author Shariful Hasan made the character Count Saint Germain in his Samvala Trilogy inspired by him.
• The visual novel Code: Realize − Guardian of Rebirth depicts him as an eccentric aristocrat hosting Arsène Lupin, Impey Barbicane, Victor Frankenstein, and Van Helsing in his manor.
• The character of Jack Elderflower in the novel Gather the Fortunes, by Bryan Camp.
• In the tabletop role-playing game Unknown Armies by John Scott Tynes and Greg Stolze, he is the First and Last Man, the only immortal character in the setting, whose lifespan encompasses the first and last lives of human beings.
• He appears as a playable character in the Japanese otome game "Ikemen Vampire" series of stories. In the series, he is the sire and the host for those who he has given a second lease in life including "Napoleon Bonaparte", "Isaac Newton", "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle", "Leonardo da Vinci", "William Shakespeare", "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart", "Vincent Van Gogh", "Theo Van Gogh", "Jeanne d'Arc" who is named as Jean d'Arc and is a man, and "Osamu Dazai" The series portrays him as a kind, mild-mannered, intelligent, respectable and respected nobleman of immeasurable wealth as well as a protective father or older sibling figure to all his residents including his human butler.


1. THE COUNT OF ST. GERMAIN, Johan Franco, Musical Quarterly (1950) XXXVI(4): 540-550
2. Hall, Manley P. (preface) The Music of the Comte de St.Germain Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Society, 1981
3. Isabel Cooper Oakley, p45
4. S. A. Le Landgrave Charles, Prince de Hesse, Mémoires de Mon Temps, p. 135. Copenhagen, 1861.
5. Spellings used are those given in The Comte de St. Germain by Isabel Cooper-Oakley
6. Oliver, George (1855). A Dictionary of Symbolic Masonry: Including the Royal Arch Degree; According to the System Prescribed by the Grand Lodge and Supreme Grand Chapter of England. Jno. W. Leonard. p. 10.
7. Comte de Saint-Germain (French adventurer) - Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 2011-05-07.
8. Frederick II. "Correspondance avec M. de Voltaire." Oevres Posthumes de Frederic II. Tome XIV. Amsterdam, 1789. Pages 255 - 257
9. Hunter, David (2003). "Monsieur le Comte de Saint-Germain: The Great Pretender". The Musical Times. 144 (1885): 40. doi:10.2307/3650726. JSTOR 3650726.
10. The Comte de St. Germain by Isabel Cooper-Oakley. Milan, Italy: Ars Regia, 1912.
11. Franco, Johan (1950). "The Count of St. Germain". The Musical Quarterly. 36 (4): 540–550. doi:10.1093/mq/xxxvi.4.540. JSTOR 739641.
12. S. A. Le Landgrave Charles, Prince de Hesse, Mémoires de Mon Temps, p. 133. Copenhagen, 1861.
14. "Letter to Sir Horace Mann". Project Gutenberg. 9 December 1745.
15. The Yale edition of Horace Walpole correspondence (1712–1784), vol 26, pp20-21
16. Isabel Cooper Oakley, The Comte de St. Germain: the secret of kings (1912), p.94
17. "The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Memoires of Casanova, Complete, by Jacques Casanova de Seingalt". Retrieved 30 April 2013.
18. Gedenkschriften van G.J. Hardenbroek, deel I, p. 160-161, 220-221
19. Forgotten Sources of Information about Dutch Porcelain by NANNE OTTEMA
20. Isabel Cooper Oakley, The Comte de St. Germain: the secret of kings (1912), pp.111-27 and Appendices
21. The Count of Saint-Germain by David Pratt
22. National Archives, p. 11
23. The memoirs of Prince Charles of Hesse-Kassel, (Mémories de mon temps. Dicté par S.A. le Landgrave Charles, Prince de Hesse. Imprimés comme Manuscrit, Copenhagen, 1861). von Lowzow, 1984, pp. 306-8.
24. Letter from Charles of Hesse-Kassel to Prince Christian of Hesse-Darmstadt, April 17, 1825. von Lowzow, 1984, p. 328.
25. von Lowzow, 1984, p. 309.
26. von Lowzow, 1984, p. 323.
27. 10 thaler for renting the plot for 30 years, 2 thaler for the gravedigger, and 12 marks to the bell-ringer. von Lowzow, 1984, p. 324.
28. Schleswig-Holsteinischen Anzeigen auf da Jahr 1784, Glückstadt, 1784, pp. 404, 451. von Lowzow, 1984, pp. 324-25.
29. Overton-Fuller, Jean. The Comte De Saint-Germain. Last Scion of the House of Rakoczy. London, UK: East-West Publications, 1988. Pages 290-296.
30. Overton-Fuller, Jean. The Comte De Saint-Germain. Last Scion of the House of Rakoczy. London, UK: East-West Publications, 1988. Pages 310-312.
31. Saint-Germain, Count de, ed. The Music of the Comte St.Germain. Edited by Manley Hall. Los Angeles, California: Philosophical Research Society, 1981.
32. Levi, Eliphas. The History of Magic. York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1999. ISBN 0-87728-929-8.
33. Hall, Manly P. Sages and Seers. Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Society, 1959. ISBN 0-89314-393-6.
34. CIFA: Search Form Archived 12 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2011-05-07.
35. "TRIANGULAR BOOK OF ST. GERMAIN | Ouroboros Press". Archived from the original on 20 November 2018. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
36. Online texts of Aqua benedetta and Ein Fürst des Schwindels
37. Eco, U. Foucault's Pendulum. London: Random House, 2001. ISBN 978-0-09-928715-5.
38. Andrews, Paul The Man Who Would Not Die. Smashwords, 2014. ISBN 978-131-0547652.
39. Rice, Jeff. The Night Strangler. New York City: Pocket Books, 1974. ISBN 978-0671783525.

Further reading

• Marie Antoinette von Lowzow, Saint-Germain – Den mystiske greve, Dansk Historisk Håndbogsforlag, Copenhagen, 1984. ISBN 978-87-88742-04-6. (in Danish).
• Melton, J. Gordon Encyclopedia of American Religions 5th Edition New York:1996 Gale Research ISBN 0-8103-7714-4 ISSN 1066-1212 Chapter 18--"The Ancient Wisdom Family of Religions" Pages 151-158; see chart on page 154 listing Masters of the Ancient Wisdom; Also see Section 18, Pages 717-757 Descriptions of various Ancient Wisdom religious organizations
• Chrissochoidis, Ilias. "The Music of the Count of St. Germain: An Edition", Society for Eighteenth-Century Music Newsletter 16 (April 2010), [6–7].
• Fleming, Thomas. "The Magnificent Fraud." American Heritage, February 2006 (2006).
• Hausset, Madame du. "The Private Memoirs of Louis XV: Taken from the Memoirs of Madame Du Hausset, Lady's Maid to Madame De Pompadour." ed Nichols Harvard University, 1895.
• Hunter, David. "The Great Pretender." Musical Times, no. Winter 2003 (2003).
• Pope-Hennessey, Una. The Comte De Saint-Germain. Reprint ed, Secret Societies and the French Revolution. Together with Some Kindred Studies by Una Birch. Lexington, Kentucky: Forgotten Books, 1911.
• Saint-Germain, Count de, ed. The Music of the Comte St.Germain. Edited by Manley Hall. Los Angeles, California: Philosophical Research Society, 1981.
• Saint-Germain, Count de. The Most Holy Trinosophia. Forgotten Books, N.D. Reprint, 2008.
• Slemen, Thomas. Strange but True. London: Robinson Publishing, 1998.
• Walpole, Horace. "Letters of Horace Walpole." ed Charles Duke Yonge. New York: Putman's Sons, Dec. 9, 1745.
• d'Adhemar, Madame Comtesse le. "Souvenirs Sur Marie-Antoinette." Paris: Impremerie de Bourgogne et Martinet, 1836.
• Cooper-Oakley, Isabella. The Comte De Saint Germain, the Secret of Kings. 2nd ed. London: Whitefriars Press, 1912.
• SAINT GERMAIN ON ADVANCED ALCHEMY, by David Christopher Lewis, Meru press, ISBN 0981886353

External links

• The Comte de St. Germain (1912) by Isabel Cooper-Oakley, at
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Khazar Khaganate, c. 650–969
Khazar Khaganate, 650–850
Status: Khazar Khaganate
Capital: Balanjar (c. 650–720); Samandar (720s–750); Atil (750 – c. 965–969)
Common languages: Khazar
Religion: Tengrism; Buddhism; Judaism[1]; Christianity; Islam; Paganism; Religious syncretism[2]
• 618–628" Tong Yabghu
• 9th century: Bulan
• 9th century: Obadiah
• 9th century: Zachariah
• 9th century: Manasseh
• 9th century: Benjamin
• 10th century: Aaron
• 10th century: Joseph
• 10th century: David
• 11th century: Georgios
Historical era: Middle Ages
• Established: c. 650
• Sviatoslav's sacking and razing of Atil: 969
850 est.[3]: 3,000,000 km2 (1,200,000 sq mi)
900 est.[4]: 1,000,000 km2 (390,000 sq mi)
• 7th century[note 1]: 1,400,000
Currency: Yarmaq
Preceded by: Western Turkic Khaganate; Old Great Bulgaria
Succeeded by: Cumania; Pechenegs; Kievan Rus

History of the Turkic peoples pre-14th century

Tiele people: The Tiele (Chinese:[x]; pinyin: Tiělè, Turkic *Tegreg "[People of the] Carts"[2]), also transliterated as Dili (Chinese:[x]), Chile (Chinese: [x]), Zhile (Chinese: [x]), Tele (Chinese: [x]) or Gaoche (Chinese: [x]), were a tribal confederation of Turkic ethnic origins living to the north of China and in Central Asia, emerging after the disintegration of the confederacy of the Xiongnu. Chinese sources associate them with the earlier Dingling.

-- Tiele people, by Wikipedia

Göktürks: The Göktürks, Celestial Turks or Blue Turks (Old Turkic: [x] romanized: Türük Bodun; Chinese: [x] Tūjué; Wade-Giles: T'u-chüeh) were a nomadic confederation of Turkic peoples in medieval Inner Asia. The Göktürks, under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan (d. 552) and his sons, succeeded the Rouran Khaganate as the main power in the region and established the Turkic Khaganate, one of several nomadic dynasties which would shape the future geolocation, culture, and dominant beliefs of Turkic peoples.

-- Göktürks, by Wikipedia

Part of a series on the History of Tatarstan


The Khazars (/ˈkɑːzɑːrz/, /ˈxɑː-/; Kuzarim;[6] Turkish: Hazarlar; Azerbaijani: Xəzərlər; Bashkir: Хазарҙар; Tatar: Хәзәрләр, Xäzärlär; Xazar; Persian: خزر‎; Ukrainian: Хоза́ри, Khozáry; Russian: Хаза́ры, Khazáry; Hungarian: Kazárok; Greek: Χάζαροι, Házaroi; Latin: Gazari[7][note 2]/Gasani[note 3][8]) were a semi-nomadic Turkic people with a confederation of Turkic-speaking tribes that in the late 6th century CE established a major commercial empire covering the southeastern section of modern European Russia.[9] The Khazars created what for its duration was the most powerful polity to emerge from the break-up of the Western Turkic Khaganate.[10] Astride a major artery of commerce between Eastern Europe and Southwestern Asia, Khazaria became one of the foremost trading empires of the medieval world, commanding the western marches of the Silk Road and playing a key commercial role as a crossroad between China, the Middle East and Kievan Rus'.[11][12] For some three centuries (c. 650 – 965) the Khazars dominated the vast area extending from the Volga-Don steppes to the eastern Crimea and the northern Caucasus.[13]

Khazaria long served as a buffer state between the Byzantine Empire and both the nomads of the northern steppes and the Umayyad Caliphate, after serving as Byzantium's proxy against the Sasanian Persian empire. The alliance was dropped around 900. Byzantium began to encourage the Alans to attack Khazaria and weaken its hold on Crimea and the Caucasus, while seeking to obtain an entente with the rising Rus' power to the north, which it aspired to convert to Christianity.[14] Between 965 and 969, the Kievan Rus' ruler Sviatoslav I of Kiev conquered the capital Atil and destroyed the Khazar state.

Determining the origins and nature of the Khazars is closely bound with theories of their languages, but it is a matter of intricate difficulty since no indigenous records in the Khazar language survive, and the state was polyglot and polyethnic. The native religion of the Khazars is thought to have been Tengrism, like that of the North Caucasian Huns and other Turkic peoples.[15] The polyethnic populace of the Khazar Khaganate appears to have been a multiconfessional mosaic of pagan, Tengrist, Jewish, Christian and Muslim worshippers.[16] The ruling elite of the Khazars was said by Judah Halevi and Abraham ibn Daud to have converted to Rabbinic Judaism in the 8th century,[17] but the scope of the conversion within the Khazar Khanate remains uncertain.[18]

Proposals of Khazar origins have been made regarding the Bukharan Jews, the Muslim Kumyks, Kazakhs, the Cossacks of the Don region, the Turkic-speaking Krymchaks and their Crimean neighbours the Karaites, to the Moldavian Csángós, the Mountain Jews, Subbotniks and others.[19][20][21] The late 19th century saw the emergence of the theory that the core of today's Ashkenazi Jews are descended from a hypothetical Khazarian Jewish diaspora which migrated westward from modern-day Russia and Ukraine into modern-day France and Germany. Linguistic and genetic studies have not supported the theory of a Khazar connection to Ashkenazi Jewry. The theory still finds occasional support, but most scholars view it with considerable skepticism.[22][18] The theory is sometimes associated with antisemitism[23] and anti-Zionism.[24]


Gyula Németh, following Zoltán Gombocz, derived Khazar from a hypothetical *Qasar reflecting a Turkic root qaz- ("to ramble, to roam") being an hypothetical retracted variant of Common Turkic kez-;[25] however, András Róna-Tas objected that *qaz- is a ghost word.[26] In the fragmentary Tes and Terkhin inscriptions of the Uyğur empire (744–840) the form Qasar is attested, although uncertainty remains whether this represents a personal or tribal name, gradually other hypotheses emerged. Louis Bazin derived it from Turkic qas- ("tyrannize, oppress, terrorize") on the basis of its phonetic similarity to the Uyğur tribal name, Qasar.[note 4] Róna-Tas connects qasar with Kesar, the Pahlavi transcription of the Roman title Caesar.[note 5]

D. M. Dunlop tried to link the Chinese term for "Khazars" to one of the tribal names of the Uyğur Toquz Oğuz, namely the Gésà.[27][28] The objections are that Uyğur Gesa/Qasar was not a tribal name but rather the surname of the chief of the 思结 Sijie tribe (Sogdian: Sikari) of the Toquz Oğuz, and that in Middle Chinese the ethnonym "Khazars", always prefaced with the word Tūjué (Tūjué Kěsà bù:突厥可薩部; Tūjué Hésà:突厥曷薩), is transcribed with characters different from those used to render the Qa- in the Uyğur word 'Qasar'.[note 6][29][30]

After their conversion it is reported that they adopted the Hebrew script,[note 7] and it is likely that, although speaking a Turkic language, the Khazar chancellery under Judaism probably corresponded in Hebrew.[note 8] In Expositio in Matthaeum Evangelistam, Gazari, presumably Khazars, are referred to as the Hunnic people living in the lands of Gog and Magog and said to be circumcised and omnem Judaismum observat, observing all the laws of Judaism.

While the Khazar language went extinct centuries ago, modern Turkic languages still refer to the Caspian Sea as the "Khazar Sea" (cf. Khazar University and Khazar Islands in Baku, Azerbaijan).


Main article: Khazar language

Determining the origins and nature of the Khazars is closely bound with theories of their languages, but it is a matter of intricate difficulty, since no indigenous records in the Khazar language survive, and the state was polyglot and polyethnic.[note 9][note 10] Whereas the royal or ruling elite probably spoke an eastern variety of Shaz Turkic, the subject tribes appear to have spoken varieties of Lir Turkic, such as Oğuric, a language variously identified with Bulğaric, Chuvash, and Hunnish (the latter based upon the assertion of the Persian historian al-Iṣṭakhrī that the Khazar language was different from any other known tongue).[note 11][note 12] One method for tracing their origins consists in analysis of the possible etymologies behind the ethnonym "Khazar".


Tribal origins and early history

The tribes[note 13] that were to comprise the Khazar empire were not an ethnic union, but a congeries of steppe nomads and peoples who came to be subordinated, and subscribed to a core Turkic leadership.[31] Many Turkic groups, such as the Oğuric peoples, including Šarağurs, Oğurs, Onoğurs, and Bulğars who earlier formed part of the Tiĕlè (鐵勒) confederation, are attested quite early, having been driven West by the Sabirs, who in turn fled the Asian Avars, and began to flow into the Volga-Caspian-Pontic zone from as early as the 4th century CE and are recorded by Priscus to reside in the Western Eurasian steppelands as early as 463.[32][33] They appear to stem from Mongolia and South Siberia in the aftermath of the fall of the Hunnic/Xiōngnú nomadic polities. A variegated tribal federation led by these Turks, probably comprising a complex assortment of Iranian,[note 14] proto-Mongolic, Uralic, and Palaeo-Siberian clans, vanquished the Rouran Khaganate of the hegemonic central Asian Avars in 552 and swept westwards, taking in their train other steppe nomads and peoples from Sogdiana.[35]

The ruling family of this confederation may have hailed from the Āshǐnà (阿史那) clan of the West Türkic tribes,[36] although Constantine Zuckerman regards Āshǐnà and their pivotal role in the formation of the Khazars with scepticism.[note 15] Golden notes that Chinese and Arabic reports are almost identical, making the connection a strong one, and conjectures that their leader may have been Yǐpíshèkuì (Chinese:乙毗射匱), who lost power or was killed around 651.[37] Moving west, the confederation reached the land of the Akatziroi,[note 16] who had been important allies of Byzantium in fighting off Attila's army.

Rise of the Khazar state

An embryonic state of Khazaria began to form sometime after 630,[38][39] when it emerged from the breakdown of the larger Göktürk Khaganate. Göktürk armies had penetrated the Volga by 549, ejecting the Avars, who were then forced to flee to the sanctuary of the Hungarian plain. The Āshǐnà clan whose tribal name was Tür(ü)k, appear on the scene by 552, when they overthrew the Rourans and established the Göktürk Qağanate.[note 17] By 568, these Göktürks were probing for an alliance with Byzantium to attack Persia. An internecine war broke out between the senior eastern Göktürks and the junior West Turkic Khaganate some decades later, when on the death of Taspar Qağan, a succession dispute led to a dynastic crisis between Taspar's chosen heir, the Apa Qağan, and the ruler appointed by the tribal high council, Āshǐnà Shètú (阿史那摄图), the Ishbara Qağan.

By the first decades of the 7th century, the Āshǐnà yabgu Tong managed to stabilise the Western division, but upon his death, after providing crucial military assistance to Byzantium in routing the Sasanian army in the Persian heartland,[40][41] the Western Turkic Qağanate dissolved under pressure from the encroaching Tang dynasty armies and split into two competing federations, each consisting of five tribes, collectively known as the "Ten Arrows" (On Oq). Both briefly challenged Tang hegemony in eastern Turkestan. To the West, two new nomadic states arose in the meantime, Old Great Bulgaria under Kubrat, the Duōlù clan leader, and the Nǔshībì subconfederation, also consisting of five tribes.[note 18] The Duōlù challenged the Avars in the Kuban River-Sea of Azov area while the Khazar Qağanate consolidated further westwards, led apparently by an Āshǐnà dynasty. With a resounding victory over the tribes in 657, engineered by General Sū Dìngfāng (蘇定方), Chinese overlordship was imposed to their East after a final mop-up operation in 659, but the two confederations of Bulğars and Khazars fought for supremacy on the western steppeland, and with the ascendency of the latter, the former either succumbed to Khazar rule or, as under Asparukh, Kubrat's son, shifted even further west across the Danube to lay the foundations of the First Bulgarian Empire in the Balkans (c. 679).[42][43]

The Qağanate of the Khazars thus took shape out of the ruins of this nomadic empire as it broke up under pressure from the Tang dynasty armies to the east sometime between 630 and 650.[37] After their conquest of the lower Volga region to the East and an area westwards between the Danube and the Dniepr, and their subjugation of the Onoğur-Bulğar union, sometime around 670, a properly constituted Khazar Qağanate emerges,[44] becoming the westernmost successor state of the formidable Göktürk Qağanate after its disintegration. According to Omeljan Pritsak, the language of the Onoğur-Bulğar federation was to become the lingua franca of Khazaria[45] as it developed into what Lev Gumilev called a 'steppe Atlantis' (stepnaja Atlantida/ Степная Атлантида).[46] Historians have often referred to this period of Khazar domination as the Pax Khazarica since the state became an international trading hub permitting Western Eurasian merchants safe transit across it to pursue their business without interference.[47] The high status soon to be accorded this empire to the north is attested by Ibn al-Balḫî's Fârsnâma (c. 1100), which relates that the Sasanian Shah, Ḫusraw 1, Anûsîrvân, placed three thrones by his own, one for the King of China, a second for the King of Byzantium, and a third for the king of the Khazars. Although anachronistic in retrodating the Khazars to this period, the legend, in placing the Khazar qağan on a throne with equal status to kings of the other two superpowers, bears witness to the reputation won by the Khazars from early times.[48][49]

Khazar state: culture and institutions

Royal Diarchy with sacral Qağanate

Khazaria developed a Dual kingship governance structure,[note 19] typical among Turkic nomads, consisting of a shad/bäk and a qağan.[50] The emergence of this system may be deeply entwined with the conversion to Judaism.[51] According to Arabic sources, the lesser king was called îšâ and the greater king Khazar xâqân; the former managed and commanded the military, while the greater king's role was primarily sacral, less concerned with daily affairs. The greater king was recruited from the Khazar house of notables (ahl bait ma'rûfīn) and, in an initiation ritual, was nearly strangled until he declared the number of years he wished to reign, on the expiration of which he would be killed by the nobles.[note 20][52][53][note 21] The deputy ruler would enter the presence of the reclusive greater king only with great ceremony, approaching him barefoot to prostrate himself in the dust and then light a piece of wood as a purifying fire, while waiting humbly and calmly to be summoned.[54] Particularly elaborate rituals accompanied a royal burial. At one period, travellers had to dismount, bow before the ruler's tomb, and then walk away on foot.[55] Subsequently, the charismatic sovereign's burial place was hidden from view, with a palatial structure ('Paradise') constructed and then hidden under rerouted river water to avoid disturbance by evil spirits and later generations. Such a royal burial ground (qoruq) is typical of inner Asian peoples.[56] Both the îšâ and the xâqân converted to Judaism sometime in the 8th century, while the rest, according to the Persian traveller Ahmad ibn Rustah, probably followed the old Tūrkic religion.[57][note 22]

Ruling elite

The ruling stratum, like that of the later Činggisids within the Golden Horde, was a relatively small group that differed ethnically and linguistically from its subject peoples, meaning the Alano-As and Oğuric Turkic tribes, who were numerically superior within Khazaria.[58] The Khazar Qağans, while taking wives and concubines from the subject populations, were protected by a Khwârazmian guard corps, or comitatus, called the Ursiyya.[note 23][note 24] But unlike many other local polities, they hired soldiers (mercenaries) (the junûd murtazîqa in al-Mas'ûdî).[59] At the peak of their empire, the Khazars ran a centralised fiscal administration, with a standing army of some 7–12,000 men, which could, at need, be multiplied two or three times that number by inducting reserves from their nobles' retinues.[60][note 25] Other figures for the permanent standing army indicate that it numbered as many as one hundred thousand. They controlled and exacted tribute from 25 to 30 different nations and tribes inhabiting the vast territories between the Caucasus, the Aral Sea, the Ural Mountains, and the Ukrainian steppes.[61] Khazar armies were led by the Qağan Bek (pronounced as Kagan Bek) and commanded by subordinate officers known as tarkhans. When the bek sent out a body of troops, they would not retreat under any circumstances. If they were defeated, every one who returned was killed.[62]

Settlements were governed by administrative officials known as tuduns. In some cases, such as the Byzantine settlements in southern Crimea, a tudun would be appointed for a town nominally within another polity's sphere of influence. Other officials in the Khazar government included dignitaries referred to by ibn Fadlan as Jawyshyghr and Kündür, but their responsibilities are unknown.


It has been estimated that from 25 to 28 distinct ethnic groups made up the population of the Khazar Qağanate, aside from the ethnic elite. The ruling elite seems to have been constituted out of nine tribes/clans, themselves ethnically heterogeneous, spread over perhaps nine provinces or principalities, each of which would have been allocated to a clan.[52] In terms of caste or class, some evidence suggests that there was a distinction, whether racial or social is unclear, between "White Khazars" (ak-Khazars) and "Black Khazars" (qara-Khazars).[52] The 10th-century Muslim geographer al-Iṣṭakhrī claimed that the White Khazars were strikingly handsome with reddish hair, white skin, and blue eyes, while the Black Khazars were swarthy, verging on deep black, as if they were "some kind of Indian".[63] Many Turkic nations had a similar (political, not racial) division between a "white" ruling warrior caste and a "black" class of commoners; the consensus among mainstream scholars is that Istakhri was confused by the names given to the two groups.[64] However, Khazars are generally described by early Arab sources as having a white complexion, blue eyes, and reddish hair.[65][66] The ethnonym in the Tang Chinese annals, Āshǐnà (阿史那), often accorded a key role in the Khazar leadership, may reflect an Eastern Iranian or Tokharian word (Khotanese Saka âşşeina-āššsena 'blue'): Middle Persian axšaêna ('dark-coloured'): Tokharian A âśna ('blue', 'dark').[6] The distinction appears to have survived the collapse of the Khazarian empire. Later Russian chronicles, commenting on the role of the Khazars in the magyarisation of Hungary, refer to them as "White Oghurs" and Magyars as "Black Oghurs".[67] Studies of the physical remains, such as skulls at Sarkel, have revealed a mixture of Slavic, other European, and a few Mongolian types.[64]


The import and export of foreign wares, and the revenues derived from taxing their transit, was a hallmark of the Khazar economy, although it is said also to have produced isinglass.[68] Distinctively among the nomadic steppe polities, the Khazar Qağanate developed a self-sufficient domestic Saltovo[69] economy, a combination of traditional pastoralism – allowing sheep and cattle to be exported – extensive agriculture, abundant use of the Volga's rich fishing stocks, together with craft manufacture, with a diversification in lucrative returns from taxing international trade given its pivotal control of major trade routes. The Khazars constituted one of the two great furnishers of slaves to the Muslim market (the other being the Iranian Sâmânid amîrs), supplying it with captured Slavs and tribesmen from the Eurasian northlands.[70] It was profits from the latter which enabled it to maintain a standing army of Khwarezm Muslim troops. The capital Atil reflected the division: Kharazān on the western bank where the king and his Khazar elite, with a retinue of some 4,000 attendants, dwelt, and Itil proper to the East, inhabited by Jews, Christians, Muslims and slaves and by craftsmen and foreign merchants.[note 26] The ruling elite wintered in the city and spent from spring to late autumn in their fields. A large irrigated greenbelt, drawing on channels from the Volga river, lay outside the capital, where meadows and vineyards extended for some 20 farsakhs (c. 60 miles).[71] While customs duties were imposed on traders, and tribute and tithes were exacted from 25 to 30 tribes, with a levy of one sable skin, squirrel pelt, sword, dirham per hearth or ploughshare, or hides, wax, honey and livestock, depending on the zone. Trade disputes were handled by a commercial tribunal in Atil consisting of seven judges, two for each of the monotheistic inhabitants (Jews, Muslims, Christians) and one for the pagans.[note 27]

Khazars and Byzantium

See also: Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 and Third Perso-Turkic War

Byzantine diplomatic policy towards the steppe peoples generally consisted of encouraging them to fight among themselves. The Pechenegs provided great assistance to the Byzantines in the 9th century in exchange for regular payments.[72] Byzantium also sought alliances with the Göktürks against common enemies: in the early 7th century, one such alliance was brokered with the Western Tűrks against the Persian Sasanians in the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628. The Byzantines called Khazaria Tourkía, and by the 9th century referred to the Khazars as 'Turks'.[note 28] During the period leading up to and after the siege of Constantinople in 626, Heraclius sought help via emissaries, and eventually personally, from a Göktürk chieftain[note 29] of the Western Turkic Khaganate, Tong Yabghu Qağan, in Tiflis, plying him with gifts and the promise of marriage to his daughter, Epiphania.[74] Tong Yabghu responded by sending a large force to ravage the Persian empire, marking the start of the Third Perso-Turkic War.[75] A joint Byzantine-Tűrk operation breached the Caspian gates and sacked Derbent in 627. Together they then besieged Tiflis, where the Byzantines may have deployed an early variety of traction trebuchets (ἑλέπόλεις) to breach the walls. After the campaign, Tong Yabghu is reported, perhaps with some exaggeration, to have left some 40,000 troops behind with Heraclius.[76] Although occasionally identified with Khazars, the Göktürk identification is more probable since the Khazars only emerged from that group after the fragmentation of the former sometime after 630.[38][39] Some scholars argued that Sasanian Persia never recovered from the devastating defeat wrought by this invasion.[note 30]

Khazar Khaganate and surrounding states, c. 820 (area of direct Khazar control in dark blue, sphere of influence in purple).

Once the Khazars emerged as a power, the Byzantines also began to form alliances with them, dynastic and military. In 695, the last Heraclian emperor, Justinian II, nicknamed "the slit-nosed" (ὁ ῥινότμητος) after he was mutilated and deposed, was exiled to Cherson in the Crimea, where a Khazar governor (tudun) presided. He escaped into Khazar territory in 704 or 705 and was given asylum by qağan Busir Glavan (Ἰβουζήρος Γλιαβάνος), who gave him his sister in marriage, perhaps in response to an offer by Justinian, who may have thought a dynastic marriage would seal by kinship a powerful tribal support for his attempts to regain the throne.[77] The Khazarian spouse thereupon changed her name to Theodora.[78] Busir was offered a bribe by the Byzantine usurper, Tiberius III, to kill Justinian. Warned by Theodora, Justinian escaped, murdering two Khazar officials in the process. He fled to Bulgaria, whose Khan Tervel helped him regain the throne. Upon his reinstalment, and despite Busir's treachery during his exile, he sent for Theodora; Busir complied, and she was crowned as Augusta, suggesting that both prized the alliance.[79][80]

Decades later, Leo III (ruled 717–741) made a similar alliance to co-ordinate strategy against a common enemy, the Muslim Arabs. He sent an embassy to the Khazar qağan Bihar and married his son, the future Constantine V (ruled 741–775), to Bihar's daughter, a princess referred to as Tzitzak, in 732. On converting to Christianity, she took the name Irene. Constantine and Irene had a son, the future Leo IV (775–780), who thereafter bore the sobriquet, "the Khazar".[81][82] Leo died in mysterious circumstances after his Athenian wife bore him a son, Constantine VI, who on his majority co-ruled with his mother, the dowager. He proved unpopular, and his death ended the dynastic link of the Khazars to the Byzantine throne.[citation needed] By the 8th century, Khazars dominated the Crimea (650–c. 950), and even extended their influence into the Byzantine peninsula of Cherson until it was wrested back in the 10th century.[83] Khazar and Farghânian (Φάργανοι) mercenaries constituted part of the imperial Byzantine Hetaireia bodyguard after its formation in 840, a position that could openly be purchased by a payment of seven pounds of gold.[84][85]

Arab–Khazar wars

Main article: Arab–Khazar wars

During the 7th and 8th centuries, the Khazars fought a series of wars against the Umayyad Caliphate and its Abbasid successor. The First Arab-Khazar War began during the first phase of Muslim expansion. By 640, Muslim forces had reached Armenia; in 642 they launched their first raid across the Caucasus under Abd ar-Rahman ibn Rabiah. In 652 Arab forces advanced on the Khazar capital, Balanjar, but were defeated, suffering heavy losses; according to Persian historians such as al-Tabari, both sides in the battle used catapults against the opposing troops. A number of Russian sources give the name of a Khazar khagan from this period as Irbis and describe him as a scion of the Göktürk royal house, the Ashina. Whether Irbis ever existed is open to debate, as is whether he can be identified with one of the many Göktürk rulers of the same name.

Due to the outbreak of the First Muslim Civil War and other priorities, the Arabs refrained from repeating an attack on the Khazars until the early 8th century.[86] The Khazars launched a few raids into Transcaucasian principalities under Muslim dominion, including a large-scale raid in 683–685 during the Second Muslim Civil War that rendered much booty and many prisoners.[87] There is evidence from the account of al-Tabari that the Khazars formed a united front with the remnants of the Göktürks in Transoxiana.

Caucasus region, c. 740

The Second Arab-Khazar War began with a series of raids across the Caucasus in the early 8th century. The Umayyads tightened their grip on Armenia in 705 after suppressing a large-scale rebellion. In 713 or 714, Umayyad general Maslamah conquered Derbent and drove deeper into Khazar territory. The Khazars launched raids in response into Albania and Iranian Azerbaijan but were driven back by the Arabs under Hasan ibn al-Nu'man.[88] The conflict escalated in 722 with an invasion by 30,000 Khazars into Armenia inflicting a crushing defeat. Caliph Yazid II responded, sending 25,000 Arab troops north, swiftly driving the Khazars back across the Caucasus, recovering Derbent, and advancing on Balanjar. The Arabs broke through the Khazar defence and stormed the city; most of its inhabitants were killed or enslaved, but a few managed to flee north.[87] Despite their success, the Arabs had not yet defeated the Khazar army, and they retreated south of the Caucasus.

In 724, Arab general al-Jarrah ibn Abdallah al-Hakami inflicted a crushing defeat on the Khazars in a long battle between the rivers Cyrus and Araxes, then moved on to capture Tiflis, bringing Caucasian Iberia under Muslim suzerainty. The Khazars struck back in 726, led by a prince named Barjik, launching a major invasion of Albania and Azerbaijan; by 729, the Arabs had lost control of northeastern Transcaucasia and were thrust again into the defensive. In 730, Barjik invaded Iranian Azerbaijan and defeated Arab forces at Ardabil, killing the general al-Djarrah al-Hakami and briefly occupying the town. Barjik was defeated and killed the next year at Mosul, where he directed Khazar forces from a throne mounted with al-Djarrah's severed head[citation needed]. In 737, Marwan Ibn Muhammad entered Khazar territory under the guise of seeking a truce. He then launched a surprise attack in which The Qaghan fled north and the Khazars surrendered.[89] The Arabs did not have resources to influence affairs of Transcaucasia.[89] The Qağan was forced to accept terms involving conversion to Islam, and to subject himself to the Caliphate, but the accommodation was short-lived as a combination of internal instability among the Umayyads and Byzantine support undid the agreement within three years, and the Khazars re-asserted their independence.[90] The suggestion that the Khazars adopted Judaism as early as 740 is based on the idea that, in part, it was, a re-assertion of independence with regard to both Byzantium and the Caliphate, while conforming to a general Eurasian trend to embrace a world religion.[note 31]

Whatever the impact of Marwan's campaigns, warfare between the Khazars and the Arabs ceased for more than two decades after 737. Arab raids continued until 741, but their control in the region was limited as maintaining a large garrison at Derbent further depleted the already overstretched army. A third Muslim civil war soon broke out, leading to the Abbasid Revolution and the fall of the Umayyad dynasty in 750.

In 758, the Abbasid Caliph al-Mansur attempted to strengthen diplomatic ties with the Khazars, ordering Yazid ibn Usayd al-Sulami, one of his nobles and the military governor of Armenia, to take a royal Khazar bride. Yazid married a daughter of Khazar Khagan Baghatur, but she died inexplicably, possibly in childbirth. Her attendants returned home, convinced that some Arab faction had poisoned her, and her father was enraged. Khazar general Ras Tarkhan invaded south of the Caucasus in 762–764, devastating Albania, Armenia, and Iberia, and capturing Tiflis. Thereafter relations became increasingly cordial between the Khazars and the Abbasids, whose foreign policies were generally less expansionist than the Umayyads, broken only by a series of raids in 799 over another failed marriage alliance.

Rise of the Rus' and the collapse of the Khazarian state

Trade routes of the Black Sea region, 8th–11th centuries

By the 9th century, groups of Varangian Rus', developing a powerful warrior-merchant system, began probing south down the waterways controlled by the Khazars and their protectorate, the Volga Bulgarians, partially in pursuit of the Arab silver that flowed north for hoarding through the Khazarian-Volga Bulgarian trading zones,[note 32] partially to trade in furs and ironwork.[note 33] Northern mercantile fleets passing Atil were tithed, as they were at Byzantine Cherson.[91] Their presence may have prompted the formation of a Rus' state by convincing the Slavs, Merja and the Chud' to unite to protect common interests against Khazarian exactions of tribute. It is often argued that a Rus' Khaganate modelled on the Khazarian state had formed to the east, and that the Varangian chieftain of the coalition appropriated the title of qağan (khagan) as early as the 830s: the title survived to denote the princes of Kievan Rus', whose capital, Kyiv, is often associated with a Khazarian foundation.[92][93][note 34][note 35] The construction of the Sarkel fortress, with technical assistance from Khazaria's Byzantine ally at the time, together with the minting of an autonomous Khazar coinage around the 830s, may have been a defensive measure against emerging threats from Varangians to the north and from the Magyars on the eastern steppe.[note 36][note 37] By 860, the Rus' had penetrated as far as Kyiv and, via the Dnieper, Constantinople.[96]

Site of the Khazar fortress at Sarkel (aerial photo from excavations conducted by Mikhail Artamonov in the 1950s).

Alliances often shifted. Byzantium, threatened by Varangian Rus' raiders, would assist Khazaria, and Khazaria at times allowed the northerners to pass through their territory in exchange for a portion of the booty.[97] From the beginning of the 10th century, the Khazars found themselves fighting on multiple fronts as nomadic incursions were exacerbated by uprisings by former clients and invasions from former allies. The pax Khazarica was caught in a pincer movement between steppe Pechenegs and the strengthening of an emergent Rus' power to the north, both undermining Khazaria's tributary empire.[98] According to the Schechter Text, the Khazar ruler King Benjamin (ca.880–890) fought a battle against the allied forces of five lands whose moves were perhaps encouraged by Byzantium.[note 38] Although Benjamin was victorious, his son Aaron II faced another invasion, this time led by the Alans, whose leader had converted to Christianity and entered into an alliance with Byzantium, which, under Leo VI the Wise, encouraged them to fight against the Khazars.

By the 880s, Khazar control of the Middle Dnieper from Kyiv, where they collected tribute from Eastern Slavic tribes, began to wane as Oleg of Novgorod wrested control of the city from the Varangian warlords Askold and Dir, and embarked on what was to prove to be the foundation of a Rus' empire.[99] The Khazars had initially allowed the Rus' to use the trade route along the Volga River, and raid southwards. See Caspian expeditions of the Rus'. According to Al-Mas'udi, the qağan is said to have given his assent on the condition that the Rus' give him half of the booty.[97] In 913, however, two years after Byzantium concluded a peace treaty with the Rus' in 911, a Varangian foray, with Khazar connivance, through Arab lands led to a request to the Khazar throne by the Khwârazmian Islamic guard for permission to retaliate against the large Rus' contingent on its return. The purpose was to revenge the violence the Rus' razzias had inflicted on their fellow Muslim believers.[note 39] The Rus' force was thoroughly routed and massacred.[97] The Khazar rulers closed the passage down the Volga to the Rus', sparking a war. In the early 960s, Khazar ruler Joseph wrote to Hasdai ibn Shaprut about the deterioration of Khazar relations with the Rus': 'I protect the mouth of the river (Itil-Volga) and prevent the Rus arriving in their ships from setting off by sea against the Ishmaelites and (equally) all (their) enemies from setting off by land to Bab.'[note 40]

Sviatoslav I of Kiev (in boat), destroyer of the Khazar Khaganate.[note 41]

The Rus' warlords launched several wars against the Khazar Qağanate, and raided down to the Caspian sea. The Schechter Letter relates the story of a campaign against Khazaria by HLGW (recently identified as Oleg of Chernigov) around 941 in which Oleg was defeated by the Khazar general Pesakh.[100] The Khazar alliance with the Byzantine empire began to collapse in the early 10th century. Byzantine and Khazar forces may have clashed in the Crimea, and by the 940s emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus was speculating in De Administrando Imperio about ways in which the Khazars could be isolated and attacked. The Byzantines during the same period began to attempt alliances with the Pechenegs and the Rus', with varying degrees of success. Sviatoslav I finally succeeded in destroying Khazar imperial power in the 960s, in a circular sweep that overwhelmed Khazar fortresses like Sarkel and Tamatarkha, and reached as far as the Caucasian Kassogians/Circassians[note 42] and then back to Kyiv.[101] Sarkel fell in 965, with the capital city of Atil following, c. 968 or 969.

In the Russian chronicle the vanquishing of the Khazar traditions is associated with Vladimir's conversion in 986.[102] According to the Primary Chronicle, in 986 Khazar Jews were present at Vladimir's disputation to decide on the prospective religion of the Kievan Rus'.[103] Whether these were Jews who had settled in Kyiv or emissaries from some Jewish Khazar remnant state is unclear. Conversion to one of the faiths of the people of Scripture was a precondition to any peace treaty with the Arabs, whose Bulgar envoys had arrived in Kyiv after 985.[104]

A visitor to Atil wrote soon after the sacking of the city that its vineyards and garden had been razed, that not a grape or raisin remained in the land, and not even alms for the poor were available.[105] An attempt to rebuild may have been undertaken, since Ibn Hawqal and al-Muqaddasi refer to it after that date, but by Al-Biruni's time (1048) it was in ruins.[note 43]

Aftermath: impact, decline and dispersion

Although Poliak argued that the Khazar kingdom did not wholly succumb to Sviatoslav's campaign, but lingered on until 1224, when the Mongols invaded Rus',[106][107] by most accounts, the Rus'-Oghuz campaigns left Khazaria devastated, with perhaps many Khazarian Jews in flight,[108] and leaving behind at best a minor rump state. It left little trace, except for some placenames,[note 44] and much of its population was undoubtedly absorbed in successor hordes.[109] Al-Muqaddasi, writing ca.985, mentions Khazar beyond the Caspian sea as a district of 'woe and squalor', with honey, many sheep and Jews.[110] Kedrenos mentions a joint Rus'-Byzantine attack on Khazaria in 1016, which defeated its ruler Georgius Tzul. The name suggests Christian affiliations. The account concludes by saying, that after Tzul's defeat, the Khazar ruler of "upper Media", Senaccherib, had to sue for peace and submission.[111] In 1024 Mstislav of Chernigov (one of Vladimir's sons) marched against his brother Yaroslav with an army that included "Khazars and Kassogians" in a repulsed attempt to restore a kind of 'Khazarian'-type dominion over Kyiv.[101] Ibn al-Athir's mention of a 'raid of Faḍlūn the Kurd against the Khazars' in 1030 CE, in which 10,000 of his men were vanquished by the latter, has been taken as a reference to such a Khazar remnant, but Barthold identified this Faḍlūn as Faḍl ibn Muḥammad and the 'Khazars' as either Georgians or Abkhazians.[112][113] A Kievian prince named Oleg, grandson of Jaroslav was reportedly kidnapped by "Khazars" in 1079 and shipped off to Constantinople, although most scholars believe that this is a reference to the Cumans-Kipchaks or other steppe peoples then dominant in the Pontic region. Upon his conquest of Tmutarakan in the 1080s Oleg Sviatoslavich, son of a prince of Chernigov, gave himself the title "Archon of Khazaria".[101] In 1083 Oleg is said to have exacted revenge on the Khazars after his brother Roman was killed by their allies, the Polovtsi/Cumans. After one more conflict with these Polovtsi in 1106, the Khazars fade from history.[111] By the 13th century they survived in Russian folklore only as 'Jewish heroes' in the 'land of the Jews'. (zemlya Jidovskaya).[114]

By the end of the 12th century, Petachiah of Ratisbon reported travelling through what he called "Khazaria", and had little to remark on other than describing its minim (sectaries) living amidst desolation in perpetual mourning.[115] The reference seems to be to Karaites.[116] The Franciscan missionary William of Rubruck likewise found only impoverished pastures in the lower Volga area where Ital once lay.[71] Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, the papal legate to the court of the Mongol Khan Guyuk at that time, mentioned an otherwise unattested Jewish tribe, the Brutakhi, perhaps in the Volga region. Although connections are made to the Khazars, the link is based merely on a common attribution of Judaism.[117]

The Pontic steppes, c. 1015 (areas in blue possibly still under Khazar control).

The 10th century Zoroastrian Dênkart registered the collapse of Khazar power in attributing its eclipse to the enfeebling effects of 'false' religion.[note 45] The decline was contemporary to that suffered by the Transoxiana Sāmānid empire to the east, both events paving the way for the rise of the Great Seljuq Empire, whose founding traditions mention Khazar connections.[118][note 46] Whatever successor entity survived, it could no longer function as a bulwark against the pressure east and south of nomad expansions. By 1043, Kimeks and Qipchaqs, thrusting westwards, pressured the Oğuz, who in turn pushed the Pechenegs west towards Byzantium's Balkan provinces.[119]

Khazaria nonetheless left its mark on the rising states and some of their traditions and institutions. Much earlier, Tzitzak, the Khazar wife of Leo III, introduced into the Byzantine court the distinctive kaftan or riding habit of the nomadic Khazars, the tzitzakion (τζιτζάκιον), and this was adopted as a solemn element of imperial dress.[note 47] The orderly hierarchical system of succession by 'scales' (lestvichnaia sistema:лествичная система) to the Grand Principate of Kyiv was arguably modelled on Khazar institutions, via the example of the Rus' Khaganate.[121]

The proto-Hungarian Pontic tribe, while perhaps threatening Khazaria as early as 839 (Sarkel), practiced their institutional model, such as the dual rule of a ceremonial kende-kündü and a gyula administering practical and military administration, as tributaries of the Khazars. A dissident group of Khazars, the Qabars, joined the Hungarians in their migration westwards as they moved into Pannonia. Elements within the Hungarian population can be viewed as perpetuating Khazar traditions as a successor state. Byzantine sources refer to Hungary as Western Tourkia in contrast to Khazaria, Eastern Tourkia. The gyula line produced the kings of medieval Hungary through descent from Árpád, while the Qabars retained their traditions longer, and were known as "black Hungarians" (fekete magyarság). Some archaeological evidence from Čelarevo suggests the Qabars practised Judaism[122][123][124] since warrior graves with Jewish symbols were found there, including menorahs, shofars, etrogs, lulavs, candlesnuffers, ash collectors, inscriptions in Hebrew, and a six-pointed star identical to the Star of David.[125][126]

Seal discovered in excavations at Khazar sites. However, rather than having been made by Jews, these appear to be shamanistic sun discs.[note 48]

The Khazar state was not the only Jewish state to rise between the fall of the Second Temple (67–70 CE) and the establishment of Israel (1948). A second state in Yemen also adopted Judaism in the 4th century, lasting until the rise of Islam.[127]

The Khazar kingdom is said to have stimulated messianic aspirations for a return to Israel as early as Judah Halevi.[128] In the time of the Egyptian vizier Al-Afdal Shahanshah (d. 1121), one Solomon ben Duji, often identified as a Khazarian Jew,[note 49] attempted to advocate for a messianic effort for the liberation of, and return of all Jews to, Palestine. He wrote to many Jewish communities to enlist support. He eventually moved to Kurdistan where his son Menachem some decades later assumed the title of Messiah and, raising an army for this purpose, took the fortress of Amadiya north of Mosul. His project was opposed by the rabbinical authorities and he was poisoned in his sleep. One theory maintains that the Star of David, until then a decorative motif or magical emblem, began to assume its national value in late Jewish tradition from its earlier symbolic use by Menachem.[129]

The word Khazar, as an ethnonym, was last used in the 13th century by a people in the North Caucasus believed to practice Judaism.[130] The nature of a hypothetical Khazar diaspora, Jewish or otherwise, is disputed. Avraham ibn Daud mentions encountering rabbinical students descended from Khazars as far away as Toledo, Spain in the 1160s.[131] Khazar communities persisted here and there. Many Khazar mercenaries served in the armies of the Islamic Caliphates and other states. Documents from medieval Constantinople attest to a Khazar community mingled with the Jews of the suburb of Pera.[132] Khazar merchants were active in both Constantinople and Alexandria in the 12th century.[133]



Main article: Tengrism

Direct sources for Khazar religion are not many, but in all likelihood they originally engaged in a traditional Turkic form of cultic practices known as Tengrism, which focused on the sky god Tengri. Something of its nature may be deduced from what we know of the rites and beliefs of contiguous tribes, such as the North Caucasian Huns. Horse sacrifices were made to this supreme deity. Rites involved offerings to fire, water, and the moon, to remarkable creatures, and to "gods of the road" (cf. Old Türk yol tengri, perhaps a god of fortune). Sun amulets were widespread as cultic ornaments. A tree cult was also maintained. Whatever was struck by lightning, man or object, was considered a sacrifice to the high god of heaven. The afterlife, to judge from excavations of aristocratic tumuli, was much a continuation of life on earth, warriors being interred with their weapons, horses, and sometimes with human sacrifices: the funeral of one tudrun in 711-12 saw 300 soldiers killed to accompany him to the otherworld. Ancestor worship was observed. The key religious figure appears to have been a shaman-like qam,[134] and it was these (qozmím) that were, according to the Khazar Hebrew conversion stories, driven out.

Many sources suggest, and a notable number of scholars have argued, that the charismatic Āshǐnà clan played a germinal role in the early Khazar state, although Zuckerman dismisses the widespread notion of their pivotal role as a 'phantom'. The Āshǐnà were closely associated with the Tengri cult, whose practices involved rites performed to assure a tribe of heaven's protective providence.[135] The qağan was deemed to rule by virtue of qut, "the heavenly mandate/good fortune to rule."[136][note 50]


Khazaria long served as a buffer state between the Byzantine empire and both the nomads of the northern steppes and the Umayyad empire, after serving as Byzantium's proxy against the Sasanian Persian empire. The alliance was dropped around 900. Byzantium began to encourage the Alans to attack Khazaria and weaken its hold on Crimea and the Caucasus, while seeking to obtain an entente with the rising Rus' power to the north, which it aspired to convert to Christianity.[14]

On Khazaria's southern flank, both Islam and Byzantine Christianity were proselytising great powers. Byzantine success in the north was sporadic, although Armenian and Albanian missions from Derbend built churches extensively in maritime Daghestan, then a Khazar district.[137] Buddhism also had exercised an attraction on leaders of both the Eastern (552–742) and Western Qağanates (552–659), the latter being the progenitor of the Khazar state.[138] In 682, according to the Armenian chronicle of Movsês Dasxuranc'i, the king of Caucasian Albania, Varaz Trdat, dispatched a bishop, Israyêl, to convert Caucasian "Huns" who were subject to the Khazars, and managed to convince Alp Ilut'uêr, a son-in-law of the Khazar qağan, and his army, to abandon their shamanising cults and join the Christian fold.[139][note 51]

The Arab Georgian martyr St Abo, who converted to Christianity within the Khazar kingdom around 779-80, describes local Khazars as irreligious.[note 52] Some reports register a Christian majority at Samandar,[note 53] or Muslim majorities.[note 54]


The Khazar "Moses coin" found in the Spillings Hoard and dated c. 800. It is inscribed with "Moses is the messenger of God" instead of the usual Muslim text "Muhammad is the messenger of God".

The conversion of Khazars to Judaism is reported by external sources and in the Khazar Correspondence, although doubts persist.[141] Hebrew documents, whose authenticity was long doubted and challenged,[note 55] are now widely accepted by specialists as either authentic or as reflecting internal Khazar traditions.[note 56][note 57][note 58][143] Archaeological evidence for conversion, on the other hand, remains elusive,[note 59][note 60] and may reflect either the incompleteness of excavations, or that the stratum of actual adherents was thin.[note 61] Conversion of steppe or peripheral tribes to a universal religion is a fairly well attested phenomenon,[note 62] and the Khazar conversion to Judaism, although unusual, would not have been unique.[note 63] Other scholars have concluded that the conversion of the Khazar elite to Judaism never happened. A few scholars, Moshe Gil, recently seconded by Shaul Stampfer,[note 64] dismiss the conversion as a myth.[141][146]

Jews from both the Islamic world and Byzantium are known to have migrated to Khazaria during periods of persecution under Heraclius, Justinian II, Leo III, and Romanus Lakapēnos.[147][148] For Simon Schama, Jewish communities from the Balkans and the Bosphoran Crimea, especially from Panticapaeum, began migrating to the more hospitable climate of pagan Khazaria in the wake of these persecutions, and were joined there by Jews from Armenia. The Geniza fragments, he argues, make it clear the Judaising reforms sent roots down into the whole of the population.[149] The pattern is one of an elite conversion preceding large-scale adoption of the new religion by the general population, which often resisted the imposition.[138] One important condition for mass conversion was a settled urban state, where churches, synagogues or mosques provided a focus for religion, as opposed to the free nomadic lifestyle of life on the open steppes.[note 65] A tradition of the Iranian Judeo-Tats claims that their ancestors were responsible for the Khazar conversion.[150] A legend traceable to the 16th-century Italian rabbi Judah Moscato attributed it to Yitzhak ha-Sangari.[151][152][153]

Both the date of the conversion, and the extent of its influence beyond the elite,[note 66] often minimised in some scholarship,[note 67] are a matter of dispute,[note 68] but at some point between 740 and 920 CE, the Khazar royalty and nobility appear to have converted to Judaism, in part, it is argued, perhaps to deflect competing pressures from Arabs and Byzantines to accept either Islam or Orthodoxy.[note 69][note 70]

History of discussions of Khazar Jewishness

The earliest surviving Arabic text that refers to Khazar Jewishness appears to be that of ibn Rustah, a Persian scholar who wrote an encyclopedic work on geography in the early tenth century.[154] It is believed that ibn Rustah derived much of his information from the works of his contemporary Abu al Jayhani based in Central Asia.

The 10th century Kievian Letter has Old Turkic (Orkhon) inscription word-phrase OKHQURÜM, "I read (this or it)".

Christian of Stavelot in his Expositio in Matthaeum Evangelistam (c. 860–870s) refers to Gazari, presumably Khazars, as living in the lands of Gog and Magog, who were circumcised and omnem Judaismum observat—observing all the laws of Judaism.[note 71] New numismatic evidence of coins dated 837/8 bearing the inscriptions arḍ al-ḫazar (Land of the Khazars), or Mûsâ rasûl Allâh (Moses is the messenger of God, in imitation of the Islamic coin phrase: Muḥammad rasûl Allâh) suggest to many the conversion took place in that decade.[note 72] Olsson argues that the 837/8 evidence marks only the beginning of a long and difficult official Judaization that concluded some decades later.[note 73] A 9th-century Jewish traveller, Eldad ha-Dani, is said to have informed Spanish Jews in 883 that there was a Jewish polity in the East, and that fragments of the legendary Ten Lost Tribes, part of the line of Simeon and half-line of Manasseh, dwelt in "the land of the Khazars", receiving tribute from some 25 to 28 kingdoms.[155][156][157] Another view holds that by the 10th century, while the royal clan officially claimed Judaism, a non-normative variety of Islamisation took place among the majority of Khazars.[158]

By the 10th century, the letter of King Joseph asserts that, after the royal conversion, "Israel returned (yashuvu yisra'el) with the people of Qazaria (to Judaism) in complete repentance (bi-teshuvah shelemah)."[159] Persian historian Ibn al-Faqîh wrote that 'all the Khazars are Jews, but they have been Judaized recently'. Ibn Fadlân, based on his Caliphal mission (921–922) to the Volga Bulğars, also reported that 'the core element of the state, the Khazars, were Judaized',[note 74] something underwritten by the Qaraite scholar Ya'kub Qirqisânî around 937.[note 75] The conversion appears to have occurred against a background of frictions arising from both an intensification of Byzantine missionary activity from the Crimea to the Caucasus, and Arab attempts to wrest control over the latter in the 8th century CE,[160] and a revolt, put down, by the Khavars around the mid-9th century is often invoked as in part influenced by their refusal to accept Judaism.[161] Modern scholars generally[note 76] see the conversion as a slow process through three stages, which accords with Richard Eaton's model of syncretic inclusion, gradual identification and, finally, displacement of the older tradition.[note 77][165]

Some time between 954 and 961, Ḥasdai ibn Shaprūṭ, from al-Andalus (Muslim Spain), wrote a letter of inquiry addressed to the ruler of Khazaria, and received a reply from Joseph of Khazaria. The exchanges of this Khazar Correspondence, together with the Schechter Letter discovered in the Cairo Geniza and the famous plato nizing dialogue[166] by Judah Halevi, Sefer ha-Kuzari ('Book (of) The Khazari'), which plausibly drew on such sources,[note 78] provide us with the only direct evidence of the indigenous traditions[note 79] concerning the conversion. King Bulan[note 80] is said to have driven out the sorcerers,[note 81] and to have received angelic visitations exhorting him to find the true religion, upon which, accompanied by his vizier, he travelled to desert mountains of Warsān on a seashore, where he came across a cave rising from the plain of Tiyul in which Jews used to celebrate the Sabbath. Here he was circumcised.[note 82] Bulan is then said to have convened a royal debate between exponents of the three Abrahamic religions. He decided to convert when he was convinced of Judaism's superiority. Many scholars situate this c. 740, a date supported by Halevi's own account.[169][170] The details are both Judaic[note 83] and Türkic: a Türkic ethnogonic myth speaks of an ancestral cave in which the Āshǐnà were conceived from the mating of their human ancestor and a wolf ancestress.[172][note 84][173] These accounts suggest that there was a rationalising syncretism of native pagan traditions with Jewish law, by melding through the motif of the cave, a site of ancestral ritual and repository of forgotten sacred texts, Türkic myths of origin and Jewish notions of redemption of Israel's fallen people.[174] It is generally agreed they adopted Rabbinical rather than Qaraite Judaism.[175]

Ibn Fadlan reports that the settlement of disputes in Khazaria was adjudicated by judges hailing each from his community, be it Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Pagan.[176] Some evidence suggests that the Khazar king saw himself as a defender of Jews even beyond the kingdom's frontiers, retaliating against Muslim or Christian interests in Khazaria in the wake of Islamic and Byzantine persecutions of Jews abroad.[177][note 85] Ibn Fadlan recounts specifically an incident in which the king of Khazaria destroyed the minaret of a mosque in Atil as revenge for the destruction of a synagogue in Dâr al-Bâbûnaj, and allegedly said he would have done worse were it not for a fear that the Muslims might retaliate in turn against Jews.[175][178] Ḥasdai ibn Shaprūṭ sought information on Khazaria in the hope he might discover 'a place on this earth where harassed Israel can rule itself' and wrote that, were it to prove true that Khazaria had such a king, he would not hesitate to forsake his high office and his family in order to emigrate there.[note 86]

Albert Harkavy noted in 1877 that an Arabic commentary on Isaiah 48:14 ascribed to Saadia Gaon or to the Karaite scholar Benjamin Nahâwandî, interpreted "The Lord hath loved him" as a reference "to the Khazars, who will go and destroy Babel" (i.e., Babylonia), a name used to designate the country of the Arabs. This has been taken as an indication of hopes by Jews that the Khazars might succeed in destroying the Caliphate.[180]
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Part 2 of 3


In 965, as the Qağanate was struggling against the victorious campaign of the Rus' prince Sviatoslav, the Islamic historian Ibn al-Athîr mentions that Khazaria, attacked by the Oğuz, sought help from Khwarezm, but their appeal was rejected because they were regarded as 'infidels' (al-kuffâr:pagans). Save for the king, the Khazarians are said to have converted to Islam in order to secure an alliance, and the Turks were, with Khwarezm's military assistance, repelled. It was this that, according to Ibn al-Athîr, led the Jewish king of Khazar to convert to Islam.[104]

Claims of Khazar ancestry

Claims of Khazar origins for peoples, or suggestions that Khazars were absorbed by them, have been made regarding the Slavic Judaising Subbotniks, the Muslim Karachays, Kumyks, Kazakhs, Avars, the Cossacks of the Don region, the Turkic-speaking Krymchaks and their Crimean neighbours the Karaites to the Moldavian Csángós, the Hungarians, the Mountain Jews and others.[19][181][20][21] Turkic-speaking Crimean Karaites (known in the Crimean Tatar language as Qaraylar), some of whom migrated in the 19th century from the Crimea to Poland and Lithuania have claimed Khazar origins. Specialists in Khazar history question the connection.[182][183][note 87] Scholarship is likewise sceptical of claims that the Tatar-speaking Krymchak Jews of the Crimea descend from Khazars.[184]

Crimean Karaites and Krymchaks

Main articles: Crimean Karaites and Krymchaks

In 1839, the Karaim scholar Abraham Firkovich was appointed by the Russian government as a researcher into the origins of the Jewish sect known as the Karaites.[185] In 1846, one of his acquaintances, the Russian orientalist Vasilii Vasil'evich Grigor'ev (1816–1881), theorised that the Crimean Karaites were of Khazar stock. Firkovich vehemently rejected the idea,[186] a position seconded by Firkovich, who hoped that by 'proving' his people were of Turkish origin, would secure them exception from Russian anti-Jewish laws, since they bore no reasonability for Christ's crucifixion.[187] This idea has a notable impact in Crimean Karaite circles.[note 88] It is now believed that he forged much of this material on Khazars and Karaites.[188] Specialists in Khazar history also question the connection.[183][note 87] Brook's genetic study of European Karaites found no evidence of a Khazar or Turkic origin for any uniparental lineage but did reveal the European Karaites' links to Egyptian Karaites and to Rabbinical Jewish communities.[189][190]

Another Turkish Crimean group, the Krymchaks had retained very simple Jewish traditions, mostly devoid of halakhic content, and very much taken with magical superstitions which, in the wake of the enduring educational efforts of the great Sephardi scholar Chaim Hezekiah Medini, came to conform with traditional Judaism.[191]

Though the assertion they were not of Jewish stock enabled many Crimean Karaites to survive the Holocaust, which led to the murder of 6,000 Krymchaks, after the war, the many of the latter, somewhat indifferent to their Jewish heritage, took a cue from the Crimean Karaites, and denied this connection in order to avoid the antisemitic effects of the stigma attached to Jews.[192]

Ashkenazi-Khazar theories

Main article: Khazar hypothesis of Ashkenazi ancestry

Several scholars have suggested that the Khazars did not disappear after the dissolution of their Empire, but migrated west to eventually form part of the core of the later Ashkenazi Jewish population of Europe. This hypothesis is greeted with scepticism or caution by most scholars.[note 89][note 90][note 91] The German Orientalist Karl Neumann, in the context of an earlier controversy about possible connections between Khazars and the ancestors of the Slavic peoples, suggested as early as 1847 emigrant Khazars might have influenced the core population of Eastern European Jews.[note 92]

The theory was then taken up by Albert Harkavi in 1869, when he also claimed a possible link between the Khazars and Ashkenazi,[note 93] but the theory that Khazar converts formed a major proportion of Ashkenazi was first proposed to a Western public in a lecture by Ernest Renan in 1883.[note 94][193] Occasional suggestions emerged that there was a small Khazar component in East European Jews in works by Joseph Jacobs (1886), Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu, a critic of anti-Semitism (1893),[194] Maksymilian Ernest Gumplowicz,[note 95] and by the Russian-Jewish anthropologist Samuel Weissenberg.[note 96] In 1909 Hugo von Kutschera developed the notion into a book-length study,[196][197] arguing Khazars formed the foundational core of the modern Ashkenazi.[196] Maurice Fishberg introduced the notion to American audiences in 1911.[195][198] The idea was also taken up by the Polish-Jewish economic historian and General Zionist Yitzhak Schipper in 1918.[note 97][199] Israel Bartal has suggested that from the Haskalah onwards polemical pamphlets against the Khazars were inspired by Sephardi organizations opposed to the Khazaro-Ashkenazim.[200]

Scholarly anthropologists, such as Roland B. Dixon (1923), and writers like H. G. Wells (1920) used it to argue that "The main part of Jewry never was in Judea",[note 98][201] a thesis that was to have a political echo in later opinion.[note 99][202] In 1932, Samuel Krauss ventured the theory that the biblical Ashkenaz referred to northern Asia Minor, and identified it with the Khazars, a position immediately disputed by Jacob Mann.[203] Ten years later, in 1942, Abraham N. Polak (sometimes referred to as Poliak), later professor for the history of the Middle Ages at Tel Aviv University, published a Hebrew monograph in which he concluded that the East European Jews came from Khazaria.[note 100][note 101][204] D.M. Dunlop, writing in 1954, thought very little evidence backed what he regarded as a mere assumption, and argued that the Ashkenazi-Khazar descent theory went far beyond what "our imperfect records" permit.[205] Léon Poliakov, while assuming the Jews of Western Europe resulted from a "panmixia" in the first millennium, asserted in 1955 that it was widely assumed that Europe's Eastern Jews descended from a mixture of Khazarian and German Jews.[note 102] Poliak's work found some support in Salo Wittmayer Baron and Ben-Zion Dinur,[note 103][note 104] but was dismissed by Bernard Weinryb as a fiction (1962).[note 105] Bernard Lewis was of the opinion that the word in Cairo Geniza interpreted as Khazaria is actually Hakkari and therefore it relates to the Kurds of the Hakkari mountains in southeast Turkey.[208]

The Khazar-Ashkenazi hypothesis came to the attention of a much wider public with the publication of Arthur Koestler's The Thirteenth Tribe in 1976,[209] which was both positively reviewed and dismissed as a fantasy, and a somewhat dangerous one. Israeli historian Zvi Ankori argued that Koestler had allowed his literary imagination to espouse Poliak's thesis, which most historians dismissed as speculative.[114] Israel's ambassador to Britain branded it "an anti-Semitic action financed by the Palestinians", while Bernard Lewis claimed that the idea was not supported by any evidence whatsoever, and had been abandoned by all serious scholars.[209][note 106] Raphael Patai, however, registered some support for the idea that Khazar remnants had played a role in the growth of Eastern European Jewish communities,[note 107] and several amateur researchers, such as Boris Altschüler (1994),[183] kept the thesis in the public eye. The theory has been occasionally manipulated to deny Jewish nationhood.[209][212] Recently, a variety of approaches, from linguistics (Paul Wexler)[213] to historiography (Shlomo Sand)[214] and population genetics (Eran Elhaik, a geneticist from the University of Sheffield)[215] have emerged to keep the theory alive.[216] In broad academic perspective, both the idea that the Khazars converted en masse to Judaism, and the suggestion they emigrated to form the core population of Ashkenazi Jewry, remain highly polemical issues.[217]

One thesis held that the Khazar Jewish population went into a northern diaspora and had a significant impact on the rise of Ashkenazi Jews. Connected to this thesis is the theory, expounded by Paul Wexler, that the grammar of Yiddish contains a Khazar substrate.[218] In 2018, Kevin Alan Brook cited genetic data to argue against the claim that Ashkenazim have any amount of Khazarian ancestry.[219]

