London: Printed for J. Morphew…, 1708. First edition in English of the first important work by Pierre Bayle, which was first published anonymously in 1682 as Pensées diverses sur la comète de 1680. Corners, joints rubbed, both free endpapers with tears along the edges. A good, clean copy. Contemporary calf, gilt spines with morocco labels, edges sprinkled red. Two volumes, octavo. xxxviii, 326;  pp., pp. 329-550, 224 pp., with a separate title-page to The Life of Mr. Bayle. Item #13542
Bayle (1647-1706), was the most influential skeptic of his day. The present work appeared while he was professor of philosophy and history at the Protestant academy of Rotterdam. It discusses the many superstitions that were brought to light by the reappearance of Halley’s Comet in 1680. He makes a detailed study of all the facts relating to comets and concludes that there was no mystery about such phenomena, which are bound to the normal laws of nature. He goes on to discuss astrology, demonology, magic, the cabbala, which he also condemns. He also concludes that morality is independent of religion, and his doctrine of toleration is chiefly set forth in this work. The original edition was banned in France.
“C'est, en outre, une mine précieuse de renseignements de toute sorte dans le domaine de l'occulte" (Caillet, I, 124).