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Charles De Brosses (1709 - 1777)

Related: French literature - fetishism (religion)

Du culte des dieux fétiches (1760) - Charles de Brosses [Amazon US]


Charles de Brosses (born Dijon, 1709- d. 1777) was one of the most noteworthy French writers of the 18th century. He was the president of the parliament of Dijon (from 1741) and a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres of Paris (from 1746), and of the Académie des Sciences, Arts et Belles-Lettres of Dijon (from 1761). He was a close friend of Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon (1707-1788), the naturalist who wrote the Histoire naturelle, and a personal enemy of Voltaire (1694-1778), the famous philosopher, who barred his entry in the Académie française in 1770. Because he opposed the absolute power of the king, he was exiled twice, in 1744 and 1771. During his life, he wrote numerous academic papers on topics concerning ancient history, philology and linguistics, which were used by Diderot and D'Alembert in the Encyclopédie (1751-1765). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_de_Brosses [Mar 2006]

Du Culte des Dieux Fétiches [...]

DE BROSSES, Charles. Du Culte des Dieux Fétiches, ou parallèle de l'ancienne Religion de l'Egypte avec la Religion actuelle de Nigritie. [Geneva], 1760.

'De Brosses was a pioneer of the science of comparative religion. In his memoir Du culte des dieux fétiches, reprinted in the Encylopédie, he combated the then prevailing tendency to interpret ancient mythologies and religious systems, notably that of Egypt, as profound symbolism and upheld the thesis that ancient Egyptian religion did not differ substantially from the primitive cults of native Africa. The work, which the French Academy refused to print in its transactions and which gave rise to violent attacks, anticipates the modern anthropological method of approach to the history of religions' (Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, V, p. 31). The word 'fetish' was first used in its wider sense by De Brosses in this work.

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