Use in anti-Semitic polemics

According to Michael Barkun, the Khazar hypothesis never played any major role in anti-Semitism,[220] although he writes that histories of the latter rather oddly overlook the influence it has exercised on American antisemites since the restrictions on immigration in the 1920s.[note 108][note 109] Maurice Fishberg and Roland B Dixon's works were later exploited in racist and religious polemical literature in both Britain, in British Israelism, and the United States.[195][note 110] Particularly after the publication of Burton J. Hendrick's The Jews in America (1923)[221] it began to enjoy a vogue among advocates of immigration restriction in the 1920s; racial theorists[222] like Lothrop Stoddard; anti-Semitic conspiracy-theorists like the Ku Klux Klan's Hiram Wesley Evans; anti-communist polemicists like John O. Beaty[note 111] and Wilmot Robertson, whose views influenced David Duke.[224] According to Yehoshafat Harkabi (1968) and others,[note 112] it played a role in Arab anti-Zionist polemics, and took on an anti-semitic edge. Bernard Lewis, noting in 1987 that Arab scholars had dropped it, remarked that it only occasionally emerged in Arab political discourse.[note 113] It has also played some role in Soviet anti-Semitic chauvinism[note 114] and Slavic Eurasian historiography; particularly, in the works of scholars like Lev Gumilev,[226] it came to be exploited by the White supremacist Christian Identity movement[227] and even by terrorist esoteric cults like Aum Shinrikyō.[228]

Genetic studies

See also: Ashkenazi Jews § Genetic origins, Genetic studies on Jews, and Khazar theory of Ashkenazi ancestry § Genetics

The hypothesis of Khazarian ancestry in Ashkenazi has also been a subject of vehement disagreements in the field of population genetics,[note 115] wherein claims have been made concerning evidence both for and against it. Eran Elhaik argued in 2012 for a significant Khazar component in the paternal line based on the study of Y-DNA of Ashkenazi Jews using Caucasian populations—Georgians, Armenians and Azerbaijani Jews—as proxies.[note 116] The evidence from historians he used has been criticised by Shaul Stampfer[229] and the technical response to such a position from geneticists is mostly dismissive, arguing that, if traces of descent from Khazars exist in the Ashkenazi gene pool, the contribution would be quite minor,[230][231][232][233][note 117] or insignificant.[234][235] One geneticist, Raphael Falk, has argued that "national and ethnic prejudices play a central role in the controversy."[note 118] According to Nadia Abu El-Haj, the issues of origins are generally complicated by the difficulties of writing history via genome studies and the biases of emotional investments in different narratives, depending on whether the emphasis lies on direct descent or on conversion within Jewish history. The lack of Khazar DNA samples that might allow verification also presents difficulties.[note 119]

In literature

The Kuzari is an influential work written by the medieval Spanish Jewish philosopher and poet Rabbi Yehuda Halevi (c. 1075–1141). Divided into five essays (ma'amarim), it takes the form of a fictional dialogue between the pagan king of the Khazars and a Jew who was invited to instruct him in the tenets of the Jewish religion. The intent of the work, although based on Ḥasdai ibn Shaprūṭ's correspondence with the Khazar king, was not historical, but rather to defend Judaism as a revealed religion, written in the context, firstly of Karaite challenges to the Spanish rabbinical intelligentsia, and then against temptations to adapt Aristotelianism and Islamic philosophy to the Jewish faith.[237] Originally written in Arabic, it was translated into Hebrew by Judah ibn Tibbon.[166]

Benjamin Disraeli's early novel Alroy (1833) draws on Menachem ben Solomon's story.[238] The question of mass religious conversion and the indeterminability of the truth of stories about identity and conversion are central themes of Milorad Pavić's best-selling mystery story Dictionary of the Khazars.[239]

H.N. Turteltaub's Justinian, Marek Halter's Book of Abraham and Wind of the Khazars, and Michael Chabon's Gentlemen of the Road allude to or feature elements of Khazar history or create fictional Khazar characters.[240]

Cities associated with the Khazars

Cities associated with the Khazars include Atil, Khazaran, Samandar; in the Caucasus, Balanjar, Kazarki, Sambalut, and Samiran; in Crimea and the Taman region, Kerch, Theodosia, Yevpatoria (Güzliev), Samkarsh (also called Tmutarakan, Tamatarkha), and Sudak; and in the Don valley, Sarkel. A number of Khazar settlements have been discovered in the Mayaki-Saltovo region. Some scholars suppose that the Khazar settlement of Sambat on the Dnieper refers to the later Kyiv.[note 120]

See also

• Gog and Magog
• History of Kiev
• Kuzari
• List of Khazar rulers
• List of Jewish states and dynasties
• List of Turkic dynasties and countries
• Red Jews
• Rus' Khaganate
• Rus'–Byzantine War (860)
• Rus'–Byzantine War (907)
• Rus'–Byzantine War (941)
• Rus'–Byzantine War (968-971)
• Turkic peoples
• Turkish Jews
• Yarmaq


