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pg 60Critical ApparatusSECTION 9

Comparison of these Religions, with regard to Persecution and Toleration

1Polytheism or idolatrous worship, being founded entirely in vulgar tra-2ditions, is liable to this great inconvenience, that any practice or opinion, 3however barbarous or corrupted, may be authorized by it; and full scope Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus4is given, for knavery to impose on credulity, till morals and humanity be Critical Apparatus5expelled from the religious systems of mankind. At the same time, idolatry 6is attended with this evident advantage, that, by limiting the powers and 7functions of its deities, it naturally admits the gods of other sects and nations Critical Apparatus8to a share of divinity, and renders all the various deities, as well as rites, 9ceremonies, or traditions, compatible with each other.42 Theism is opposite 10both in its advantages and disadvantages. As that system supposes one sole 11Deity, the perfection of reason and goodness, it should, if justly prosecuted, 12banish every thing frivolous, unreasonable, or inhuman from religious wor-13ship, and set before men the most illustrious example, as well as the most 14commanding motives, of justice and benevolence. These mighty advan-15tages are not indeed overbalanced, (for that is not possible) but somewhat 16diminished, by inconveniencies, which arise from the vices and prejudices 17of mankind. While one sole object of devotion is acknowledged, the worship 18of other deities is regarded as absurd and impious. Nay, this unity of object 19seems naturally to require the unity of faith and ceremonies, and furnishes Critical Apparatus20designing men with a pretence for representing their adversaries as profane, Critical Apparatus21and the objects of divine as well as human vengeance. For as each sect is 22positive that its own faith and worship are entirely acceptable to the Deity, 23and as no one can conceive, that the same being should be pleased with Editor’s Note24different and opposite rites and principles; the several sects fall naturally pg 611into animosity, and mutually discharge on each other that sacred zeal and 2rancour, the most furious and implacable of all human passions.

3The tolerating spirit of idolaters, both in ancient and modern times, is 4very obvious to any one, who is the least conversant in the writings of 5historians or travellers. When the oracle of Delphi was asked, What rites or Critical Apparatus6worship was most acceptable to the gods? "Those which are legally established Editor’s Note7in each city," replied the oracle.43 Even priests, in those ages, could, it seems, Editor’s Note8allow salvation to those of a different communion. The Romans commonly 9adopted the gods of the conquered people; and never disputed the attributes Critical Apparatus10of those local and national deities, in whose territories they resided. The Editor’s Note11religious wars and persecutions of the Egyptian idolaters are indeed an 12exception to this rule; but are accounted for by ancient authors from reasons Critical Apparatus13singular and remarkable. Different species of animals were the deities of Critical Apparatus14the different sects among the Egyptians; and the deities being in continual Editor’s Note15war, engaged their votaries in the same contention. The worshippers of 16dogs could not long remain in peace with the adorers of cats or wolves.44 Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus17But where that reason took not place, the Egyptian superstition was not so 18incompatible as is commonly imagined; since we learn from Herodotus,45 19that very large contributions were given by Amasis towards rebuilding the 20temple of Delphi.

21The intolerance of almost all religions, which have maintained the unity Critical Apparatus22of God, is as remarkable as the contrary principle of polytheists. The Editor’s Note23implacable narrow spirit of the Jews is well known. Mahometanism set out 24with still more bloody principles; and even to this day, deals out damnation, Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus25though not fire and faggot, to all other sects. And if, among Christians, 26the English and Dutch have embraced the principles of toleration, this 27singularity has proceeded from the steady resolution of the civil magistrate, 28in opposition to the continued efforts of priests and bigots.

Editor’s Note29The disciples of Zoroaster shut the doors of heaven against all but Editor’s Note30the Magians.46 Nothing could more obstruct the progress of the Persian 31conquests, than the furious zeal of that nation against the temples and 32images of the Greeks. And after the overthrow of that empire, we find Editor’s Note33Alexander, as a polytheist, immediately re-establishing the worship of the 34Babylonians, which their former princes, as monotheists, had carefully 35abolished.47 Even the blind and devoted attachment of that conqueror to 36the Greek superstition hindered not but he himself sacrificed according to 37the Babylonish rites and ceremonies.48

pg 62Critical Apparatus1So sociable is polytheism, that the utmost fierceness and antipathy, which Critical Apparatus2it meets with in an opposite religion, is scarcely able to disgust it, and keep Editor’s Note3it at a distance. Augustus praised extremely the reserve of his grandson, Critical Apparatus4Caius Cæsar, when this latter prince, passing by Jerusalem, deigned not Critical Apparatus5to sacrifice according to the Jewish law. But for what reason did Augustus 6so much approve of this conduct? Only, because that religion was by the 7Pagans esteemed ignoble and barbarous.49

