Attempts to Discern the Authorship of the Treatise of the Three Imposters

here have been but few scholars whose religious beliefs were dubious, who have not been credited with the authorship of this treatise.

Avervoes, a famous Arabian commentator on Aristotle's works, and celebrated for his learning, was the first to whom this production was attributed. He lived about the middle of the twelfth century when the three impostors "were first spoken of. He was not a Christian, as he treated their religion as "the Impossible," nor a Jew, whose law he called "a Religion for Children," nor a Mahometan, for he denominated their belief "a Religion for Hogs." He finally died a Philosopher, that is to say, without having subscribed to the opinions of the vulgar, and that was sufficient to publish him as the enemy of the law makers of the three Religions that he had scorned.

Jean Bocala, an Italian scholar of a happy disposition, and consequently not much imbued with bigotry, flourished in the middle of the fourteenth century. A fable that he ventured in one of his works, concerning "Three Rings," has been regarded as evidence of this execrable book whose author was looked for, and this was considered sufficient to attribute the authorship to him long after his death.

Michael Servetus, burned at Geneva (1553) by the pitiless persecution of Mr. John Calvin, he not having subscribed either the Trinity or the Redeemer, it became proper to attribute to him the production of this impious volume.

Etienne Dolit, a printer at Paris, and who ranked among the learned, was led to the stake -- to which he had been condemned as a Calvinist in 1543 -- with a courage comparable to that of the first martyrs. He therefore merited to be treated as an atheist, and was honored as the author of the pamphlet against the "Three impostors."

Lucilio Vanini, a Neapolitan, and the most noted atheist of his time, if his enemies may be believed, fairly proved before his judges -- however he may have been convinced -- the truth of a Providence, and consequently a God. It sufficed however for the persecution of his enemies, the Parliament of Toulouse, who condemned him to be burned as an atheist, and also to merit the distinction of having composed, or at least having revived, the book in question.

I am not sure but what Ochini and Postel, Pomponiac and Poggio the Florentine, and Campanella, all celebrated for some particular opinion condemned by the Church of their time, were for that reason accused as atheists, and also adjudged without trouble, the authors of the little truth for whom a parent was sought.

All that famous critics have published from time to time of this book has excited the curiosity of the great and wise to determine the author, but without avail.


A list of suspects, none of whom were probably involved with its authorship, that reads like a list of heretics.

Folksonomies: heresy heretic

/science/social science/history/medieval history (0.489987)
/religion and spirituality (0.439327)
/religion and spirituality/atheism and agnosticism (0.355546)

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Aristotle:Person (0.824935 (positive:0.055496)), Jean Bocala:Person (0.602655 (positive:0.313157)), Lucilio Vanini:Person (0.552540 (neutral:0.000000)), Etienne Dolit:Person (0.504654 (neutral:0.000000)), Toulouse:City (0.493401 (neutral:0.000000)), Avervoes:Person (0.489457 (neutral:0.000000)), Michael Servetus:Person (0.487634 (neutral:0.000000)), Mr. John Calvin:Person (0.469631 (neutral:0.000000)), Campanella:Person (0.432276 (neutral:0.000000)), Ochini:Person (0.432164 (neutral:0.000000)), Mahometan:Degree (0.428560 (negative:-0.346019)), Geneva:City (0.428121 (negative:-0.314597)), Providence:City (0.424297 (positive:0.377108)), Paris:City (0.386833 (neutral:0.000000))

John Calvin (0.949535): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Religion (0.928586): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Belief (0.891510): dbpedia | freebase
Lucilio Vanini (0.807615): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Aristotle (0.791932): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Truth (0.719909): dbpedia | freebase
Faith (0.700024): dbpedia | freebase
Author (0.683346): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 The Treatise of the Three Impostors
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Anderson , Abraham and Anonymous, (1997-02), The Treatise of the Three Impostors, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Retrieved on 2011-06-17
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  • Folksonomies: religion atheism heresy blasphemy