1. This figure has been calculated on the basis of the data in both Herlihy and Russell's work.[5] (Russell 1972, pp. 25–71)
2. "The Gazari are, presumably, the Khazars, although this term or the Kozary of the perhaps near contemporary Vita Constantini... could have reflected any of a number of peoples within Khazaria." (Golden 2007b, p. 139)
3. "Somewhat later, however, in a letter to the Byzantine Emperor Basil I, dated to 871, Louis the German, clearly taking exception to what had apparently become Byzantine usage, declares that 'we have not found that the leader of the Avars, or Khazars (Gasanorum)'..." (Golden 2001a, p. 33)
4. Golden 2007a, p. 16 and n.38 citing L. Bazin, 'Pour une nouvelle hypothèse sur l'origine des Khazar,' in Materialia Turcica, 7/8 (1981–1982): 51–71.
5. Compare Tibetan dru-gu Gesar (the Turk Gesar) (Golden 2007a, p. 16).
6. Kěsà (可薩) would have been pronounced something like kha'sat in both Early Middle Chinese/EMC and Late Middle Chinese/LMC, while Hésà (曷薩) would yield γat-sat in (EMC) and xɦat sat (LMC) respectively, where final 't' often transcribes –r- in foreign words. Thus, while these Chinese forms could transcribe a foreign word of the type *Kasar/*Kazar, *Gatsar, *Gazr, *Gasar, there is a problem phonetically with assimilating these to the Uyğur word Qasar/ Gesa (EMC/LMC Kat-sat= Kar sar= *Kasar) (Golden 2007a, p. 17).
7. Ibn al-Nadīm commenting on script systems in 987–88 recorded that the Khazars wrote in Hebrew (Golden 2007b, p. 148).
8. "The chancellery of the Jewish state of the Khazars is therefore also likely to have used Hebrew writing even if the official language was a Turkic one." (Erdal 2007, pp. 98–99)
9. "there must have been many different ethnic groups within the Khazar realm ... These groups spoke different languages, some of them no doubt belonging to the Indo-European or different Caucasian language families." (Erdal 2007, p. 75, n.2)
10. The high chancery official of the Abbasid Caliphate under Al-Wathiq, Sallām the interpreter (Sallam al-tardjuman), famous for his reputed mastery of thirty languages, might have been both Jewish and a Khazar Wasserstein 2007, p. 376, and n.2, referring to Dunlop 1954, pp. 190–193.
11. "Oğuric Turkic, spoken by many of the subject tribes, doubtless, was one of the linguae francae of the state. Alano-As was also widely spoken. Eastern Common Turkic, the language of the royal house and its core tribes, in all likelihood remained the language of the ruling elite in the same way that Mongol continued to be used by the rulers of the Golden Horde, alongside of the Qipčaq Turkic speech spoken by the bulk of the Turkic tribesmen that constituted the military force of this part of the Činggisid empire. Similarity, Oğuric, like Qipčaq Turkic in the Jočid realm, functioned as one of the languages of government." (Golden 2006, p. 91)
12. al-Iṣṭakhrī 's account however then contradicts itself by likening the language to Bulğaric (Golden 2007a, pp. 13–14, 14 n.28).
13. "The word tribe is as troublesome as the term clan. It is commonly held to denote a group, like the clan, claiming descent from a common (in some culture zones eponymous) ancestor, possessing a common territory, economy, language, culture, religion, and sense of identity. In reality, tribes were often highly fluid sociopolitical structures, arising as 'ad hoc responses to ephemeral situations of competition,' as Morton H. Fried has noted." (Golden 2001b, p. 78)
14. Dieter Ludwig, in his doctoral thesis Struktur und Gesellschaft des Chazaren-Reiches im Licht der schriftlichen Quellen,(Münster, 1982) suggested that the Khazars were Turkic members of the Hephthalite Empire, where the lingua franca was a variety of Iranian.[34] (Brook 2010, p. 4)
15. "The reader should be warned that the A-shih-na link of the Khazar dynasty, an old phantom of ... Khazarology, will ... lose its last claim to reality" (Zuckerman 2007, p. 404).
16. In this view, the name Khazar would derive from a hypothetical *Aq Qasar (Golden 2006, pp. 89–90).
17. Whittow states that the word Türk had no strict ethnic meaning at the time: "Throughout the early middle ages on the Eurasian steppes, the term 'Turk' may or may not imply membership of the ethnic group of Turkic peoples, but it does always mean at least some awareness and acceptance of the traditions and ideology of the Gök Türk empire, and a share, however distant, in the political and cultural inheritance of that state." (Whittow 1996, p. 221)
18. The Duōlù (咄陆) were the left wing of the On Oq, the Nǔshībì (弩失畢: *Nu Šad(a)pit), and together they were registered in Chinese sources as the 'ten names' (shí míng:十名) (Golden 2010, pp. 54–55).
19. Several scholars connect it to Judaization, with Artamonov linking its introduction to Obadiyah's reforms and the imposition of full Rabbinical Judaism and Pritsak to the same period (799–833), arguing that the Beg, a majordomo from the Iranian *Barč/Warâ Bolčan clan, identified with Obadiyah, compelled the Qağanal clan to convert, an event which putatively caused the Qabar revolt. Golden comments: "There is nothing but conjecture to connect it with the reforms of Obadiyah, the further evolution of Khazar Judaism or the Qabars ... The fact is we do not know when, precisely, the Khazar system of dual kingship emerged. It could not have come ex nihilo. It was not present in the early stages of Khazar history. Given the Old Türk traditions of the Khazar state ... and the overall institutional conservation of steppe society, one must exercise great caution here. Clear evidence for it is relatively late (the latter part of the ninth century perhaps and more probably the tenth century)- although it was probably present by the first third of the ninth century. Iranian influences via the Ors guard of the Qağans may have also been a factor" (Golden 2007b, pp. 155–156)
20. There was a maximum limit on the number of years of a king's reign, according to Ibn Fadlan; if a Qağan had reigned for at least forty years, his courtiers and subjects felt his ability to reason would become impaired by old age. They would then kill the Qağan (Dunlop 1954, pp. 97, 112).
21. Petrukhin notes that Ibn Fadlan's description of a Rus' prince (malik) and his lieutenant (khalifa) mirrored the Khazarian diarchy, but the comparison was flawed, as there was no sacral kingship among the Rus' (Petrukhin 2007, pp. 256–257).
22. "the rest of the Khazars profess a religion similar to that of the Turks." (Golden 2007b, pp. 130–131)
23. This regiment was exempt from campaigning against fellow Muslims, evidence that non-Judaic beliefs were no obstacle to access to the highest levels of government. They had abandoned their homeland and sought service with the Khazars in exchange for the right to exercise their religious freedom, according to al-Masudi (Golden 2007b, p. 138).
24. Olsson writes that there is no evidence for this Islamic guard for the 9th century, but that its existence is attested for 913 (Olsson 2013, p. 507).
25. Noonan gives the lower figure for the Muslim contingents, but adds that the army could draw on other mercenaries stationed in the capital, Rūs, Ṣaqāliba and pagans. Olsson's 10,000 refers to the spring-summer horsemen in the nomadic king's retinue (Noonan 2007, pp. 211, 217).
26. A third division may have contained the dwellings of the tsarina. The dimensions of the western part were 3x3, as opposed to the eastern part's 8 x 8 farsakhs (Noonan 2007, pp. 208–209, 216–219).
27. Outside Muslim traders were under the jurisdiction of a special royal official (ghulām) (Noonan 2007, pp. 211–214).
28. Theophanes the Confessor around 813 defined them as Eastern Turks. The designation is complex and Róna-Tas writes: "The Georgian Chronicle refers to the Khazars in 626–628 as the 'West Turks' who were then opposed to the East Turks of Central Asia. Shortly after 679 the Armenian Geography mentions the Turks together with the Khazars; this may be the first record of the Magyars. Around 813, Theophanes uses – alongside the generic name Turk – 'East Turk' for the designation of the Khazars, and in context, the 'West Turks' may actually have meant the Magyars. We know that Nicholas Misticus referred to the Magyars as 'West Turks' in 924/925. In the 9th century the name Turk was mainly used to designate the Khazars." (Róna-Tas 1999, p. 282)
29. Many sources identify the Göktürks in this alliance as Khazars--for example, Beckwith writes recently: "The alliance sealed by Heraclius with the Khazars in 627 was of seminal importance to the Byzantine Empire through the Early Middle Ages, and helped assure its long-term survival."[73] Early sources such as the almost contemporary Armenian history, Patmutʿiwn Ałuanicʿ Ašxarhi, attributed to Movsēs Dasxurancʿ, and the Chronicle attributed to Theophanes identify these Turks as Khazars (Theophanes has: 'Turks, who are called Khazars'). Both Zuckerman and Golden reject the identification (Zuckerman 2007, pp. 403–404).
30. Scholars dismiss Chinese annals which, reporting the events from Turkic sources, attribute the destruction of Persia and its leader Shah Khusrau II personally to Tong Yabghu. Zuckerman argues instead that the account is correct in its essentials (Zuckerman 2007, p. 417).
31. "The Khazars, the close allies of the Byzantines, adopted Judaism, as their official religion, apparently by 740, three years after an invasion by the Arabs under Marwan ibn Muhammad. Marwan had used treachery against a Khazar envoy to gain peaceful entrance to Khazar territory. He then declared his dishonourable intentions and pressed deep into Khazar territory, only subsequently releasing the envoy. The Arabs devastated the horse herds, seized many Khazars and others as captives, and forced much of the population to flee into the Ural Mountains. Marwan's terms were that the kaghan and his Khazars should convert to Islam. Having no choice, the kaghan agreed, and the Arabs returned home in triumph. As soon as the Arabs were gone, the kaghan renounced Islam – with, one may assume, great vehemence. The Khazar Dynasty's conversion to Judaism is best explained by this specific historical background, together with the fact that the mid-eighth century was an age in which the major Eurasian states proclaimed their adherence to distinctive world religions. Adopting Judaism also was politically astute: it meant the Khazars avoided having to accept the overlordship (however theoretical) of the Arab caliph or the Byzantine emperor." (Beckwith 2011, p. 149)
32. Over 520 separate hoards of such silver have been uncovered in Sweden and Gotland (Moss 2002, p. 16).
33. The Volga Bulgarian state was converted to Islam in the 10th century, and wrested liberty from its Khazarian suzerains when Svyatislav razed Atil (Abulafia 1987, pp. 419, 480–483).
34. Whittow argues however that: "The title of qaghan, with its claims to lordship over the steppe world, is likely to be no more than ideological booty from the 965 victory." (Whittow 1996, pp. 243–252)
35. Korobkin citing Golb & Pritsak notes that Khazars have often been connected with Kyiv's foundations.[94] Pritsak and Golb state that children in Kyiv were being given a mixture of Hebrew and Slavic names by c. 930.[95] Toch on the other hand is skeptical, and argues that "a significant Jewish presence in early medieval Kyiv or indeed in Russia at large remains much in doubt" (Toch 2012, p. 166).
36. The yarmaq based on the Arab dirhem was perhaps issued in reaction to fall-off in Muslim minting in the 820s, and to a felt need in the turbulent upheavals of the 830s to assert a new religious profile, with the Jewish legends stamped on them (Golden 2007b, p. 156).
37. Scholars are divided as to whether the fortification of Sarkel represents a defensive bulwark against a growing Magyar or Varangian threat (Petrukhin 2007, pp. 247, and n.1).
38. MQDWN or the Macedon dynasty of Byzantium; SY, perhaps a central Volga statelet, Burtas, Asya; PYYNYL denoting the Danube-Don Pechnegs; BM, perhaps indicating the Volga Bulgars, and TWRQY or Oghuz Turks. The provisory identifications are those of Pritsak (Kohen 2007, p. 106).
39. Al-Mas'udi says the king secretly tipped off the Rus' of the attack but was unable to oppose the request of his guards (Olsson 2013, p. 507).
40. The letter continues: "I wage war with them. If I left them (in peace) for a single hour they would crush the whole land of the Ishmaelites up to Baghdad." (Petrukhin 2007, p. 257)
41. From Klavdiy Lebedev (1852–1916), Svyatoslav's meeting with Emperor John, as described by Leo the Deacon.
42. H. H. Howorth argued that the Khazars were the ancestors of contemporary Circassians (Howorth 1870, pp. 182–192).
43. Dunlop thought the later city of Saqsin lay on or near Atil (Dunlop 1954, p. 248).
44. The Caspian Sea is still known to Arabs, and many peoples of the region, as the 'Khazar Sea' (Arabic Bahr ul-Khazar) (Brook 2010, p. 156)
45. "thus it is clear that the false doctrine of Yišô in Rome (Hrôm) and that of Môsê among the Khazars and that of Mânî in Turkistan took away their might and the valor that they once possessed and made them feeble and decadent among their rivals" (Golden 2007b, p. 130).
46. Some sources claim that the father of Seljuk, the eponymous progenitor of the Seljuk Turks, namely Toqaq Temür Yalığ, began his career as an Oghuz soldier in Khazar service in the early and mid-10th century, and rose to high rank before he fell out with the Khazar rulers and departed for Khwarazm. Seljuk's sons, significantly, all bear names from the Jewish scriptures: Mîkâ'il, Isrâ'îl, Mûsâ, Yûnus. Peacock argues that early traditions attesting a Seljuk origin within the Khazar empire when it was powerful, were later rewritten, after Khazaria fell from power in the 11th century, to blank out the connection (Peacock 2010, pp. 27–35).
47. Tzitzak is often treated as her original proper name, with a Turkic etymology čiček ('flower'). Erdal, however, citing the Byzantine work on court ceremony De Ceremoniis, authored by Constantine Porphyrogennetos, argues that the word referred only to the dress Irene wore at court, perhaps denoting its colourfulness, and compares it to the Hebrew ciciot, the knotted fringes of a ceremonial shawl, or tallit.[120] (Wexler 1987, p. 72)
48. "Engravings that resemble the six-pointed Star of David were found on circular Khazar relics and bronze mirrors from Sarkel and Khazarian grave fields in Upper Saltov. However, rather than having been made by Jews, these appear to be shamanistic sun discs." (Brook 2010, pp. 113, 122–123 n.148)
49. Brook says this thesis was developed by Jacob Mann, based on a reading of the word "Khazaria" in the Cairo Geniza fragment. Bernard Lewis, he adds, challenged the assumption by noting that the original text reads Hakkâri and refers to the Kurds of the Hakkâri mountains in south-east Turkey (Brook 2010, pp. 191–192, n.72).
50. Whittow notes that this native institution, given the constant, lengthy, military and acculturating pressures on the tribes from China to the East, was influenced also by the sinocentric doctrine of the Mandate of Heaven (Tiānmìng:天命), which signaled legitimacy of rule (Whittow 1996, p. 220).
51. Alp Ilut'uêr is a Turkish subordinate title (Golden 2007b, p. 124).
52. Golden and Shapira thinks the evidence from such Georgian sources renders suspect a conversion prior to this date.[140](Shapira 2007b, pp. 347–348)
53. Golden 2007b, pp. 135–136, reporting on al-Muqaddasi.
54. During Islamic invasions, some groups of Khazars who suffered defeat, including a qağan, were converted to Islam (DeWeese 1994, p. 73).
55. Johannes Buxtorf first published the letters around 1660. Controversy arose over their authenticity; it was even argued that the letters represented "no more than Jewish self-consolation and fantasmagory over the lost dreams of statehood" (Kohen 2007, p. 112).
56. "If anyone thinks that the Khazar correspondence was first composed in 1577 and published in Qol Mebasser, the onus of proof is certainly on him. He must show that a number of ancient manuscripts, which appear to contain references to the correspondence, have all been interpolated since the end of the sixteenth century. This will prove a very difficult or rather an impossible task." (Dunlop 1954, p. 130)
57. "The issue of the authenticity of the Correspondence has a long and mottled history which need not detain us here. Dunlop and most recently Golb have demonstrated that Hasdai's letter, Joseph's response (dating perhaps from the 950s) and the 'Cambridge Document' are, indeed, authentic." (Golden 2007b, pp. 145–146)
58. "(a court debate on conversion) appears in accounts of Khazar Judaism in two Hebrew accounts, as well as in one eleventh-century Arabic account. These widespread and evidently independent attestations would seem to support the historicity of some kind of court debate, but, more important, clearly suggest the currency of tales recounting the conversion and originating among the Khazar Jewish community itself" ... "the 'authenticity' of the Khazar correspondence is hardly relevant"[142] "The wider issue of the 'authenticity' of the 'Khazar correspondence', and of the significance of this tale's parallels with the equally controversial Cambridge document /Schechter text, has been discussed extensively in the literature on Khazar Judaism; much of the debate loses significance if, as Pritsak has recently suggested, the accounts are approached as 'epic' narratives rather than evaluated from the standpoint of their 'historicity'." (DeWeese 1994, p. 305)
59. "Of the intensive archaeological study of Khazar sites (over a thousand burial sites have been investigated!), not one has yet yielded finds that yet fit in some way the material legacy of antique European or Middle Eastern Jewry." (Toch 2012, pp. 162–3)
60. Shingiray noting the widespread lack of artifacts of wealth in Khazar burials, arguing that nomads used few materials to express their personal attributes: "The SMC assemblages-even if they were not entirely missing from the Khazar imperial center - presented an outstanding instance of archaeological material minimalism in this region." (Shingiray 2012, pp. 209–211)
61. "But, one must ask, are we to expect much religious paraphernalia in a recently converted steppe society? Do the Oğuz, in the century or so after their Islamization, present much physical evidence in the steppe for their new faith? These conclusions must be considered preliminary." (Golden 2007b, pp. 150–151, and note 137)
62. Golden 2007b, pp. 128–129 compares Ulfilas's conversions of the Goths to Arianism; Al-Masudi records a conversion of the Alans to Christianity during the Abbasid period; the Volga Bulğars adopted Islam after their leader converted in the 10th century; the Uyğur Qağan accepted Manichaeism in 762.
63. Golden takes exception to J. B. Bury's claim (1912) that it was 'unique in history'.[144][145] Golden also cites from Jewish history the conversion of Idumeans under John Hyrcanus; of the Itureans under Aristobulus I; of the kingdom of Adiabene under Queen Helena; the Ḥimyârî kings in Yemen, and Berber assimilations to North African Jewry (Golden 2007b, p. 153).
64. "in Israel, emotions are still high when it comes to the history of the Khazars, as I witnessed in a symposium on the issue at the Israeli Academy of Sciences in Jerusalem (May 24, 2011). Whereas Prof. Shaul Stampfer believed the story of the Khazars' conversion to Judaism was a collection of stories or legends that have no historical foundation, (and insisted that the Ashkenazi of Eastern Europe of today stem from Jews in Central Europe who emigrated eastwards), Prof. Dan Shapiro believed that the conversion of the Khazars to Judaism was part of the history of Russia at the time it established itself as a kingdom." (Falk 2017, p. 101,n.9)
65. "The Șûfî wandering out into the steppe was far more effective in bringing Islam to the Turkic nomads than the learned 'ulamâof the cities." (Golden 2007b, p. 126)
66. "the Khazars (most of whom did not convert to Judaism, but remained animists, or adopted Islam and Christianity)" (Wexler 2002, p. 514)
67. "In much of the literature on conversions of Inner Asian peoples, attempts are made, 'to minimize the impact' ... This has certainly been true of some of the scholarship regarding the Khazars." (Golden 2007b, p. 127)
68. "scholars who have contributed to the subject of the Khazars' conversion, have based their arguments on a limited corpus of textual, and more recently, numismatic evidence ... Taken together these sources offer a cacophony of distortions, contradictions, vested interests, and anomalies in some areas, and nothing but silence in others." (Olsson 2013, p. 496)
69. "Judaism was apparently chosen because it was a religion of the book without being the faith of a neighbouring state which had designs on Khazar lands." (Noonan 1999, p. 502)
70. "Their conversion to Judaism was the equivalent of a declaration of neutrality between the two rival powers." (Baron 1957, p. 198)
71. "We are not aware of any nation under the sky that would not have Christians among them. For even in Gog and Magog, the Hunnic people who call themselves Gazari, those whom Alexander confined, there was a tribe more brave than the others. This tribe had already been circumcised and they profess all dogmata of Judaism (omnem Judaismum observat)." (Golden 2007b, p. 139)
72. The idea of a forced general conversion imposed on the Qağanal dynasty in the 830s was advanced by Omeljian Pritsak, and is now supported by Roman Kovalev and Peter Golden (Olsson 2013, p. 497).
73. Olsson identifies this with the onset of Magyar invasions of the Pontic steppe in the 830s, the construction of Sarkel, and the Schechter letter's reference to Bulan, converted to his Jewish wife Serakh's faith, wresting power, in a period of famine, elements which undermined the qağan, and allowed the creation of the royal diarchy (Olsson 2013, pp. 507, 513ff).
74. wa al-ḥazarwa malikuhum kulluhum yahûd ('The Khazars and their king are all Jews') (Golden 2007b, pp. 143, 159)
75. Golden, citing his comment on Genesis 9:27: "some other commentators are of the opinion that this verse alludes to the Khazars who accepted Judaism", with Golden's comment: "Certainly, by this time, the association of Khazaria and Judaism in the Jewish world was an established fact" (Golden 2007b, p. 143).
76. Shapira and Zuckerman disagree, positing only one stage and placing it later. Shapira takes stage 1 as a Jewish-Khazar reinterpretation of the Tengri-cult in terms of a monotheism similar to Judaism's; Zuckerman thinks Judaisation took place, just once, after 861.[162] [163]
77. Dunlop thought the first stage occurred with the king's conversion c. 740; the second with the installation of Rabbinical Judaism c. 800.[164] (Dunlop 1954, p. 170)
78. Arabic original: Kitâb al-ḥuyya wa'l-dalîl fi naṣr al-din al-dhalîl (Book of the Argument and Demonstration in Aid of the Despised Faith) (Schweid 2007, p. 279).
79. Brook mentions also a letter in Hebrew, the Mejelis document, dated 985–986, which refers to "our lord David, the Khazar prince" who lived in Taman. As Brook notes, both D. M. Dunlop and Dan Shapira dismiss it as a forgery (Brook 2010, pp. 30; 41, n.75).
80. The name is commonly etymologized as meaning 'elk' in Türkic. Shapira identifies him with the Sabriel of the Schechter letter, and suggests, since Sabriel is unattested as a Jewish name, although the root is 'hope, believe, find out, understand' that it is a calque on the Oğuz Türkic bulan (one who finds out) or bilen (one who knows) (Shapira 2009, p. 1102).
81. Szpiech, citing the Letter of King Joseph: et ha-qosmim ve-et'ovdei 'avodah zarah ('expelled the wizards and idolators') (Szpiech 2012, pp. 93–117 [102]).
82. This detail is in Halevi's Sefer Ha-Kusari.[167] Golden has identified Warsān as Transcaucasian Varaˇc'an.[168] Ḥasdai ibn Shaprūṭ's letter also mentions a legend that the Chaldaeans, under persecution, hid the Scriptures in a cave, and taught their sons to pray there, which they did until their descendants forgot the custom. Much later, a tradition has it, a man of Israel entered the cave and, retrieving the books, taught the descendants how to learn the Law (DeWeese 1994, pp. 304–305).
83. The Schechter document has officers during the religious debate speak of a cave in a certain plain (TYZWL) where books are to be retrieved. They turn out to be the books of the Torah.[171] (Golb & Pritsak 1982, p. 111)
84. The original ancestral cavern of the Türks, according to Chinese sources, was called Ötüken, and the tribal leaders would travel there annually to conduct sacrificial rites (DeWeese 1994, pp. 276, 300–304).
85. Kohen refers to Khazar killings of Christians or the uncircumcized in retaliation for persecutions of Jews in Byzantium, and Khazar reprisals against Muslims for persecutions of Jews in Caucasian Albania, perhaps under Emir Nasr (Kohen 2007, pp. 107–108).
86. "If indeed I could learn that this was the case, then, despising all my glory, abandoning my high estate, leaving my family, I would go over mountains and hills, through seas and lands, till I should arrive at the place where my Lord the King resides, that I might see not only his glory and magnificence, and that of his servants and ministers, but also the tranquillity of the Israelites. On beholding this my eyes would brighten, my reins would exult, my lips would pour forth praises to God, who has not withdrawn his favour from his afflicted ones."[179] (Leviant 2008, pp. 159–162)
87. Rabbinic Judaism rather than Qaraism was the form adopted. Small Karaim communities may have existed, but the linguistic and historical evidence suggests that the Turkic-speaking Karaim Jews in Poland and Lithuania, of which one branch also existed in the Crimea, descend from the Khazars. 'At most, it is conceivable that the smaller Karaite community which lived in Khazaria gained the Kipchak type Turkic language, that they speak today, through an exchange of language.' Khazars probably converted to Rabbinic Judaism, whereas in Karaism only the Torah is accepted, the Talmud being ignored (Róna-Tas 1999, p. 232).
88. "At a time when Russia masked imperialist goals by pretending to be the protector of Slavic peoples and the Orthodox faith, Crimean Karism was exercising its own version of cultural imperialism. It is clear that the Crimean Karaites intended to expand their dominion to include Cairo, Jerusalem, and Damascus, basing their pre-eminence on the claim that Karaism, an ancient, pre-Talmudic form of Judaism, had been brought to the Middle East by the Khazars. Such an allegation would, however, have been much more difficult, if not impossible, to maintain.
To summarize the Khazar-Karaite nexus commonly accepted in the Russian Empire during the last century: the Khazars, who were of pagan Turkic origin, were supposedly brought to Judaism by Karaites, descendants of Jews who had lived in the Black Sea areas since biblical times and whose Judaism was, therefore, pre-Talmudic and nonrabbinic. As a result, the Khazars' Judaism was Karaite, and later Karaites, who spoken a Turkic language, must have descended from the Khazars, with whom the ancient Jews had assimilated. The circularity of the argument aside, modern historians have concluded that the Khazars were converted by Rabbanite Jews and that they and their descendants observed rabbinic law and traditions. Indeed, recent scholarship has demonstrated that Khazaria was altogether unrepresented in the Karaite literature of the ninth and early tenth centuries, as well as that written during its Golden Age – when Karaism had a militant and missionary influence." (Miller 1993, pp. 7–9)
89. "Most scholars are sceptical about the hypothesis".[22] Wexler, who proposes a variation on the idea, argues that a combination of three reasons accounts for scholarly aversion to the concept: a desire not to get mixed up in controversy, ideological insecurities, and the incompetence of much earlier work in favour of that hypothesis.
90. "Methodologically, Wexler has opened up some new areas, taking elements of folk culture into account. I think that his conclusions have gone well beyond the evidence. Nonetheless, these are themes that should be pursued further." (Golden 2007a, p. 56)
91. "Arthur Koestler's book The Thirteenth Tribe which claimed that the converted Khazars were the progenitors of today's Ashkenazi Jews, has been largely rejected by serious scholars. However, the disputed theory that the stereotypical European Jew is descended from an Eastern European nation of Jewish converts, has been sufficiently unwelcome as to render study of the Khazars an area of research largely off limits for Jewish as well as Russian archaeologists, the Russians being unhappy with the prospect that their empire was initially ruled by Jewish kings as the Ashkenazim were that they might not have a genetic connection with the freed slaves who met with God at Sinai." (Mariner 1999, pp. 95–96)
92. Kizilov 2014, p. 389 citing Karl Neumann, Die Völker des südlichen Russlands in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung, (1847) 2nd ed. Teubner 1855 pp. 125–126.
93. Rossman 2002, p. 98: Abraham Harkavy, O yazykye evreyev, zhivshikh v drevneye vremya na Rusi i o slavianskikh slovakh, vstrechaiuschikhsia u evreiskikh pisatelei, St. Petersburg.
94. Barkun 1997, p. 137: Ernest Renan, "Judaism as a Race and as Religion." Delivered on 27 January 1883.
95. The source is Maksymilian Ernest Gumplowicz, Początki religii żydowskiej w Polsce, Warsaw: E. Wende i S-ka, 1903 (Polonsky, Basista & Link-Lenczowski 1993, p. 120)
96. Goldstein writes "The theory that Eastern European Jews descended from the Khazars was originally proposed by Samuel Weissenberg in an attempt to show that Jews were deeply rooted on Russian soil and that the cradle of Jewish civilization was the Caucasus".[195] Weissenberg's book Die Südrussischen Juden, was published in 1895.
97. Schipper's first monograph on this was published in the Almanach Žydowski (Vienna) in 1918. While in the Warsaw ghettobefore falling victim to the Holocaust at Majdanek, Schipper (1884–1943) was working on the Khazar hypothesis (Litman 1984, pp. 85–110 [109]).
98. "There were Arab tribes who were Jews in the time of Muhammad, and a Turkic people who were mainly Jews in South Russia in the ninth century. Judaism is indeed the reconstructed political ideal of many shattered peoples-mainly semitic. As a result of these coalescences and assimilations, almost everywhere in the towns throughout the Roman Empire, and far beyond it in the east, Jewish communities traded and flourished, and were kept in touch through the Bible, and through a religious and educational organization. The main part of Jewry never was in Judea and had never come out of Judea." (Wells 1920, p. 570)
99. Pasha Glubb held that Russian Jews "have considerably less Middle Eastern blood, consisting largely of pagan Slav proselytes or of Khazar Turks." For Glubb, they were not "descendants of the Judeans ...The Arabs of Palestine are probably more closely related to the Judeans (genetically) than are modern Russian or German Jews.... Of course, an anti-Zionist (as well as an anti-Semitic) point is being made here: The Palestinians have a greater political right to Palestine than the Jews do, as they, not the modern-day Jews, are the true descendants of the land's Jewish inhabitants/owners" (Morris 2003, p. 22).
100. First written as an article in 1941 – "The Khazars' Conversion to Judaism", then as a monograph (1943), it was twice revised in 1944, and 1951 as Kazariyah: Toldot mamlacha yehudit be'Eropa (Khazaria: History of a Jewish Kingdom in Europe) Mosad Bialik, Tel Aviv, 1951.
101. "Poliak sought the origins of Eastern European Jewry in Khazaria" (Golden 2007a, p. 29).
102. "As for the Jews of Eastern Europe (Poles, Russians, etc.), it has always been assumed that they descended from an amalgamation of Jews of Khazar stock from southern Russia and German Jews (the latter having imposed their superior culture)." (Poliakov 2005, p. 285)
103. Sand[206] cites Salo Wittmayer Baron, "before and after the Mongol upheaval the Khazars sent many offshoots into the unsubdued Slavonic lands, helping ultimately to build up the great Jewish center of Eastern Europe";[207] as well as Ben-Zion Dinur: "The Russian conquests did not destroy the Khazar kingdom entirely, but they broke it up and diminished it. And this kingdom, which had absorbed Jewish immigration and refugees from many exiles, must itself have become a diaspora mother, the mother of one of the greatest of the diasporas (Em-galuyot, em akhat hagaluyot hagdolot)-of Israel in Russia, Lithuania and Poland." (Dinur 1961, pp. 2, 5)
104. "Salo Baron, who incorrectly viewed them as Finno-Ugrians, believed that the Khazars 'sent many offshoots into the unsubdued Slavonic lands, helping ultimately to build up the great Jewish centers of eastern Europe'" (Golden 2007a, p. 55)
105. "dismissed ... rather airily" (Golden 2007a, p. 55).
106. "Some limit this denial to European Jews and make use of the theory that the Jews of Europe are not of Israelite descent at all but are the offspring of a tribe of Central Asian Turks converted to Judaism, called the Khazars. This theory, first put forward by an Austrian anthropologist in the early years of this century, is supported by no evidence whatsoever. It has long since been abandoned by all serious scholars in the field, including those in Arab countries, where Khazar theory is little used except in occasional political polemics."[210] Assertions of this kind have been challenged by Paul Wexler[211] who also notes that the arguments on this issue are riven by contrasting ideological investments: "Most writers who have supported the Ashkenazi-Khazar hypothesis have not argued their claims in a convincing manner ... The opponents of the Khazar-Ashkenazi nexus are no less guilty of empty polemics and unconvincing arguments." (Wexler 2002, p. 537)
107. "it is assumed by all historians that those Jewish Khazars who survived the last fateful decades sought and found refuge in the bosom of Jewish communities in the Christian countries to the west, and especially in Russia and Poland, on the one hand, and in the Muslim countries to the east and the south, on the other. Some historians and anthropologists go so far as to consider the modern Jews of East Europe, and more particularly of Poland, the descendants of the medieval Khazars." (Patai & Patai 1989, p. 71)
108. "The Khazar theory never figured as a major component of anti-Semitism. The connection receives only scant attention in Léon Poliakov's monumental history of the subject. It did however come to exercise a particular attraction for advocates of immigration restriction in America." (Barkun 1997, pp. 136–137)
109. "Although the Khazar theory gets surprisingly little attention in scholarly histories of anti-Semitism, it has been an influential theme among American anti-Semites since the immigration restrictionists of the 1920s" (Barkun 2012, p. 165).
110. "By the 1960s, when Christian identity was established as a force on the extreme right, the Khazar ancestry of the Jews was a firm article of faith. Two books, widely read in this milieu, came to exercise a strong influence in this regard. John Beaty's Iron Curtain over America (1951) and Wilmot Robertson's Dispossessed Majority (1972) repeated the Khazar thesis of Stoddard. Christian identity teachings readily seized on this negative reference to Russian Jewry but backdated Jewish intermarriage with the Khazars into biblical times. In A Short History of Esau-Edom in Jewry(1948), the Vancouver writer C.F.Parker had claimed that a tiny remnant of "true Judah" was pitted against a large group of Idumean-Hittites who masqueraded as the true seed of Abraham and sought to expel the descendants of Jacob. These Esau-Hittites are the Ashkenazim, concentrated in Eastern and Central Europe and America." (Goodrick-Clarke 2003, p. 237)
111. Beaty was an anti-Semitic, McCarthyite professor of Old English at SMU, author of The Iron Curtain over America (Dallas 1952). According to him, "the Khazar Jews ... were responsible for all of America's – and the world's ills, beginning with World War 1." The book "had little impact" until the former Wall Street broker and oil tycoon J. Russell Maguire promoted it.[223](Barkun 1997, pp. 141–142)
112. Wexler 2002, p. 514 has a more detailed bibliography.
113. "Arab anti-Semitism might have been expected to be free from the idea of racial odium, since Jews and Arabs are both regarded by race theory as Semites, but the odium is directed, not against the Semitic race, but against the Jews as a historical group. The main idea is that the Jews, racially, are a mongrel community, most of them being not Semites, but of Khazar and European origin."[225] This essay was translated from Harkabi Hebrew text 'Arab Antisemitism' in Shmuel Ettinger, Continuity and Discontinuity in Antisemitism, (Hebrew) 1968 (p.50).
114. "in the very late 1980s Russian nationalists were fixated on the 'Khazar episode.' For them the Khazar issue seemed to be a crucial one. They treated it as the first historically documented case of the imposition of a foreign yoke on the Slavs, ... In this context the term 'Khazars' became popular as a euphemism for the so-called 'Jewish occupation regime'." (Shnirelman 2007, pp. 353–372)
115. "The Khazar king and part of his court allegedly adopted the Jewish religion ... The truth of such a conversion and its extent has been the topic of many discussions, and the topic of vehement disagreements in our age of genomic DNA analyses." (Falk 2017, p. 100)
116. "Strong evidence for the Khazarian hypothesis is the clustering of European Jews with the populations that reside on opposite ends of ancient Khazaria: Armenians, Georgians, and Azerbaijani Jews" (Elhaik 2012, pp. 61–74).
117. 'During Greco-Roman times, recorded mass conversions led to 6 million people practicing Judaism in Roman times or up to 10% of the population of the Roman Empire. Thus, the genetic proximity of these European/Syrian Jewish populations, including Ashkenazi Jews, to each other and to French, Northern Italian, and Sardinian populations favors the idea of non-Semitic Mediterranean ancestry in the formation of the European/Syrian Jewish groups and is incompatible with theories that Ashkenazi Jews are for the most part the direct lineal descendants of converted Khazars or Slavs. The genetic proximity of Ashkenazi Jews to southern European populations has been observed in several other recent studies.. Admixture with local populations, including Khazars and Slavs, may have occurred subsequently during the 1000 year (2nd millennium) history of the European Jews. Based on analysis of Y chromosomal polymorphisms, Hammer estimated that the rate might have been as high as 0.5% per generation or 12.5% cumulatively (a figure derived from Motulsky), although this calculation might have underestimated the influx of European Y chromosomes during the initial formation of European Jewry.15 Notably, up to 50% of Ashkenazi Jewish Y chromosomal haplogroups (E3b, G, J1, and Q) are of Middle Eastern origin, 15 whereas the other prevalent haplogroups (J2, R1a1, R1b) may be representative of the early European admixture.20 The 7.5% prevalence of the R1a1 haplogroup among Ashkenazi Jews has been interpreted as a possible marker for Slavic or Khazar admixture because this haplogroup is very common among Ukrainians (where it was thought to have originated), Russians, and Sorbs, as well as among Central Asian populations, although the admixture may have occurred with Ukrainians, Poles, or Russians, rather than Khazars.' (Atzmon & Ostrer 2010, pp. 850–859)
118. "The extent to which the Khazars contributed to the Jewish gene-pool, and more specifically to the Ashkenazi ethnic-group(s), has become a charged issue among expert scientists as well as nonprofessionals. National and ethnic prejudices play a central role in the controversy." (Falk 2017, p. 100)
119. "if the genome does not prove Sand wrong, neither can it prove him right. It is the wrong kind of evidence and the wrong style of reasoning for the task at hand."[236] "They (researchers) will never be able to prove descent from Khazars: there are no 'verification' samples." (Abu El-Haj 2012, p. 133)
120. "Kiev in Khazar is Sambat, the same as the Hungarian word szombat, 'Saturday', which is likely to have been derived from the Khazar Jews living in Kyiv." (Róna-Tas 1999, p. 152)
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Part 3 of 3