8I may venture to affirm, that few corruptions of idolatry and polytheism Critical Apparatus9are more pernicious to society than this corruption of theism,50 when Editor’s Note10carried to the utmost height. The human sacrifices of the Carthaginians, Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus11Mexicans, and many barbarous nations,51 scarcely exceed the inquisition 12and persecutions of Rome and Madrid. For besides, that the effusion of 13blood may not be so great in the former case as in the latter; besides this, 14I say, the human victims, being chosen by lot, or by some exterior signs, 15affect not, in so considerable a degree, the rest of the society. Whereas 16virtue, knowledge, love of liberty, are the qualities, which call down the Editor’s Note17fatal vengeance of inquisitors; and when expelled, leave the society in the 18most shameful ignorance, corruption, and bondage. The illegal murder of 19one man by a tyrant is more pernicious than the death of a thousand by 20pestilence, famine, or any undistinguishing calamity.

Editor’s Note21In the temple of Diana at Aricia near Rome, whoever murdered the 22present priest, was legally entitled to be installed his successor.52 A very 23singular institution! For, however barbarous and bloody the common 24superstitions often are to the laity, they usually turn to the advantage of the 25holy order.

Notes

42 Editor’s Note1Verrius Flaccus, cited by Pliny, lib. 28. cap. 2. affirmed, that it was usual for the Romans, Critical Apparatus2before they laid siege to any town, to invocate the tutelar deity of the place, and by promising him Critical Apparatus3greater honours than those he at present enjoyed, bribe him to betray his old friends and votaries. 4The name of the tutelar deity of Rome was for this reason kept a most religious mystery; lest the 5enemies of the republic should be able, in the same manner, to draw him over to their service. 6For without the name, they thought, nothing of that kind could be practiced. Pliny says, that the 7common form of invocation was preserved to his time in the ritual of the pontifs. And Macrobius 8has transmitted a copy of it from the secret things of Sammonicus Serenus.

43 Critical Apparatus1Xenoph. Memor. lib. 1.

44 1Plutarch. de Isid. & Osiride.

45 1Lib. 2. sub fine.

46 1Hyde, de Relig. vet. Persarum.

47 1Arrian. de exped. lib. 3. Id. lib. 7.

48 1Id. ibid.

49 1Sueton. in vita Aug. cap. 93.

50 Editor’s Note1Corruptio optimi pessima.

51 Critical Apparatus1Most nations have fallen into this guilt of human sacrifices; though, perhaps, that impious 2superstition has never prevailed very much in any civilized nation, unless we except the 3Carthaginians. For the Tyrians soon abolished it. A sacrifice is conceived as a present; and any Critical Apparatus4present is delivered to their deity by destroying it and rendering it useless to men; by burning 5what is solid, pouring out the liquid, and killing the animate. For want of a better way of doing 6him service, we do ourselves an injury; and fancy that we thereby express, at least, the heartiness 7of our good-will and adoration. Thus our mercenary devotion deceives ourselves, and imagines it 8deceives the deity.

52 1Strabo, lib. 5. Sueton. in vita Cal.

Notes Settings

Notes

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60.0 SECTION 9 Comparison of these Religions, with regard to Persecution and Toleration] IX. 57 | SECT. IX. Comparison of these Religions, with regard to Persecution and Toleration. 58–77
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60.4 given,] left 57–72 | 77
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60.4 knavery to impose on credulity] At EPM 9.22 Hume discusses the 'sensible knave', who occasionally acts unjustly while concealing his immoral acts through deception. Hume also discusses knavery in his essay 'Of the Independency of Parliament' 1–2.
Editor’s Note
60.4 humanity] At EPM 5.46 Hume speaks of 'any such principle in our nature as humanity or a concern for others' (italics added). He also refers to the character trait of humanity as a virtue of concern and attention to others. 'Humanity' was a pivotal concept in moral treatises when Hume wrote and was sometimes associated with a capacity for sympathy and with fellow-feeling (see EPM 5.17, 20).
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60.5 from the] 57–70 | the 72–77
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60.8 to a] 57–58 | to 60 | 64–77
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60.20 pretence] pretext 57–60 | 64–77
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60.21 objects] subjects 57 | 58–77
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60.24 sects fall naturally into animosity … zeal … passions] In his History of England, Hume offers many instances of animosity and zeal, especially with respect to differences within Roman Catholicism and within Protestantism. In one passage, he notes, in addition, that Catholics regarded Protestant sectarian disagreements as vindicating their own Catholic beliefs about the church universal: 'Differences among the protestants were matter of triumph to the catholics; who insisted, that the moment men departed from the authority of the church, they lost all criterion of truth and falshood in matters of religion, and must be carried away by every wind of doctrine' (ch. 35 [3: 385]). In another passage Hume is unsparing in his appraisal of the history of the denomination in which he had been raised: 'The Scots … had a near prospect of spreading the presbyterian discipline in England and Ireland…. Never did refined Athens so exult in diffusing the sciences and liberal arts over a savage world; never did generous Rome so please herself in the view of law and order established by her victorious arms; as the Scots now rejoiced, in communicating their barbarous zeal and theological fervour, to the neighbouring nations' (ch. 55 [5: 332–3]). Further examples are found in chs. 45, 47, 51–2, 57.
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61.6 was] were 57 | 58–77
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61.6 which are legally] legally 57–70 | 72–77
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61.7 replied the oracle.43] Footnote reference: Xenophon, Memorabilia 1.3.1. The Delphic oracle became the leading shrine of Apollo. Oracular utterings were delivered by a young priestess in an ecstatic trance. A priest then mediated to a questioner what would otherwise be incoherent messages from the priestess. Though an oracle is a divine utterance made through a medium, 'consulting an oracle' could mean that one had consulted a god, a priest or priestess, or the shrine. Xenophon reports that the question 'What is my duty of sacrifice?' elicited the following response from the priestess of Delphi: 'Follow the custom of the State: That is the way to act piously.' Xenophon suggests that Socrates accepted this prescription and counselled others to do the same. A similar report is found at Memorabilia 4.3.16.
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61.8 The Romans commonly adopted the gods] The religion of early Rome absorbed the poetry, ritual, and pantheon (deities) of the Greeks. The Romans also embraced religions of the Orient, such as Adonis of Syria, Isis and Osiris of Egypt (see n. 44), and Mithras of Persia. Elements of these religions were exported to Rome and incorporated into the practices and beliefs of a state religion controlled by secular officials. (Educated classes in Rome often preferred profane philosophical systems such as Stoicism and Epicureanism.)
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61.10 local] topical 57–72 | 77
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61.11 wars and persecutions of the Egyptian idolaters … different sects] The Romans did not consistently accommodate Egyptian theological beliefs. Several times between 58 and 48 bc the Romans destroyed Egyptian chapels and attempted to suppress the Egyptian cults. However, Egyptian gods were popular in the Roman Empire.
In early Egyptian idolatry, gods were presented either as animals, humans, inanimate objects, or (less commonly) plants. Although Greek and Christian interpreters attributed to Egyptians the belief that the animals are the gods, these images were widely regarded in Egypt as visible representations of divine spirits with whom the community wished to make contact. Each community had its own deity, often represented as an animal figure. For example, the city of Thebes worshipped Amon, depicted as a ram. Memphis had two protectors: Sekhmet, presented as a lioness, and Apis (or Hapis), depicted as a bull. Other adopted animals included the cobra, frog, baboon, mongoose, vulture, hippopotamus, cow, eel, and mouse. These figures were given human qualities and were often depicted as composite human-animals.
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61.13 singular] very singular 57–68 | 70–77
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61.14 sects among] sects of 57 | 58–77
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61.15 worshippers of dogs … adorers of cats or wolves.44] Footnote reference: Plutarch, Moralia, 'Isis and Osiris' 72, 379e–380c. Plutarch examines hypotheses that explain ancient Egyptian religious practices of animal worship. He notes that people were drawn into wars in order to protect their particular animal(s). Dogs, cats, and wolves are precisely the animals selected as examples by Trenchard, Natural History of Superstition, 15.
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61.17 But] And 57–60 | 64–77
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61.17 Egyptian superstition … Herodotus,45] Footnote reference: Herodotus, History 2.180. Herodotus reports that the Delphians received a large donation from Amasis IIb toward finishing the temple and also received a sum from Greeks living in Egypt. This pharaoh erected temples at Memphis and Sais and established alliances with the Greeks.
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61.22 of] in 57–60 | 64–77
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61.23 Mahometanism … bloody principles] Hume is perhaps referring to the standard European view that Islam is a bloody, ruthless, vengeful, tyrannical, and intolerant religion—lacking in divine authority and viewing the sword as the route to heaven. Hume points to similar views at EHU 10.24 and 'Of the Standard of Taste' 4. He also explains the historical background of the Christian opinion of Islam in History of England. There the 'Turcomans or Turks' are characterized as having been particularly fierce and barbaric (ch. 5 [1: 235]). However, Hume also speaks of the Protestant—Catholic conflict in Britain as involving 'schemes the most bloody … that had ever been thought of in any age or nation' and of the 'bloody designs [that] … appeared every where' (chs. 39, 41 [4: 75, 211]). His vivid descriptions leave little doubt that he regarded much of British history as exhibiting bloody designs on the part of royalty, political leaders, religious officials, etc.
For a sample of the many writings available to Hume that reflect an estimate of Islam as a religion of bloody principles, see Isaac Barrow (1630–77; English mathematician and theologian), Works, sermon 14, 'Of the Impiety and Imposture of Paganism and Mahometanism' (2: 154–6); Humphrey Prideaux (1648–1724; lecturer at Christ Church, Oxford, and dean at Norwich), True Nature of Imposture Fully Display'd in the Life of Mahomet, esp. pp. viii–ix, 13, 26–7, 105, 199, 218; John Jackson (1686–1763; English religious writer and clergyman), An Address to Deists, pp. 80–5; Charles Wolseley (1630?–1714; British politician and theological writer), The Reasonableness of Scripture-Belief, pp. 167–71; Grotius, Truth of the Christian Religion 6.2, 5–8; Paul Rycaut, Present State of the Ottoman Empire 2.2 (pp. 102–3); (LACROZE), 'Historical and Critical Reflections upon Mahometanism and Socinianism'; Bayle, Dictionary, 'Mahomet' [K–P]; and Blaise Pascal (1623–62; French mathematician, philosopher, and theologian), Pensées 241–2 (Levi nos.).
Also influential was the translation and commentary of George Sale (1697?–1736; English lawyer and Arabic scholar), Koran, Commonly called The Alcoran of Mohammed; see his 'Preliminary Discourse', 49–50, 142–4. Hume's friend Edward Gibbon (1737–94; British historian) offered a generally negative portrayal of Islam in ch. 50 of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (a post-NHR work). This chapter was later issued as an independent book entitled Life of Mahomet; see esp. pp. 48–51, 75, 122, 150.
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61.25 among] amongst 57–68 | 70–77
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61.25 fire and faggot] Both Catholics and Protestants used this expression to refer to acts of burning heretics alive. Protestants commonly used it to rebuke Catholics (e.g. with reference to the Inquisition), as is evident in the following condemnation of Catholics by Matthew Pool(e) (1624–79; Protestant biblical commentator): 'your Religion … is written in blood. I perceive you answer our Arguments with Fire and Faggot' (A Dialogue Between A Popish Priest, and An English Protestant, 114). Humphrey Prideaux went so far as to say that the 'Romanists' had learned to use 'Sword, Fire and Faggot' from 'the method which Mahomet took to establish' his religion (True Nature of Imposture Fully Display'd, p. 218).
In his History of England Hume several times uses the language of 'faggots'. He tells the following stories about English executions of Dutchmen (among other stories he tells involving faggots): 'four Dutch anabaptists, three men and a woman, had faggots tied to their backs at Paul's Cross, and were burned in that manner…. [A] Dutchman, called Van Paris, accused of the heresy, which has received the name of Arianism, was condemned to the [flames]…. He suffered with so much satisfaction, that he hugged and caressed the faggots, that were consuming him; a species of frenzy, of which there is more than one instance among the martyrs of that age' (chs. 32, 34 [3: 264, 367]; see also ch. 31 [3: 216]).
