This introductory chapter presents an overview of the four chapters featured in this volume. The chapters all arose in one way or another from reflection on Pierre Bayle's Philosophical Commentary on the Words of the Gospel, ‘Compel them to come in’, one of the classics of the 17th-century debate about religious toleration. Bayle wrote the Philosophical Commentary to advocate religious toleration at a time when it seemed almost a lost cause. Deeply committed to that cause, he was also an enemy to faulty reasoning even from himself. A man of sharp intelligence, in philosophy and theology he was very well informed.
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