1. Wexler 1996, p. 50.
2. Brook 2010, p. 107.
3. Turchin, Adams & Hall 2006, p. 222.
4. Taagepera 1997, p. 496.
5. Herlihy 1984, pp. 136–148.
6. Luttwak 2009, p. 152.
7. Meserve 2009, p. 294, n.164.
8. Petrukhin 2007, p. 255.
9. Encyclopedia Britannica: Khazar 2020.
10. Sneath 2007, p. 25.
11. Noonan 1999, p. 493.
12. Golden 2011, p. 65.
13. Noonan 1999, p. 498.
14. Noonan 1999, pp. 499, 502–03.
15. Golden 2007a, p. 131.
16. Golden 2007a, p. 28.
17. Golden 2007a, p. 149.
18. Behar et al. 2013, pp. 859–900.
19. Kizilov 2009, p. 335.
20. Patai & Patai 1989, p. 73.
21. Wexler 1987, p. 70.
22. Wexler 2002, p. 536.
23. Davies 1992, p. 242.
24. Vogt 1975.
25. Golden 2007a, p. 15.
26. Zimonyi 1990, p. 58.
27. Dunlop 1954, pp. 34–40.
28. Golden 2007a, p. 16.
29. Shirota 2005, pp. 235, 248.
30. Brook 2010, p. 5.
31. Whittow 1996, pp. 220–223.
32. Golden 2007a, p. 14.
33. Szádeczky-Kardoss 1994, p. 206.
34. Golden 2007a, pp. 40–41.
35. Golden 2006, p. 86.
36. Golden 2007a, p. 53.
37. Golden 2006, p. 89.
38. Kaegi 2003, p. 143 n.115.
39. Golden 1992, pp. 127–136, 234–237.
40. Kaegi 2003, pp. 154–186.
41. Whittow 1996, p. 222.
42. Golden 2001b, pp. 94–95.
43. Somogyi 2008, p. 128.
44. Zuckerman 2007, p. 417.
45. Golden 2006, p. 90.
46. Golden 2007a, pp. 11–13.
47. Noonan 2001, p. 91.
48. Golden 2007a, pp. 7–8.
49. Golden 2001b, p. 73.
50. Noonan 1999, p. 500.
51. Olsson 2013, p. 496.
52. Noonan 2001, p. 77.
53. Golden 2006, pp. 81–82.
54. Golden 2007b, pp. 133–134.
55. Shingiray 2012, p. 212.
56. DeWeese 1994, p. 181.
57. Golden 2006, pp. 79–81.
58. Golden 2006, p. 88.
59. Golden 2006, pp. 79–80, 88.
60. Olsson 2013, p. 495.
61. Koestler 1977, p. 18.
62. Dunlop 1954, p. 113.
63. Dunlop 1954, p. 96.
64. Brook 2010, pp. 3–4.
65. Patai & Patai 1989, p. 70.
66. Brook 2010, p. 3.
67. Oppenheim 1994, p. 312.
68. Barthold 1993, p. 936.
69. Zhivkov 2015, p. 173.
70. Golden 2011, p. 64.
71. Noonan 2007, p. 214.
72. Luttwak 2009, p. 52.
73. Beckwith 2011, pp. 120, 122.
74. Kaegi 2003, pp. 143–145.
75. Róna-Tas 1999, p. 230.
76. Kaegi 2003, p. 145.
77. Bauer 2010, p. 341.
78. Ostrogorski 1969, pp. 124–126.
79. Cameron & Herrin 1984, p. 212.
80. Bauer 2010, pp. 341–342.
81. Luttwak 2009, pp. 137–138.
82. Piltz 2004, p. 42.
83. Noonan 2007, p. 220.
84. Beckwith 2011, p. 392, n.22.
85. Heath 1979, p. 14.
86. Mako 2010, p. 45.
87. Brook 2010, pp. 126–127.
88. Brook 2010, p. 127.
89. Golden 1980, p. 64.
90. Wasserstein 2007, pp. 375–376.
91. Shepard 2006, p. 19.
92. Petrukhin 2007, p. 245.
93. Noonan 2001, p. 81.
94. Korobkin 1998, p. xxvii.
95. Golb & Pritsak 1982, p. 15.
96. Petrukhin 2007, p. 257.
97. Kohen 2007, p. 107.
98. Noonan 1999, pp. 502–3.
99. Noonan 1999, p. 508.
100. Petrukhin 2007, p. 259.
101. Petrukhin 2007, p. 262.
102. Petrukhin 2007, pp. 262–263.
103. Russian Primary Chronicle.
104. JPetrukhin 2007, p. 263.
105. Dunlop 1954, p. 242.
106. Gow 1995, p. 31, n.28.
107. Sand 2010, p. 229.
108. Golden 2007b, p. 148.
109. Noonan 1999, p. 503.
110. Golden 2007b, pp. 147–148.
111. Kohen 2007, p. 109.
112. Shapira 2007a, p. 305.
113. Dunlop 1954, p. 253.
114. Falk 2017, p. 102.
115. Sand 2010, p. 227.
116. Dubnov 1980, p. 792.
117. Golden 2007a, p. 45, n.157.
118. Golden 2007b, p. 159.
119. Peacock 2010, p. 35.
120. Erdal 2007, p. 80, n.22.
121. Golden 2001a, pp. 28–29, 37.
122. Golden 1994b, pp. 247–248.
123. Róna-Tas 1999, p. 56.
124. Golden 2007a, p. 33.
125. Golden 2007b, p. 150.
126. Brook 2010, p. 167.
127. Bowersock 2013, pp. 85ff..
128. Schweid 2007, p. 286.
129. Baron 1957, pp. 202–204 [204].
130. Wexler 2002, p. 514.
131. Golden 2007b, p. 149.
132. Brook 2010, pp. 177–178.
133. Noonan 2007, p. 229.
134. Golden 2007b, pp. 131–133.
135. Whittow 1996, p. 220.
136. Golden 2007b, p. 133.
137. Golden 2007b, pp. 124, 135.
138. Golden 2007b, p. 125.
139. DeWeese 1994, pp. 292–293.
140. Golden 2007b, pp. 135–6.
141. Stampfer 2013, pp. 1–72.
142. DeWeese 1994, p. 171.
143. Szpiech 2012, p. 102.
144. Golden 2007b, p. 123.
145. Koestler 1977, p. 52.
146. Gil 2011, pp. 429–441.
147. Golden 2007b, pp. 141–145, 161.
148. Noonan 2001, pp. 77–78.
149. Schama 2013, p. 266.
150. Wexler 1987, p. 61.
151. Szyszman 1980, pp. 71, 73).
152. Dunlop 1954, pp. 122–124.
153. Brook 2010, pp. 95, 117 n.51,52.
154. Stampfer 2013, p. 17.
155. Brook 2018, p. 6.
156. Dunlop 1954, pp. 140–142.
157. Zhivkov 2015, p. 42.
158. Shingiray 2012, pp. 212–214.
159. Szpiech 2012, pp. 92–117 [104].
160. Golden 2007b, pp. 137–138.
161. Spinei 2009, p. 50.
162. Shapira 2007b, pp. 349, and n.178.
163. Zuckerman (1995), p. 250.
164. Golden 2007b, pp. 127–128, 151–153.
165. DeWeese 1994, pp. 300–308.
166. Melamed 2003, pp. 24–26.
167. DeWeese 1994, p. 302.
168. Olsson 2013, p. 512.
169. Korobkin 1998, p. 352, n.8.
170. Dunlop 1954, p. 170.
171. DeWeese 1994, p. 303.
172. Golden 2007b, p. 157.
173. Dunlop 1954, pp. 117–118.
174. DeWeese 1994, pp. 304–305.
175. Róna-Tas 1999, p. 232.
176. Maroney 2010, p. 72.
177. Golden 2007a, p. 34.
178. Golden 2007b, p. 161.
179. Koestler 1977, p. 63.
180. Szyszman 1980, pp. 71,73).
181. Brook 2018, pp. 145, 149–151, 162–163, 164.
182. Brook 2018, pp. 210–216.
183. Golden 2007a, p. 9.
184. Brook 2018, pp. 208–209.
185. Goldstein 2011, p. 9.
186. Shapira 2006, p. 166.
187. Blady (2000), p. 125.
188. Weinryb 1973a, pp. 21–22.
189. Brook 2018, pp. 213–215.
190. Brook 2014, pp. 69–84.
191. Blady (2000), p. 122.
192. Blady (2000), p. 126.
193. Rossman 2002, p. 98.
194. Singerman 2004, pp. 3–4, Israël chez les nations (1893)
195. Goldstein 2006, p. 131.
196. Koestler 1977, pp. 134, 150.
197. von Kutschera 1909.
198. Fishberg 1911.
199. Brook 2010, p. 210.
200. Falk 2017, p. 101, n.9.
201. Singerman 2004, p. 4.
202. Roland Burrage Dixon The Racial History of Man, 1923; H. G. Wells, The Outline of History (1920)
203. Malkiel 2008, p. 263, n.1.
204. Sand 2010, p. 234.
205. Dunlop 1954, pp. 261, 263.
206. Sand 2010, pp. 241–242.
207. Baron 1957, pp. 196–206 [206].
208. Brook 2006, p. 192.
209. Sand 2010, p. 240.
210. Lewis 1987, p. 48.
211. Wexler 2002, p. 538.
212. Toch 2012, p. 155, n.4.
213. Wexler 2007, pp. 387–398.
214. Sand 2010, pp. 190–249.
215. Elhaik 2012, pp. 61–74.
216. Spolsky 2014, pp. 174–177.
217. Golden 2007a, pp. 9–10.
218. Wexler 2002, pp. 513–541.
219. Brook 2018, pp. 207–208.
220. Barkun 1997, pp. 136–137.
221. Singerman 2004, pp. 4–5.
222. Goodrick-Clarke 2003, p. 237.
223. Boller 1992, pp. 2, 6–7.
224. Barkun 1997, pp. 140–141. Cf. Wilmot Robertson Dispossessed Majority(1972)
225. Harkabi 1987, p. 424.
226. Rossman 2007, pp. 121–188.
227. Barkun 1997, pp. 142–144.
228. Goodman & Miyazawa 2000, pp. 263–264.
229. Stampfer 2013.
230. Ostrer 2012, pp. 24–27, 93–95, 124–125.
231. Nebel, Filon & Brinkmann 2001, pp. 1095–1112.
232. Behar et al. 2003, pp. 769–779.
233. Nebel, Filon & Faerman 2005, pp. 388–391.
234. Costa, Pereira & Richards 2013, pp. 1–10.
235. Behar et al. 2013.
236. Abu El-Haj 2012, p. 28.
237. Lobel 2000, pp. 2–4.
238. Baron 1957, p. 204.
239. Wachtel 1998, pp. 210–215.
240. Cokal 2007.


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External links

• The Kievan Letter scan in the Cambridge University Library collection.
• Resources – Medieval Jewish History – The Khazars The Jewish History Resource Center, Project of the Dinur Center for Research in Jewish History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
• Khazar Historic Maps at the Wayback Machine (archived 26 October 2009)
• The Kitab al-Khazari of Judah Hallevi, full English translation at
• Ancient lost capital of the Khazar kingdom found
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Part 1 of 2

Natural Theology and Natural Religion
Copyright © 2020 by Andrew Chignell <>; Derk Pereboom <>
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
First published Mon Jul 6, 2015; substantive revision Fri Jul 17, 2020



On what criterion then shall we decide his [Richard Brothers'] merits? to what authority shall we appeal? His own answer is,

Search the Scriptures yourselves. As Christians, You must acknowledge them to be the perfect sources of all veracity, and let them be the touchstone of my assertions.

Here let us pause for a moment, and reflect, that if we take him at his word, we are once more consigned to the mysterious depths of Daniel, Esdras, and of the Revelations, where so many ingenious interpreters, and athletic commentators, have been already shipwrecked. How shall we scape a similar calamity? If it be possible on this sea ever to make a safe harbour, we must certainly strike out some new course, and take for our compass the following considerations on the nature and properties of prophetic writing.

ll prophecies are neither more nor less than true genuine aenigmas, in which the meaning is so nicely and artificially enveloped by ambiguity of sense and of expression, that until we be furnished by the inventor himself with the proper clue to unravel them, they are calculated to appear as a tissue of the most incongruent absurdities. Of these prophetical compositions, some are compact and close, like the greater part of the Pagan oracles, and others more copious and diffuse. In the former case, every word, I had almost said every letter, comes in for its share of meaning; and the key that does not precisely fit every one of them is good for nothing. No allowance is to be admitted for any thing superabundant or extraneous. In the longer compositions a greater latitude prevails: among several sentences, or distinct members of one sentence, the meaning is all contained in a single phrase only, which is to be construed with all the minute precision and undeviating consistency required in the former case, while the other parts are only thrown in to mislead the observer. Just as if the real objects to be represented in a picture were softened down, melted away, and obscured in the distances of the back ground, while the prominent features of the design, that occupy the front of the canvas, should be formed of adventitious or frivolous representations, of no consequence or necessity to the piece. Instances of both kinds will occur as we proceed; and frequent specimens of each may be found in the different prophecies of the Old Testament, which are acknowledged by all sound critics and expositors to allude to the coming and sufferings of the Messiah.

In this place it may not be superfluous to mention, that in the occupation of decyphering mysterious and allegorical modes of composition, I am far from being undisciplined. If I have been rather negligent of our own sacred writings, I have at least been in the habit of bestowing unwearied attention on those of the old Hindus; writings not widely dissimilar in style and manner from the prophetical treatises in our own Bible.

Nor have my researches been altogether fruitless, since I have been fortunate enough to discover the true meaning couched under the Hindu triad of Energies or powers, called Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, which I affirm to be nothing more than poetical personifications of matter, space, and time, and I say, that by the proper application of these three terms, all the surviving remains of genuine Brachmanical mythology may be truly elucidated.

Fortified therefore with this pre-acquired aptitude for such studies, I sat down with pleasure to the task recommended by Mr. Brothers, namely, to read the modern history of Europe in the prophetic records of the Old and New Testament.

For this purpose, nothing was requisite, but to examine, by the test of human sagacity, whether the clue furnished by him were in gross and in all its parts perfectly commensurate to the whole tenor and purport of the mysteries to be unraveled; for if it failed in any one particular, or were found too long or too short in its application to any one instance—actum esset de toto— The works of God are all without flaw; and for this clue to possess that degree of perfection, it must necessarily have proceeded from God himself, who constructed the visions of the prophecies at first, to the very intent that they never should become intelligible, until, at the time destined by his holy will and pleasure, the true mot de l'aenigme [puzzle word] should be revealed to his creatures; and when once this clue should come to be known, any man whatever, with a competent share of learning and industry, might comprehend and expound all the secrets to which it applies, as well as the very man to whom it was originally imparted.

To make this point more intelligible, I shall observe, that with respect to the four beasts in the vision of Daniel (and the same in any other case) it might happen, and probably has happened, that some man or other should form a very probable guess as to the meaning of a single beast, or even two. But what has never been done, and what never could have been done, but by direct revelation from God, is to find a key, one and indivisible, that should apply perfectly and equally well to all the four: so that taking each of them severally, or the whole in a mass, the true meaning should be no less perspicuous and palpable in their union than in their separation. And so with regard to the Babylon mentioned in the Revelations. The Portrait of Rome is so evident in that part where Rome is really meant, that not a single commentator of the hundreds who have handled the passage has ever once mistaken it. But they have all erred in supposing that Babylon universally, and in all cases, signified the same Rome: and I have no doubt, but that very clear and intelligible description of Rome in one place, was expressly inserted for the sole purpose of misguiding, and putting to fault, their conjectures on other parts of the prophecy, where a different city is alluded to under the same title. And this is agreeable to the ordinary conduct of God's providence towards mankind. He has not totally denied them light; but the ray which he has graciously imparted to them, only serves to lead them astray, if they for a moment give loose to the wanderings of their own imaginations.

This then is the question:—Has Richard Brothers possession of this clue, and has he declared it in his book? I answer, Yes; because I am sure I found it there. But at the same time, I affirm, he makes very little use of it, because he comes at his knowledge a shorter way.

He indeed pretends to an immediate and direct inspiration from God. And I take upon myself to prove, by the ordinary exertion of human sagacity, that he is really inspired. And I shall prove it in this manner.

He tells us in a dry, concise, unqualified assertion, that such a thing is so and so—as he has it from God; but he gives us no reason why it should be so; and we see at once that he repeats his lesson by hear-say. I will take his clue, and lead you on step by step through the different degrees of analysis, till you come at the very conclusion with which he sets out:—shewing you by scientifical process, and almost ocular demonstration, all the predicaments which he has totally omitted:—and so connect my arguments with his affirmations, that they shall mutually support, corroborate, and confirm each other. The analysis, on my part, shall give evidence to the authenticity of his inspiration; and the assertion, on his part, shall è converso [conversely] bear witness to the fidelity of my exposition.

And now, to give some previous testimonial of my own pretensions in this mode of investigation, conformable indeed to the general line of Mr. Brothers's declarations, but not explicitly mentioned in any part of them—I affirm from my own discoveries, that the prophet Daniel positively and particularly denounces annihilation to the British navy in this war. And on proof of this proposition, in the course of my Essay I am content to rest my whole pretensions to penetration.

If we consult the map of Europe, it will be found to comprehend little more than the dominions of the following sovereigns—

The Emperor of Germany, and the Princes of the Empire.

The Empress of Russia.

The Pope.

The Kings of England, France, Spain, Prussia, and Sardinia.

To every one of these has Mr. Brothers prognosticated a fatal catastrophe; and I assert that of myself, without any assistance from him, (for, when I called upon him expressly to beg explanation and satisfaction, he had no other answer for me, than that I must examine the scriptures) I have discovered the fate of every one of these to be unequivocally announced in the prophecies of Daniel and Esdras. If I succeed in fully establishing these points only, and I shall do more, there is an end of altercation: we very fairly may, nay, we ought, and by the most rigid rules of sound criticism and logic we must, give him credit for all the rest of his predictions— ex pede Herculem [Hercules on foot].

-- Testimony of the Authenticity of the Prophecies of Richard Brothers, and of His Mission to Recal the Jews, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed, M.P.

The term “natural religion” is sometimes taken to refer to a pantheistic doctrine according to which nature itself is divine. “Natural theology”, by contrast, originally referred to (and still sometimes refers to)[1] the project of arguing for the existence of God on the basis of observed natural facts.

In contemporary philosophy, however, both “natural religion” and “natural theology” typically refer to the project of using all of the cognitive faculties that are “natural” to human beings—reason, sense-perception, introspection—to investigate religious or theological matters. Natural religion or theology, on the present understanding, is not limited to empirical inquiry into nature, and it is not wedded to a pantheistic result. It does, however, avoid appeals to special non-natural faculties (ESP, telepathy, mystical experience) or supernatural sources of information (sacred texts, revealed theology, creedal authorities, direct supernatural communication). In general, natural religion or theology (hereafter “natural theology”) aims to adhere to the same standards of rational investigation as other philosophical and scientific enterprises, and is subject to the same methods of evaluation and critique. Natural theology is typically contrasted with “revealed theology”, where the latter explicitly appeals to special revelations such as miracles, scriptures, and divinely-superintended commentaries and creedal formulations. (See DeCruz and DeSmedt 2015)

Philosophers and religious thinkers across almost every epoch and tradition (Near Eastern, African, Asian, and European) have engaged the project of natural theology, either as proponents or critics. The question of whether natural theology is a viable project is at the root of some of the deepest religious divisions: Shi’ite thinkers are optimistic about reason’s ability to prove various theological and ethical truths, for instance, while Sunnis are not; Roman Catholic theologians typically think that reason provides demonstrations of the existence of God, while many Protestant theologians do not. Unlike most of the topics discussed in an encyclopedia of philosophy, this is one over which wars have been fought and throats have been cut.

The most active discussions of natural theology in the West occurred during the high medieval period (roughly 1100–1400 C.E.) and the early modern period (1600–1800 C.E.). The past few decades have witnessed a revival of natural theological debate in the public sphere: there are now institutes promoting “Intelligent Design Theory”, popular apologetics courses, campus debates between believers and agnostics, a “New Atheist” movement, Youtube debates between apologists and atheists regarding new books in natural theology (such as the one between Nathan Lewis and Bernie Dehler on the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology),[2] and TED talks by famous atheists on how to resist natural religion (such as the one by Richard Dawkins in February 2002).[3]

Among professional philosophers (who aren’t typically part of these more popular debates), arguments over our ability to justify positive or negative answers to religious questions have become fairly technical, often employing sophisticated logical techniques in an effort to advance the discussion instead of retreading the same old ground. The prestigious Gifford Lectures series hosted by a consortium of Scottish universities, however, has tried to feature new but still accessible work in natural theology for over 100 years (it too has a Youtube channel!)[4]

In this article, we aim to avoid most the more recent complexities but also explain their origins by focusing on some central developments in the early modern period that helped to frame contemporary natural theological debates. We are focused here only on theoretical arguments (both a priori and a posteriori or empirical ones). It is controversial whether moral arguments are also part of natural theology, but we set them aside here (see also the entry on God, arguments for the existence of: moral arguments).

1. Prolegomenal Considerations

Theologians often follow Immanuel Kant’s example and address various “prolegomena” or preliminary questions before trying to do any substantive metaphysics. These include questions about the nature of religious language and about whether or not we are in principle able to access and understand religious truths.

1.1 Religious Language and Concepts

Again, we will use the term “natural theologian” to refer to someone who aims to use ordinary human cognitive faculties (reason, sense-perception, introspection) to establish positive truths about the existence and nature of God and other religiously significant, supersensible beings or states of affairs. Such a person presupposes that sentences in human language (or at least sentences in the language of human thought) can express some theological truths, even if other such truths are beyond us.

Critics of natural theology sometimes challenge these semantic presuppositions. They provide reasons to think that our thoughts, concepts, or sentences are incapable of expressing theological truths, because they are incapable of referring adequately to the transcendent entities that play an important role in many religious doctrines—entities such as Judaism’s YHWH, Neo-Platonism’s One, Vedanta’s Brahman, Mormonism’s Heavenly Father, and so on. The debate surrounding these issues is often designated “the problem of religious language”, but it is usually as much about human concepts as it is about sentences in natural languages.

In the western tradition, there have been a few periods of especially active discussion of these prolegomenal issues. The Neo-Platonic era was one (see the discussion of negative theology in the entry on Plotinus), the high medieval period (1100–1400 or so) was another, the Enlightenment movement in 17th–18th century Europe (especially the empiricist portion of it) was a third. More recent discussions have involved both analytic and continental figures: A.J. Ayer, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger, Antony Flew, Norman Malcolm, Emmanuel Levinas, and William P. Alston have each discussed, in very different ways, the question of whether and how our language might succeed in referring to transcendent entities. However, since the 1970s, analytic philosophers have turned away from a focus on language to a revival of metaphysics, and the “problem of religious language” has been much less prominent.

1.2 Rational Access

In addition to questions about what religious language refers to and how (if at all) religious concepts apply, the natural theologian faces another set of preliminary questions about our ability to generate sound arguments about such entities or facts. Our sense-perceptual and rational faculties are clearly limited and fallible. There are presumably many facts about the natural universe that we are incapable of grasping due to their complexity or inaccessibility. So why should we think that our natural faculties can deliver truths about even more remote or transcendent entities?

A related debate concerns whether natural theology is the only method by which we can have access to the domain of truths about supersensible realities of religious interests. Some practitioners (call them rationalists) argue that only propositions that can be justified by unaided human reason are candidates for permissible belief. Others (call them hybridists) allow that our natural faculties can take us a certain distance—to knowledge of the basic nature and even existence of God, say—but argue that we must ultimately appeal to revelation and faith when it comes to more specific doctrines regarding the divine nature, acts, and intentions. This is the canonical Roman Catholic position on faith and reason developed in authors such as Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, and revived in the natural scientific context of the Renaissance by Catalan scholar Raymond Sebond (1385–1436). Sebond’s Latin work, Theologia Naturalis (1434–1436), became famous when Michel de Montaigne translated it into French in 1569 and made it the subject of the longest of his renowned Essays (‘Apology for Raymond Sebond’), in 1580.

There are many kinds of hybridists: while they all think a turn to faith is necessary at some point, some seek to establish little more than the bare existence of God before turning to faith for greater details. Others think it is possible to develop a more robust understanding of God from within the bounds of reason and sense-perception. Indeed, in recent years the so-called “ramified natural theology” movement has sought to use our natural faculties to demonstrate (or show to be highly probable) robust doctrines that go well beyond bare theism—for example, specifically Christian doctrines such as that of the Trinity, the resurrection, or the historical authenticity of certain miracles or biblical prophecies (Swinburne 2003; Newman et al. 2003; Gauch Jr. 2011; see section 4 below).

Opponents of natural religion or theology, by contrast, deny that reason and our other ordinary perceptual capacities can justify religious beliefs. Some of these opponents are fideists (e.g., on some readings, Tertullian, Blaise Pascal, Pierre Bayle, J.G. Hamann, F.H. Jacobi, and Søren Kierkegaard) who hold these same beliefs as articles of faith rather than as teachings of reason (see the entry on fideism). Pascal, for instance, was a preeminent mathematician with strong interests in natural theology, but ultimately concluded (during what he called a “night of fire” in November 1654) that unaided reason is more likely to lead us to the false god “of philosophers and scholars” than to the true “God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob”. The 20th century Reformed theologian Karl Barth opposed natural theology for much the same reason, and made his opposition to Emil Brunner’s version of the hybridist project clear in a book titled simply “Nein!” (Barth 1934). In his Gifford Lectures (which were endowed by Lord Gifford to be a lecture series about natural theology), contemporary theologian Stanley Hauerwas espouses a fideistic view in the tradition of Pascal and Barth but claims (somewhat perversely) that his project (which incorporates biblical texts and specifically Christian doctrines) counts as “natural theology” all the same (Hauerwas 2001: 15ff).

Other opponents of natural theology are agnostics who do not find the fideist’s turn to faith appealing. They deny that our natural faculties succeed in justifying any positive or negative substantial (i.e., non-analytic) theistic beliefs, and consequently suspend belief. Agnostics differ, however, as to whether unaided reason could in principle but does not in fact justify such beliefs (thus Bertrand Russell’s famous response to a question about what he would say if he were to die and then confront God on judgment day: “not enough evidence, God, not enough evidence!”), or whether our unaided faculties are not even in principle adequate to the task.

Still other opponents of natural theology are atheists. Atheists agree with fideists and agnostics that our natural faculties cannot establish the existence of God or other religious entities. But that’s because they think those faculties provide reasons to believe that such entities do not exist at all (see the entry on atheism and agnosticism). One such reason is the negative one that we cannot produce any sound arguments for theistic claims. But atheists also often maintain that there are positive reasons to believe that God does not exist—the incoherence of the concept of God, for instance, or the incompatibility of God’s existence and the existence of horrendous suffering and evil (see the entry on the problem of evil).

There are many ways to approach a survey of natural theology. Here we have chosen to focus largely on the classic historical discussions, and in particular on the debates in the medieval and Enlightenment (17th–18th century) periods in the west. We will consider versions of the two basic kinds of positive argument in favor of religious theses: a priori arguments and a posteriori arguments. There are species of each of these.

2. A priori arguments

2.1 Ontological arguments

A priori arguments are those that do not require an appeal to particular sense-perceptual experiences in order to justify their conclusions. Immanuel Kant gave the name “ontological” to a priori arguments that aim to prove the existence of an object from a concept or an idea of that object (see the entry on ontological arguments). But the argument over whether such a strategy can establish the existence of God began well before Kant’s time.

2.1.1 Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109)

An early and now-canonical formulation of the ontological argument is found in the second book of St. Anselm’s Proslogion (Anselm 1077–78). Anselm begins by characterizing God as the “being than which none greater can be thought” and then seeks to show that such a being does and indeed must exist.

Anselm’s argument can be reconstructed in various ways (see the entry on Saint Anselm), but here is one:

1. By “God” we understand something than which nothing greater can be thought. [premise]
2. When we understand the term “God”, God is in the understanding. [premise]
3. Therefore, something than which nothing greater can be thought is in the understanding. [by (1) and (2)]
4. What is in the understanding and in reality is greater than what is in the understanding alone. [premise]
5. Therefore, God exists in the understanding and in reality. [by (3) and (4)]

In support of (2), Anselm notes that

[T]he fool has said in his heart that “There is no God”. But when this same Fool hears me say “something than which nothing greater can be thought”, he surely understands what he hears; and what he understands exists in his understanding, even if he does not understand that it exists [in reality]. (Anselm 81–2)

So according to Anselm, even the “foolish” atheist understands the term “God” when he argues that God does not exist. By this Anselm simply means that the atheist has the idea of God, and thus has God “in his understanding”.

Premise (4) presupposes that things can exist in a number of different ways or modes. One of those ways is as the object of an idea—i.e., existence “in the understanding”. Another way for it to exist is “in reality”. (4) articulates a comparative value judgment about these ways of existing: it is greater for something to exist in both ways than it is to exist merely in the first way.

In order to deduce (5) from (3) and (4), Anselm uses a reductio ad absurdum argument:

And surely that than which a greater cannot be thought cannot exist only in the understanding. For if it exists only in the understanding, it can be thought to exist in reality as well, which is greater. (Anselm 82)

More explicitly:

a. Suppose a certain being, B1, is conceived of as God is in the proof, and B1 is in the understanding alone. [supposition for reductio]
b. But we can conceive of another being, B2, that is exactly like B1, except that B2 exists in reality as well as in the understanding. [introspection]
c. Thus, B2 is greater than B1. [by (4)]
d. It is impossible to conceive of a being that is greater than B1. [by (a) and (1)]
e. Contradiction. [by (c) and (d)]
f. Therefore, (a) is false: If B1 is conceived of as God is in the proof, then B1 must exist in reality as well as in the understanding. [by (e)]

Philosophers and theologians have made numerous efforts to revive or demolish Anselm’s argument over the centuries. The most influential proponents include René Descartes, Gottfried Leibniz, Charles Hartshorne, Norman Malcolm, Robert M. Adams, and Alvin Plantinga. Its main detractors include Anselm’s contemporaneous interlocutor—a monk named Gaunilo—as well as Thomas Aquinas, Descartes’ correspondents Johannes Caterus, Marin Mersenne, and Antoine Arnauld, Immanuel Kant, and, more recently, David Lewis (1970), Peter van Inwagen (1977), and Graham Oppy (1996, 2009). In what follows, a number of the relevant moves in the early modern discussion will be considered, as well as some contemporary developments of the 17th century modal argument.

2.1.2 René Descartes (1596–1650)

Descartes’ ontological argument, first presented in the Fifth Meditation, aims to prove the existence of God from the idea of God (Descartes 1641, cited below from the edition by Adam and Tannery (1962–1976) and referred to as “AT”). Here is one way to formulate the argument (compare Pereboom 1996, 2010; for alternatives see the entry on Descartes’ Ontological Argument):

1. When I have an idea of an object, the object really has whatever characteristics I clearly and distinctly understand it to have. (premise)
2. I have an idea of God in which I clearly and distinctly understand God as the being that has all perfections. (premise)
3. Therefore, God has all perfections. [by (1) and (2)]
4. Everlasting existence is a perfection. (premise)
5. Therefore, God has everlasting existence. [by (3) and (4)]
6. Therefore, God exists. [by (5)] (AT 7.63–71)

One prominent way of resisting this argument is to reduce it to absurdity by appeal to “parity of reasoning”. Johannes Caterus, for instance, objected to Descartes that by a precisely parallel form of reasoning we could prove the real existence of the object of an idea of an existent lion (AT 7.99). Gaunilo’s reply to Anselm centuries earlier was similar: by parity of reasoning, one can prove the existence in reality (and not just in the understanding) of the maximally perfect island (Anselm 102).

The objection aims to show that, like the idea God, the idea of the existent lion and the idea of the maximally perfect island include existence, and thus the existence of these objects can be established via an ontological argument. But the claim that the existence of Caterus’s lion and Gaunilo’s island can be established in this way is absurd, and thus the same holds for the theistic ontological argument. Note that this parity argument via a reductio ad absurdum, if successful, would show that the ontological argument is unsound, but without indicating which step in the reasoning is at fault.

A second objection, anticipated by Descartes in the Fifth Meditation, is that truly predicating a property of something without specifying any conditions or intentional contexts involves an affirmation that the thing exists. So from the truth of “Macron is the President of France”, one can conclude that Macron exists. As a result, “Pegasus is a winged horse” is strictly speaking false, though by using the intentional context “according to the myth” we can say, truly, “According to the myth, Pegasus is a winged horse”. This suggests that premise (3) above is subject to a decisive challenge, and Descartes can legitimately claim only, for instance “According to the idea of God, God has all perfections”, or “If God exists, then God has all perfections”. But then all that follows in step (6) is the unspectacular conclusion that “According to the idea of God, God exists”, or, even less impressively, “If God exists, then God exists”.

A third problem, raised in the Second Objections by Father Marin Mersenne, is that the argument would be sound only if a maximally perfect being is really possible, or, equivalently, only if there is a genuine divine essence. But this, Mersenne complains, has not been established (AT 7.127). (Side note: Gaunilo and Mersenne are good examples of how devout theists might still take issue with natural theological efforts to prove God’s existence.)

Descartes’ reply to these objections involves the notion of a “true and immutable nature” (“TIN”) (AT 7.101ff.). Only some of our ideas of things that have TINs. Moreover, TINs themselves exist in some way, although they need not exist in concrete or empirical reality. Perhaps they are abstract objects, like numbers or sets (Descartes explicitly compares them to Plato’s Forms). In any case, the kind of existence TINs have is sufficient to undermine the second objection above: the divine essence—God’s nature—is a true and immutable nature, and thus we do not need to prefix anything like the phrase “According to the idea of God” to premise (3). Rather, Descartes thinks we can clearly and distinctly perceive that God’s nature is a TIN, and that this TIN contains all perfections. Thus we can conclude that “God has all perfections”. That would make the inference to (6) a valid one.

Descartes’ challenge, then, is to show that God’s nature is a TIN and that the natures of an “existent lion” and “the maximally perfect island” are not TINs. In the Fifth Meditation Descartes maintains that TINs are different from fictitious ideas in that TINs are in some sense independent of the thought of their conceivers. For example, the nature of a triangle is a TIN because it contains properties that we don’t grasp when we first form the idea of a triangle, and deducing these further properties is a process “more like discovery than creation”. God’s nature also has this feature—we obviously don’t grasp all of the properties of the maximally perfect being when we first form an idea of it. The problem, however, is that it is not clear how this criterion would rule out the natures of a most perfect island or an existent lion as TINs, since in those cases we also don’t grasp all of the properties when we first form the idea.

Later, Descartes (AT 7.83–4) characterizes a TIN as having a unity such that it cannot be divided by the intellect. He thinks that having this feature shows that is hasn’t been simply put together by the intellect or imagination, and is thus a genuine nature. Accordingly, the idea of an existent lion does not correspond to a TIN because I can coherently conceive of a lion that doesn’t exist. Likewise I can coherently conceive of a maximally perfect island having one fewer coconut tree but one more mango tree, and so on. But it also seems that I can conceive of some of the divine perfections without others (i.e. of an omnipotent being that is lacking maximal benevolence). So by this standard it appears that the idea of God also fails to correspond to a true and immutable nature. Note: Descartes himself seems to resist this objection by arguing that all of the divine perfections ultimately boil down to sovereignty or omnipotence.

To the third problem, concerning the real possibility of God, Descartes replies that our clear and distinct ideas of TINs—produced in us by reason—are reliable. Since we can (supposedly) see clearly and distinctly that there is no contradiction in our idea of God’s nature, the denial that God is really possible is on equal footing with the denial that the angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles (AT 7.150–1).

2.1.3 Gottfried Leibniz (1646–1716)

Leibniz addresses several of the central objections to Descartes’ ontological argument (in, e.g., Leibniz 1676 [PP]: 167–8; 1677 [PP]: 177–80; 1684 [PP]: 292–3; 1692 [PP]: 386; 1678 [PE]: 237–39; 1699 [PE]: 287–88; Adams 1994: 135–56). These include:

A. the claim that the essence of a most perfect being includes its existence—that existence is a perfection—hasn’t been substantiated;
B. the claim that all this argument can establish is the conditional “If an object of the concept of God exists, then God exists”; and
C. the claim that the real possibility of a most perfect being cannot be demonstrated

In several places Leibniz addresses (A) by arguing that by “God” we understand a necessary being, and that from this it follows that the essence of God involves necessary existence. In this way we supposedly avoid altogether the premise that existence is a perfection. (One wonders, however, whether the argument for including “necessary existence” in the idea of God will need to rely on the premise that necessary existence is a perfection.)

In some writings Leibniz tries to bypass (B) by presenting an argument with a different conditional as its conclusion (see Adams 1994: 135–42):

1. If there is a divine essence, then the divine essence involves necessary existence. [premise]
2. If God is a possible being, then there is a divine essence. [premise]
3. If God is a possible being, then the divine essence involves necessary existence. [by (1), (2)]
4. If God is a possible being, then God necessarily exists. [by (3)]
5. Therefore, if God is a possible being, then God actually exists. [by (4)]

What has yet to be dealt with, clearly, is Mersenne’s problem above—(C), that the real possibility of a most perfect being cannot be demonstrated. Leibniz offers several types of arguments against this. One relies on the fact that other things are clearly possible, together with the claim that only a necessary being provides a satisfactory ground or explanation for the possible existence of contingent beings. So on the assumption that contingent beings possibly exist, it must be at least possible for God, as a necessary being, to exist (for more on this kind of argument from possibility, see section 2.3 below).

A second type of Leibnizian argument for God’s real possibility returns to the thesis that God is the most perfect being, and adds that perfections are positive and simple, unanalyzable qualities. So, for example, consider any proposition of the form “A and B are incompatible”, where A and B are any two perfections. Two properties are incompatible only if they are logically incompatible, according to Leibniz. Thus “A and B are incompatible” will be true only if one of these perfections turns out to be the negation of the other (as in omniscient and non-omniscient), or if their analyses reveal simpler properties, one of which is a negation of another. But on the assumption that all the divine perfections are positive, simple, and thus unanalyzable, neither of these scenarios can obtain. Consequently, “A and B are compatible” is always true for any two perfections, and thus a being with all perfections is really possible (Leibniz 1678 [PE]: 238–39; Adams 1994: 142–48).

A third Leibnizean response to Mersenne’s objection is that it is rational to presume the real possibility of the things we can conceive, at least until their impossibility has been demonstrated.

2.1.4 Immanuel Kant (1724–1804)

Kant’s most famous criticism of the ontological argument is encapsulated in his claim that “existence” (or “exists”) is not a positive determination or “real predicate” (Kant 1781/1787: A592/B619ff). Alternatively, “existence” is not “a predicate that is added to the concept of the subject and enlarges it” (A598/B626; see Stang 2016 and Pasternack 2018 for discussion). Kant’s idea here is that since “existence” is not a real predicate, existing cannot be one of God’s perfections.

One way to interpret the objection is as follows:

1. Suppose A and B are two entities, and A is greater than B at t1. [premise]
2. If B becomes as great as A at t2, then B changes. [by (1)]
3. For every entity x, if x changes, then:
a. there is a time t1 at which x has (or lacks) some property P, and
b. there is a later time t2 at which x lacks (or has) P as a result of x’s acting or being acted upon. [premise]
4. For every entity x, if x comes into existence in reality, conditions (3a) and (3b) are not satisfied. [premise]
5. Therefore, when an entity comes into existence in reality, it doesn’t change. [by (3), (4)]
6. Therefore, B cannot become as great as A solely in virtue of B’s coming into existence in reality. [by (2), (5)]
7. Therefore, A cannot be greater than B solely in virtue of existing in reality. [by (6)]

(4) is the key premise in this formulation—does coming into existence involve a genuine change? There is clearly a technical sense in which saying that a concept applies to something does not enlarge the concept or change our conception of the being it refers to. But it might remain open that a being that has all perfections but does not exist is not as great as a being that has all perfections and also exists.

Kant’s objection can perhaps be avoided altogether by proposing that the perfection at issue is necessary existence, and not mere existence. Adding necessary existence to our concept of a being would presumably involve changing it (and thus enlarging its concept). This is effectively a modal version of the ontological argument (see section 2.1.5).

Kant’s most pressing criticism, in our view, goes back to the issue raised by Mersenne: we cannot determine whether God (conceived as having necessary existence or not) is really possible. Kant grants to Leibniz that the notion of a most perfect being may not involve a logical contradiction, but he argues that this is not enough to show that it is really possible, for there are ways of being impossible that do not involve logical contradictions (A602/B630). The implication for the ontological argument is that we cannot know or rationally presume that it is really possible for the divine perfections to be jointly exemplified even if we know that they involve no contradiction.

For how can my reason presume to know how the highest realities operate, what effects would arise from them, and what sort of relation all these realities would have to each other? (Kant LPT [AK 28:1025–26])

2.1.5 Contemporary Modal Versions

Versions of the ontological argument discussed by Leibniz and Kant have been elaborated by Robert M. Adams (1971), Alvin Plantinga (1979), Peter van Inwagen (1977, 2009) and others. These versions employ contemporary modal semantics and metaphysics to motivate the following two assumptions:

(Assumption 1): “It’s possible that God exists” means “there is some possible world in which God exists”.

(Assumption 2): “God necessarily exists” means “God exists in every possible world” (i.e., “there is no possible world in which God doesn’t exist”).

The argument then proceeds as follows:

1. It’s possible that God exists. [premise]
2. Therefore, God exists in some possible world (call it w*). [by (1), (Assumption 1)]
3. If God exists, then God necessarily exists. [by definition of “God”]
4. Therefore, in w* God necessarily exists. [by (2), (3)]
5. Therefore, in w* God is such that God exists in every possible world [by (4), (Assumption 2)]
6. The actual world is one of the possible worlds [premise]
7. Therefore, in w* God is such that God exists in the actual world [by (5), (6)]
8. Therefore, God exists in the actual world [by (7)]

Critics have resisted numerous aspects of the argument (for comprehensive discussion, see Oppy 1996). The inference to (7), for instance, assumes that the actual world is possible relative to w*. But that assumption is only legitimate on some models of how talk of modality (i.e. of possibility and necessity) works. Thus, the critic claims, it hasn’t been shown that w* has the relation to the actual world that licenses the conclusion that God actually exists.

The most significant disagreement, however, is again the one that Mersenne raised against Descartes. How can the claim about metaphysical possibility in (1) be justified? Adams (1994: ch.8), following Leibniz, claims that we are rationally permitted, in the absence of strong reasons to the contrary, to presume the real possibility of most things, including God. Others argue that no such presumption of metaphysical possibility is justified, especially regarding supersensible things.

2.2 The argument from necessary truths

Leibniz’s argument for God’s existence from the existence of the necessary truths crucially involves the premises that all truths are true in virtue of something distinct from them (they need what contemporary metaphysicans sometimes call a “truth-maker”). Since necessary truths would be true even if there were no finite minds to think them, such truths cannot be true in virtue of facts about human psychology. Against the Platonic suggestion that they are true in virtue of Forms existing outside of any mind whatsoever, Leibniz argues that some of the truths are about abstract entities, which are not the kinds of things that could have mind-independent existence. The only contender that remains, then, is that these truths are true in virtue of the ideas in an infinite and necessarily existent (divine) mind (Leibniz 1714 [PP]: 647; Adams 1994: 177ff.).

Leibniz’s argument stakes out one position on the grounding of necessary truths, but there are many rival views that do not invoke the existence of a necessary and eternal divine mind. A Platonist might respond by claiming that it hasn’t been shown that abstract entities do not have mind-independent existence, while Humeans would argue that necessary truths are all analytic, and that therefore only the structure of language or of our conceptual schemes is required to ground their truth.

2.3 The argument from possibility

A third sort of a priori proof argues from facts about the mere possibility of something (or of some collection of things) to the existence of a “ground of possibility” that somehow explains them. An early version of such an argument can be found in Augustine and the Neo-Platonic tradition, but the canonical presentations of this sort of “possibility proof” are in Leibniz’s Monadology (1714) and, much more elaborately, in Kant’s book-length treatise called The Only Possible Basis for a Demonstration of the Existence of God (1763). Note that if truths about what is possible are necessary truths, as they indeed seem to be, then this might be a more specific version of the argument from necessary truths (see 2.2).

Kant’s version of the argument is based on the claim that there are real possibilities that are not grounded in the principle of non-contradiction, but that nevertheless must have a ground or explanation (Kant 1763 [AK 2: 63ff]). If they are not grounded in the principle of non-contradiction, then they are not grounded in God’s thinking them rather than their negations, which is how Leibniz had proposed that all such possibilities are grounded. Put the other way around, Kant thinks that some impossibilities are grounded not in the law of non-contradiction, but in a non-logical kind of “real repugnance” between two or more of their properties. Kant maintains, for instance, that it is impossible for a material being to be conscious, even though no logical contradiction exists between material and conscious (Kant 1763 [AK 2: 85–6]). It follows that this impossibility is not grounded in divine thought, for God can think any proposition that does not involve a contradiction. So facts about some real possibilities and real impossibilities can only be grounded in a necessary being that somehow exemplifies (rather than merely thinking) every combination of fundamental properties whose joint exemplification is really possible. That being, of course, is supposed to be God. (For discussion, see Fisher and Watkins 1998; Adams 2000; Chignell 2009, 2012, 2014; Stang 2010; Abaci 2014; Yong 2014; Hoffer 2016; Abaci 2019; Oberst 2018, 2020).

One way out of this argument is simply to claim that some real possibilities are primitive or ungrounded. This appears to be an option for Kant in his critical period insofar as he is no longer committed to rationalist principles such as the Principle of Sufficient Reason (see Abaci 2019). Still, even in his critical period (i.e., after 1770 or so), Kant never repudiated the earlier proof—and supposedly claimed in a lecture from the 1780s that it “can in no way be refuted” (Kant LPT [AK 28: 1034]). This suggests that in his critical period Kant still held that God’s existence is the only available ground for real possibility, but that the explanatory point may justify at most a kind of theoretical belief (Glaube) rather than full demonstrative knowledge (see Chignell 2009, Stang 2016, and Oberst 2020).

3. A posteriori Arguments

3.1 The classical cosmological argument

An a posteriori argument involves at least one premise whose justification essentially appeals to some sort of empirical fact or experience. The main demonstrative a posteriori argument is what Kant dubbed “the cosmological argument”. It is motivated by the familiar question “Why is there something rather than nothing?” and goes from the empirical fact of the existence of something (or of the cosmos as a whole, perhaps) to the existence of a first cause or ground of that cosmos that is, at least in part, not identical to that cosmos. Cosmological arguments are found across almost every philosophical tradition, and find prominence in the West in the writings of Aristotle, Avicenna, al-Ghāzāli, Maimonides, Aquinas, Locke, Leibniz, Samuel Clarke, and David Hume. Here we will start with Avicenna, but then focus largely on the early modern period.