The word 'faggot' (or 'fagot') meant, at the time Hume wrote, any of the following: (1) sticks or branches, as those used for fuel; (2) the punishment of burning alive; and (3) a badge worn on the sleeve of upper garments by persons who had recanted heretical views. 'To faggot' meant, among other things, to bind a person hand and foot.
Editor’s Note
61.29 disciples of ZOROASTER] Zoroastrianism arose in ancient Persia as a monotheistic religion centring on Ahura Mazdah, 'the Wise Lord'. The century and location of its origins are unknown, but Zoroaster (or Zarathustra) may have lived before 1000 bc. After his death, the religion spread westward in Iran; see ann. 56.15 ff., on NHR 7.2.
Editor’s Note
61.29 shut the doors … Magians.46] Footnote reference: Thomas Hyde, Historia religionis veterum Persarum, eorumque Magorum. The classical Greek understanding of Zoroastrianism was largely limited to the depiction provided by the Magians. Hume seems to be following this conception, under guidance from Hyde's Historia religionis. A reference to shutting the doors of heaven is found in a passage in Hyde that discusses how the Persians diligently conceal their religion, because, 'by the religious precept of Zoroaster in the book Sadder', it is prohibited to teach and write to the outside (ch. 1, lines 9–15 (p. 5)). The Sadder, or 100 portae—'doors' in Latin—was not for public display; the doors were closed to anyone foreign to the religion. For more information on the Magians, Zoroaster, Hyde, and the Sadder, see anns. 56.15 ff. (on NHR 7.2); and 81.8 (on NHR 14.1, on the Sadder). (Caution is in order regarding Hyde's interpretations and his dating of the Sadder. Though a distinguished orientalist and scholar of Zoroastrianism, Hyde was a steadfast Christian who sometimes ridiculed other religious traditions.)
Editor’s Note
61.30 Persian conquests … temples and images of the Greeks] Herodotus (History 8.33–5, 51–4) relates stories of Persian plundering and burning of Greek temples to which Hume may be alluding. It appears that the temple burnings were part of a larger campaign of carnage, destruction, and plundering. It is historically unclear whether Persian zeal was directed specifically against temples and images and whether the Persian conquests were obstructed by these or other anti-religious actions.
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61.33 Alexander … abolished.47 … the Babylonish rites and ceremonies.48] Footnote references: (n. 47) Arrian, Anabasis 3.16.4–5; 7.17.2; (n. 48) Arrian, Anabasis 3.16.4–5. Bks. 3 and 7 of Arrian's Anabasis depict Alexander's attitudes toward local deities after his invasion of Babylonia. In bk. 3 Arrian says that although the Persian Emperor Xerxes had previously destroyed a temple in Babylon, Alexander decided to rebuild it on the same site. Bk. 7 reports that upon entering Babylon, Alexander commanded the rebuilding of the temple of the chief deity in the Babylonian pantheon. The temple had also been destroyed by Xerxes. In nn. 47–8 Hume refers to a small part of Arrian's Anabasis. Also pertinent are Anabasis 3.1.5; 3.6.1.1; 3.7.6; 3.16.9; 3.25.1; 7.24.4, 7.25.3–6; 7.28.1–2.
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62.1 antipathy] aversion 57–70 | 72–77
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62.2 scarcely] scarce 57–68 | 70–77
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62.3 AugustusCaius Cæsar … by the Pagans esteemed ignoble and barbarous.49] Footnote reference: Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars 2, 'Augustus' 93. Suetonius reports that 'Augustus … not only refrained from taking a small detour to see Apis … when he was travelling in Egypt, but also greatly praised his grandson Gaius because he did not offer prayers at Jerusalem when passing by Judaea'. It was common for Gentiles to send offerings or make sacrifices upon the altar. Jews sometimes offered sacrifices for the Roman emperor, and the emperor sometimes contributed toward their cost.
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62.4 when this latter prince] when 57*68 | 70–77
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62.4 deigned] he deigned 57–68 | 70–77
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62.5 the] 57–67 | the custom of 68 | 70–77
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62.9 society] political society 57–70 | 72–77
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62.10 human sacrifices of the Carthaginians] The Carthaginians (among others) practised royal sacrifices. The king was regarded as the source of sacred energy, which diminishes over time. The energy was believed renewable by sacrificing the king, who thereafter qualified as an object of worship. The Carthaginians sometimes substituted another person for the king, choosing an individual as close to royal status as possible. Commonly one of the king's sons was chosen, a custom that led to the Carthaginian practice of the sacrifice of children. Diodorus SiculusB reported that the Carthaginians sacrificed hundreds of children when they aspired to make amends to the gods. Their practice was to roll the children down from an image of Cronus into a pit filled with fire. See Historical Library 20.14.2–6. Diodorus also mentions connections between the Carthaginians and the Tyrians, to whom Hume refers in n. 51. Although various forms of sacrifice occurred in Tyre, little is known about human sacrifice.
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62.11 scarcely] scarce 57–68 | 70–77
