A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists/Argens, Jean Baptiste de Boyer, Marquis d'


Argens, Jean Baptiste de Boyer, Marquis d', French writer. B. June 24, 1704. After some years experience of the army, diplomacy, and law, he took to letters, adopting Bayle as his model. His Rationalistic Lettres juives (8 vols., 1754) and subsequent Lettres chinoises and Lettres cabalistiques had a wide circulation. Frederick the Great made him a Chamberlain, and Director of Fine Arts at Potsdam (1740). His Philosophie du bon sens (3 vols., 1768) and most of his works satirize the current religion, though he was not free from mysticism. Clerical writers stated that he was "converted" before death, but his widow refuted the charge. D. June 11, 1771.