Avicenna (980–1037), whose Arabic name is Ibn Sina, sets out cosmological arguments in a number of works, but a detailed version is found in his Remarks and Admonitions (Kitab al-Isharat wa l-Tanbihat) (Avicenna [ISR]; Mayer 2001). He begins with a claim about contingently existing things: since it is possible for a contingent thing either to exist or not to exist, whether it exists or not hangs in the balance. But then, if a contingent thing does exist, there must be something external to it, a cause, that accounts for its existing rather than not. This establishes a principle crucial to the argument: “the existence of every contingent is from other than it.”

Avicenna next considers the aggregate of all the existing contingent individual things, the existence of each of which is accounted for by its causal antecedents. He then proposes and evaluates four options for accounting for the aggregate’s existence. The first is that the existence of the aggregate does not require a cause. However, given the principle that the existence of any contingent thing must have a cause, the aggregate would then have to exist necessarily. But the aggregate’s existing necessarily is ruled out by the fact that all of the individuals in it are contingent things. On the second option, the cause of the existence of the aggregate is “the individuals all together.” But then the aggregate would cause itself to exist, which is ruled out by the principle that the existence of any contingent thing requires a cause other than it. The third option is that the cause of the aggregate is one of the individuals in it. But all of those individuals are caused to exist by other things in the aggregate, so no one individual is qualified to be the cause of the existence of the entire aggregate. The only remaining option is that the existence of the aggregate has a cause external to the aggregate. Because all of the contingently existing things are in the aggregate, the cause must be a necessarily existing thing (Mayer 2001). Avicenna is fully aware that the argument shouldn’t end here, since it must be shown that the necessarily existing thing is God, and he provides a number of considerations in favor of this claim (Adamson 2013).

Avicenna’s cosmological argument from the contingency of the world contrasts with another major type of argument for God’s existence in Islamic natural theology, one that aims to demonstrate the existence of God from the beginning of the world in time. Al-Ghazali (1056-1111), in The Incoherence of the Philosophers, develops this type of argument in two steps. The first aims to establish, against a prominent Aristotelian tradition, that the world is not eternal but has a beginning in time. The second step reasons that for any being that begins to exist at a time, there must be something that determines that it comes to exist at that time. And thus, because the world begins to exist at a time, there must be something which determines that it comes to exist at that time. As al-Ghazali puts it, “every being which begins has a cause for its beginning; now the world is a being which begins; therefore, it possesses a cause for its beginning.” He then argues that it must be God who by free choice determines that the world comes to exist at the time it does, and we can thus conclude that God exists. These argumentative themes are characteristic features of the Ash’arite theological tradition in Islam; in recent times, al-Ghazali’s argument has been defended by William Lane Craig (1979).

Leibniz’s cosmological argument (Leibniz 1697 [PE]: 149–55; 1714 [PP]: 646, [PE]: 218–19) does not assume or attempt to establish that the world, the collection of all actual contingent beings, has a beginning in time, and in this respect it more closely resembles Avicenna’s argument than al-Ghazali’s. Leibniz argues as follows: suppose that in fact the world has no beginning in time, and that each being in the world has an explanation in some previously existing being(s). Two demands for explanation might still arise: Why is there a world at all rather than none? and: Why does this world exist and not some other world? Neither explanation can be provided by appealing solely to entities within the world (or within time). Leibniz’s conclusion is that there must be a being that is not merely hypothetically, but absolutely necessary, and whose own explanation is contained within itself. This being is God. (A similar cosmological argument is advanced around the same time by Samuel Clarke (1705), see also the entry on Samuel Clarke).

David Hume puts forward three main objections to the type of cosmological argument offered by Leibniz and Clarke (Hume 1779, Part IX, and the entry Hume on religion). The first is that the notion of (absolutely) necessary existence itself is problematic. Suppose that some being is absolutely necessary—then its nonexistence should be absolutely inconceivable. But, says Hume, for any being whose existence we can conceive, we can also conceive its nonexistence, and thus it isn’t a necessary being. Hume anticipates the objection that if we truly understood the divine nature, we would be unable to conceive God’s nonexistence. He replies that an analogous point can be made about matter: for all we know, if we truly understood the nature of matter, we would be unable to conceive its nonexistence. This would show that the existence of matter is not contingent after all, and that it does not require an external explanation. Thus, by parity, the cosmological argument does not establish that God is the necessary being who is responsible for the rest of the cosmos.

Hume’s second objection is that God cannot be the causal explanation of the existence of a series of contingent beings that has no temporal beginning, since any causal relation “implies a priority in time and a beginning of existence” (Hume 1779, Part IV). In reply, it seems quite possible to conceive of a non-temporal causal relation, and thus to conceive of God, from outside of time, causing a series of contingent beings that has always existed. Indeed, this view is common in the theological tradition. Moreover, as Kant along with numerous contemporary metaphysicians argue, we can coherently conceive of a relation of simultaneous causation. If this is right, then even a God who is in time could ground the existence of a series of contingent beings with no temporal beginning.

Hume’s third objection is that in a causal series of contingent beings without a temporal beginning, each being will have a causal explanation by virtue of its predecessors. Since there is no first being, there will be a causal explanation for every contingent being on the basis of previously existing contingent beings. However, if each individual contingent being has a causal explanation, then the entire causal series has an explanation. For wholes are nothing over and above their parts:

did I show you the particular causes of each individual in a collection of twenty particles of matter, I should think it very unreasonable should you afterwards ask me what was the cause of the whole twenty. (Part IV)

A reply to this last objection might be that even if one has explained in this way the existence of each individual in the contingent series, one still has not answered the two questions mentioned earlier: Why is there a world at all rather than none? and: Why does this world exist and not some other world? (for further discussion, see Rowe 1975; Swinburne 2004; Pruss 2006; O’Connor 2008).

Kant, too, objects to the cosmological argument, but mainly on the grounds that it delivers an object that is inadequate to the classical conception of God. Any effort to turn the ultimate ground into the most perfect of all beings, Kant says, will have to smuggle in some sort of ontological argument (see Pasternack 2001; Forgie 2003; Proops 2014; and the entry on Kant’s philosophy of religion).

In general, objections to the cosmological argument (both historical and contemporary) take one of the following forms:

a. not every fact requires explanation, and the fact that the cosmological arguer is pointing to is one of those;
b. each being in the cosmos has an explanation, but the cosmos as an entire series does not require an additional explanation, over and above the explanations of each member of the series;
c. the sort of explanation required to explain the empirical data cited by the cosmological arguer does not amount to a supernatural explanation (e.g., the Big Bang could suffice);
d. the sort of explanation required to explain the empirical data cited by the cosmological arguer is not going to deliver anything as august as the God of traditional religious doctrine but rather, in Hume’s terms, a somewhat “mediocre deity”.
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Part 2 of 2

3.2 Teleological or design arguments

The Greek word “telos” means “end” or “purpose”. The a posteriori arguments in natural theology that are referred to as “teleological” claim that the natural world displays some sort of purposive or end-directed design, and that this licenses the conclusion that the natural world has a very powerful and intelligent designer (see the entry on teleological arguments for God’s existence). Earlier authors dubbed this sort of non-demonstrative, inductive argument a “physico-theological” argument (see, e.g., William Derham 1713).

Teleological arguments can be found in numerous traditions and time periods, including the classical Greek and Roman context (see Sedley 2008) and the Indian philosophical tradition (see Brown 2008). In the west the argument is primarily associated with William Paley (1743–1805), although in fact this type of argument was discussed by numerous early modern figures before him (see Taliaferro 2005, DeCruz and DeSmedt 2015). The fact that Paley’s 1802 book was called Natural Theology is no doubt part of why natural theology as a whole is sometimes equated with the a posteriori investigations of nature for the purposes of supporting religious theses. In the analogy that made Paley’s argument famous, the relationship between a watch and a watch-maker is taken to be saliently similar to the relationship between the natural world and its author. If we were to go walking upon the heath and stumble upon a watch, a quick examination of its inner workings would reveal, with a high probability, that “its several parts were framed and put together for a purpose” by what must have been “an intelligence” (1802: 1–6). Likewise with the universe as a whole.

Earlier teleological arguments can be found in the works of post-Cartesian atomists like Pierre Gassendi, Cambridge Platonists like Walter Charleton and Henry More, and mechanists like Robert Boyle. Charleton, for instance, argues in his The Darkness of Atheism Dispelled by the Light of Nature: A Physico-Theological Treatise (1652) that the modern rejection of Aristotelianism establishes an even greater need to appeal to a designer to explain how inert atoms under mechanical laws can be fashioned into an intelligible and purposive order (see Leech 2013).

A different kind of teleological argument is developed by George Berkeley (1685–1753), for whom natural, physical objects do not exist independently of minds, but consist solely in ideas. Given the regularity, complexity, and involuntariness of our sensory ideas, their source (Berkeley argues) must be an infinitely powerful, benevolent mind that produces these ideas in us in a lawlike fashion. God’s existence can also be demonstrated from the harmony and beauty that the ideas of the world display (Berkeley 1710: §146). Since according to Berkeley our ordinary experience is a type of direct divine communication with us, our relationship with God is in this respect especially intimate. Thus he frequently remarks, quoting St. Paul, that “in God we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

3.2.1 Hume on the teleological argument

Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion pre-date Paley, of course, but they feature an especially influential and elegant critical discussion of teleological arguments (1779), a discussion of which Paley was no doubt aware. (In fact, Paley may have restyled his argument as an inference-to-best explanation in an effort to avoid some of Hume’s criticisms.)

Hume’s assault on the teleological argument begins by formulating it as follows (compare Pereboom 1996, 2010):

1. Nature is a great machine, composed of lesser machines, all of which exhibit order (especially adaptation of means to ends). [premise]
2. Machines caused by human minds exhibit order (especially adaptation of means to ends). [premise]
3. Nature resembles machines caused by human minds. [by (1), (2)]
4. If effects resemble each other, their causes resemble each other as well. [premise]
5. The cause of nature resembles human minds. [by (3), (4)]
6. Greater effects demand greater causes (causes adequate to the effects). [premise]
7. Nature is much greater than machines caused by human minds. [premise]
8. The cause of nature resembles but is much greater than human minds. [by (5), (6), (7)]
9. The cause of nature is God. [by (8)]
10. Therefore, God exists. [by (9)]

Hume’s objections to this argument include the claims that the analogies on which it is dependent are not exact, and thus that there are alternative explanations for order and apparent design in the universe. One response to these objections is that the teleological argument should be conceived as an argument to the best explanation, on the model of many scientific arguments. In that case the analogy need not be exact, but might still show that a theistic explanation is best (and again, Paley himself may have recognized this). Hume, in the voice of his character Philo, concedes

that the works of nature bear a great analogy to the productions of art is evident; and according to all the rules of good reasoning, we ought to infer, if we argue at all concerning them, that their causes have a proportional analogy. (Part XII)

But Philo also affirms that we cannot infer any important similarities between humans and the author of nature beyond intelligence, and in particular we cannot infer some of the divine attributes that are most important for sustaining traditional theistic religion (Part V). Most significantly, given the evil that there is in the universe, we cannot conclude that its designer has the moral qualities traditional religion requires God to have (Part X). Thus, again, we are left with a rather “mediocre deity”.

One of Hume’s neglected objections to the teleological argument is that it generates an absurd infinite regress (Part IV). If order and apparent design in the material universe are explained by divine intelligence, what explains the order and apparent design that give rise to intelligence in the divine mind? By dint of the reasoning employed in the teleological argument, it would have to be a super-divine intelligence. But what explains the order and apparent design that give rise to super-divine intelligence? An absurd infinite regress results, and to avoid it one might well suppose the material world “contain[s] the principle of order within itself”.

To this Hume has the theist Cleanthes reply that

even in common life, if I assign a cause for any event, is it any objection that I cannot assign the cause of that cause, and answer every new question which may incessantly be started?

This seems right: in scientific theorizing it is no decisive objection against an explanation that it contains entities that are themselves not fully explained. Crucial to the value of scientific explanations is that they supply an explanatory advance, and we can reasonably believe that a theory does so without our having in hand complete explanations for all of the entities it posits.

3.2.2 The teleological argument from fine-tuning

In recent decades, some natural theologians have developed an inductive argument for the existence of God that appeals to the fact that the fundamental features of the universe are fine-tuned for the existence of life. According to many physicists, the fact that the universe can support life depends delicately on various of its fundamental characteristics, notably the values of certain constants of nature, the specific character of certain fundamental laws, and aspects of the universe’s conditions in its very early stages. The core claim of the argument is that without an intelligent designer, it would be improbable that the constants, laws, and initial conditions were fine-tuned for life.

William Lane Craig (see e.g., Craig 1990, 2003) develops a version of this argument, which proceeds as follows. The world is conditioned principally by the values of the fundamental constants:

• a: the fine structure constant, or electromagnetic interaction;
• mn/me: proton to electron mass ratio;
• aG: gravitation;
• aw: the weak force; and
• as: the strong force.

When one imagines these constants being different, one discovers that in fact the number of observable universes, that is to say, universes capable of supporting intelligent life, is very small. Just a slight variation in any one of these values would render life impossible. For example, if the strong force (as) were increased as much as 1%, nuclear resonance levels would be so altered that almost all carbon would be burned into oxygen; an increase of 2% would preclude formation of protons out of quarks, preventing the existence of atoms. Furthermore, weakening the strong force by as much as 5% would unbind deuteron, which is essential to stellar nucleosynthesis, leading to a universe composed only of hydrogen. It has been estimated that the strong force must be within 0.8 and 1.2 its actual strength or all elements of atomic weight greater than four would not have formed. Or again, if the weak force had been appreciably stronger, then the Big Bang’s nuclear burning would have proceeded past helium to iron, making fusion-powered stars impossible. But if it had been much weaker, then we should have had a universe entirely of helium. Or again, if gravitation aG had been a little greater, all stars would have been red dwarfs, which are too cold to support life-bearing planets. If it had been a little smaller, the universe would have been composed exclusively of blue giants, which burn too briefly for life to develop. This gives us reason to believe that there is an intelligent designer who fine-tuned the universe as we actually find it.

The debate surrounding the fine-tuning argument is technically complex (a detailed summary is available in the entry on fine-tuning). Here we discuss some of the most pressing issues.

As noted, a core claim of the argument as widely understood is that the fine-tuning for life of the constants, laws, and initial conditions would be deeply improbable without an intelligent designer of the universe. One question concerns the notion of probability at work in this claim. Contemporary accounts usually appeal to an epistemic notion of probability (e.g., Monton 2006), by contrast with physical and logical alternatives. On this reading, the core claim is that fine-tuning for life without an intelligent designer is improbable in the sense that we should not expect it without such a being, or that without such a being we should be surprised that there is such fine-tuning.

Given this understanding of the core improbability claim, some critics (e.g., Carlson and Olsson 1998) have argued that the fine-tuning at issue requires no explanation. Any specific sequence of heads and tails in a long series of coin tosses is improbable in this sense; that is, any one sequence would be one we wouldn’t and shouldn’t expect. But no specific sequence requires an explanation other than that it was randomly generated. So why should the finely-tuned actual array of constants, laws, and initial conditions require an explanation other than an appeal to randomness? Many, however, disagree, and argue that the availability of explanatory hypotheses with intuitive pull, such as an intelligent designer or a multiverse (discussed below), indicates that a more substantive explanation for fine-tuning is required (e.g., Leslie 1989).

A number of critics press the objection that we should not be surprised that we observe features of the universe that are required for our own existence. If the constants, laws, and initial conditions were incompatible with our existence, we would not be here to observe this. In Elliot Sober’s (2003) analysis, what’s at work here is the observer selection effect, which tends to result in a certain bias. In this case, our observations are biased toward fine-tuning because we would not have existed to make these observations had the universe not been fine-tuned for life. But any bias resulting from an observer selection effect should be factored out and set aside, and this is so for the fine-tuning at issue.

Critics of this line of reasoning cite examples in which it appears to goes awry. In John Leslie’s (1989) example, you are dragged before a firing squad of 100 trained marksmen. The command is given; you hear the deafening sound of the guns. But then there you are, surprised to be observing the aftermath, and that you are still alive. Now consider the hypothesis that the marksmen intended to miss, which seems a reasonable option for explaining why you’re still alive. But notice that this case features an observation selection effect analogous to the one Sober proposes for fine-tuning: you can’t observe the aftermath unless you survive the firing squad. On Sober’s recommendation, observation selection effects should be factored out and set aside. But on this recommendation your still being alive wouldn’t require an explanation, and we wouldn’t have reason to accept the explanation that the marksmen intended to miss. So, according to the critics, there must be something wrong with Sober’s analysis.

Leslie contends you should in fact be surprised that you observe that you are still alive. That you are alive is in the relevant sense epistemically improbable, and requires an explanation. Similarly, we should be surprised that we observe that the universe is fine-tuned for life, and this also requires an explanation. One way to account for Leslie’s contention is that the epistemic probability of fine-tuning should be judged from the point of view of a reasoner who brackets or sets aside that she is alive (and that there is any life at all), and then asks whether we should expect that the universe is fine-tuned for life, or whether this should be surprising (see Howson 1991, Collins 2009, and Kotzen 2012 for views of this sort). Similarly, in the firing-squad case, I should judge whether my surviving is epistemically probable from a point of view in which I bracket or set aside that I am still alive, and then ask whether I should expect that I am still alive or whether this should be surprising.

Leslie (1989) proposes that the hypothesis of multiple universes, i.e., of the multiverse, would provide an explanation for fine-tuning for life. Here is his analogy (which involves guns again, oddly). You are alone at night in an extremely dark forest when a gun is fired from far away and you are hit. If you assume that there is no one out to get you, this would be surprising. But now suppose that you were not in fact alone, but instead part of a large crowd (which you do not see because it’s so dark). In that case, Leslie suggests, you would be less surprised at being shot, since it seems at least somewhat likely that a gunman would be trying to shoot someone in the crowd. Leslie suggests that this story supports the multiverse explanation for the universe being fine-tuned for life.

Roger White (2000) contends that there is a problem with Leslie’s account. While the multiverse hypothesis would explain why there is some universe or other that is fine-tuned for life, since it would raise the probability of that hypothesis, it would not similarly explain why this universe is fine-tuned for life. He contends that supposing that the gunman was firing at random, being part of a large crowd explains—raises the probability—that someone or other is shot, but not that you are shot. By contrast, the hypothesis that the gunman was aiming at you, as opposed to firing at random, does explain in this way that you are shot. Similarly, the multiverse hypothesis explains that there is some universe or other that is fine-tuned for life, but not that this universe is fine-tuned for life. By contrast, in White’s view the hypothesis of an intelligent designer does explain why—raises the probability—that this universe is fine-tuned for life. White argues:

Postulate as many other universes as you wish, they do not make it any more likely that ours should be life-permitting or that we should be here. So our good fortune to exist in a life-permitting universe gives us no reason to suppose that there are many universes (White 2000: 274; see Rota 2005 for another theistic response to the multiverse hypothesis).

See the fine-tuning entry for more detail on this exchange, and on other issues raised in the debate.

3.3 Arguments from religious experience

Arguments for the existence of God from a special kind of experience are often called “arguments from religious experience”. Some philosophers and theologians have argued that our ordinary human cognitive faculties include what John Calvin called a special “sense of divinity” that, when not impeded or blocked, will deliver immediately justified beliefs about supernatural entities (Plantinga 1981, 1984). Some such thinkers, then, might construe an argument from religious experience as belonging to the category of natural religion or natural theology. Others, however, insist that “characteristic of the Continental Calvinist tradition is a revulsion against arguments in favor of theism or Christianity” (Wolterstorff 1984: 7; see also Sudduth 2009). In any case, most authors who write about religious experience generally construe it as caused by something other than our ordinary faculties and their intersubjectively available objects, and thus do not think of it as one of the topics of natural theology (see Davis 1989, Alston 1991, Kwan 2006).

See the entry on religious experience for expansive discussion of this issue.

4. “Ramified” Natural Theology

Some supporters of natural religion or natural theology seek to use our ordinary cognitive faculties to support theses that are more robust and specific than those of generic or “perfect-being” theism. This project has recently been dubbed “ramified” natural theology by Richard Swinburne (see Holder 2013). A few of these efforts involve a priori argumentation: an ancient argument for the Trinity (found in St. Augustine (De Trinitate, c. 399–419, Book IX), and Richard of St. Victor (De Trinitate, c. 1162–1173, III.1–25)) is that any supreme being would have to be a supremely loving being, and any omnipotent supremely loving being would ultimately have to emanate from itself something that is both other and yet just as supreme and lovable as itself, and that a third such person would be necessary as a kind of product of that love between the first two. Marilyn McCord Adams’s books on theodicy (Adams 2000, 2006) and Eleonore Stump’s Gifford Lectures (Stump 2010) constitute an effort to consider the a priori problem of evil from within the context of a ramified (and thus in this case more robustly Christian) kind of natural theology.

But most ramified natural theology is inductive in spirit: thus Hugo Grotius divides his De veritate religionis Christianae (1627) into a first book that deals with classical natural theology but then later books that deal specifically with the truth of Christianity. John Locke (1695) argued for the “Reasonableness of Christianity” using a broadly historical, probabilistic approach. William Paley (1794) further developed this approach, and much more recently Swinburne argued for the conclusion that Bayesian-style reasoning justifies belief in the resurrection of Jesus with a probability of 97% (Swinburne 2003). Numerous other philosophers (and also many natural scientists) appeal to historical and scientific data as well as empirical and statistical principles of reasoning to support the authenticity of various biblical claims, the probability of various miracle stories, and so forth (see e.g., Olding 1990; Polkinghorne 2009; Gauch Jr. 2011). Note that this is a way of appealing to the content of sacred texts and special revelation which is consistent with the methods of natural theology: the prophetic or historical claims of those texts are evaluated using public evidence and accepted canons of inductive reasoning. Still, even optimistic natural theologians like Locke, Paley, Swinburne, and these others count as hybridists insofar as they think there are some important doctrines about the divine that cannot be justified by our natural cognitive faculties. Thus even they will at some point be willing (in Kant’s famous phrase) to “deny knowledge in order to leave room for faith” (1787, Bxxx).


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