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62.11 Mexicans] Evidence of practices in Mexico had been collected primarily from Spanish sources during the Spanish Conquest of 1518–21. The Aztecs, by these accounts, engaged in human sacrifices at festival commencements, usually sacrificing prisoners of war in the hope of inducing favours from the gods. The priests justified the practice by saying that the gods were famished and desirous of being worshipped, and that a victim had a path to the heavenly afterlife with the gods. The usual method of sacrifice involved a stone on which the victim was lain, nude and fully stretched. When the body cavity was cleaved, the heart was deftly removed by the priest and offered to the sun. The bodies of the dead were then distributed and eaten. Other forms of human sacrifice in Mexico involved pounding the head against a large rock in the temple, slitting the throat, beheading, and half-roasting the victim in a fire. After the sacrifice, the victims might be skinned and the skins worn as garments representing the divine. See Durán, Book of the Gods and Rites, pp. 91–5, 145–8, 175–80, 204–5, 212–16, 233–5, 242–4.
Editor’s Note
62.11 inquisition and persecutions of Rome and Madrid] Formal proceedings of the Inquisition began at least as early as 1184. Measures of suppression included excommunication, imprisonment, the death penalty, and confiscation or destruction of property. Those who did not recant their 'heresies' were brought to trial in secret hearings, with no right to counsel or legal assistance. Torture was common. Despite a long-standing papal denunciation of torture, Pope Innocent IV authorized its use in 1252. Unrecanted heresy often led to a sentence of burning at the stake or a similarly violent means of death. The Holy Office of the Inquisition was revived through a brief dated 14 Jan. 1542. Known as the Roman Inquisition, it was established primarily to combat Protestantism.
The Spanish Inquisition was established in 1478. The original purpose was to search for and punish heretics, but an underlying purpose was to end Jewish influence in Spain. Over 10,000 persons were burned, 100,000 imprisoned, and the Jews expelled in 1492. Hume (or his editor, Kames) cryptically ridicules the criteria used for accusations of atheism during the Spanish Inquisition in A Letter from a Gentleman 31.
Editor’s Note
62.17 fatal vengeance of inquisitors] 'Inquisitor' was commonly used to refer to a judge of the Spanish Inquisition.
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62.21 temple of Diana … installed his successor.52] Footnote references: Strabo, Geography 5.3.12; Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars 4, 'Gaius Caligula' 35.3. In early Roman religion there were several principal holy places or cult centres. Diana was worshipped in a temple in the Alban Hills in the grove of Aricia at the volcanic mountain Lake Nemi. The worship of spiritual powers included reading omens, charms, and taboos. The priest at the temple, who bore the title of king, could achieve that office only by killing the incumbent king in combat. Suetonius reports that Gaius Caligula secretly engaged a man willing to attack the king of Nemi. Volunteers for such a challenge were found among runaway, fugitive slaves. In order to succeed in the challenge, they were required to kill the reigning king with a sword. Strabo characterizes these religious traditions as barbaric. The temple's worshippers, he reports, once made a runaway slave the priest after he had killed his predecessor. Because of this incident, the priest was always armed with a sword lest another try to gain his office.
Editor’s Note
n. 42.1 Verrius FlaccusPlinyMacrobiusSammonicus Serenus] Footnote references: Pliny the Elder, Natural History 28.4 (ch. 2 in older editions), §§18–19; Macrobius, Saturnalia 3.9.6–13. Verrius Flaccus was a freedman who became a distinguished writer. Hume's statement of Pliny's recounting appears to be a close paraphrase. Macrobius reports that bk. 5 of Sammonicus Serenus,b Secret World (Res reconditæ), supplies 'the two formulas' that (1) call forth the gods from a city and (2) commit the city to destruction or annihilation. Macrobius quotes both formulae.
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n. 42.2 tutelar] 57–64 | tutelary 67–68 | 70–77
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n. 42.3 greater] equal or greater 57–70 | 72–77
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n.43.1 1] {GG}| ii 57–77
Editor’s Note
n. 50 Corruptio optimi pessima] This expression—'The worst state is a corruption of the best'—is not from any classical writer, but Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics may have been a distant source. Aristotle asserts that tyranny is the worst of three forms of corruption (or perversion) of the best form of government, which is monarchy (Nicomachean Ethics 1160a31–1160b11). Hume's expressions 'the corruption of the best things gives rise to the worst' (NHR 10.1) and 'the corruption of the best things begets the worst' (NHR 11.1) appear to be his translations of this same Latin expression. Hume begins his essay 'Of Superstition and Enthusiasm' by quoting and discussing the maxim 'That the corruption of the best things produces the worst', connecting the saying to 'corruptions of true religion' by superstition and enthusiasm.
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n. 51.1 guilt of human sacrifices; though,] guilt; tho' 57*68 | 70–77
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n. 51.4 their] the 57–72 | 77
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