Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Riddle of Hume's TreatiseSkepticism, Naturalism, and Irreligion$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Paul Russell

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195110333

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195110333.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 January 2020

Atheism under Cover

Atheism under Cover

Esoteric Communication on Hume's Title Pages

(p.70) 7 Atheism under Cover
The Riddle of Hume's Treatise

Paul Russell (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Both the epigrams that Hume uses on the title‐pages of the Treatise of Human Nature are very significant and reveal his freethinking and irreligious aims and intentions.. More specifically, the epigram from Tacitus that appears in Books I and II was used not only by Spinoza, but also by his followers in the Collins‐Toland circle to proclaim their bold defense of freethinking. At the same time, the Lucan epigram that appears in Book III also appears prominently in Collins's Freethinking and carries the message of Cato, a model of stoic virtue and the oracle of pantheism, freedom of thought, and anti‐superstition. Beyond this, these two epigrams are also intimately connected with Hume's Hobbist title and plan for his Treatise. In this way, Hume's use of epigrams on the title page of the Treatise is a notable and illuminating example of “esoteric” communication.

Keywords:   Cato the Younger, Anthony Collins, epigrams, esoteric/exoteric, Lucan (Pharsalia), Pantheists, Tacitus, title‐pages, Benedict Spinoza, John Toland

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .