torsdag 31. juli 2008

Voltaires hus og bibelselskapet....

Følgende historie har blitt fortalt i over hundre år:

"Under opplysningstiden skrev Voltaire at Krisdommen vil være slettet fro jordens overflate innen 100 år - 50 år senere ble hans hus og trykkpresse brukt til å trykke Bibler i Geneve."

Men stemmer dette med virkeligheten?
Her er noen linker som belyser dette temaet:

Wikipedia skriver følgende om Voltaire:
There is an apocryphal story that his home at Ferney was purchased by the Geneva Bible Society and used for printing Bibles, but this appears to be due to a misunderstanding of the 1849 annual report of the American Bible Society.[12] Voltaire's chateau is now owned and administered by the French Ministry of Culture.

Et tidsskrift (ateistisk?) skriver følgende i 2004:

The Open Society Volume 77 No 1 Autumn 2004 (side 16)

Voltaire's House
and The Bible Society
David Ross
There is a popular anecdote among
Christian apologists that Voltaire
(1694-1778) once remarked that the
Bible would soon become a forgotten
book, but the house in which he
made this prediction later became
the headquarters of a Bible Society
who used it to publish or distribute
This ironic tale has been repeated in
many books and web sites [I], frequently
with contradictory details.
The location of the house is usually
given as Geneva [2], sometimes as
Paris [3], and there are even occasional
references to Germany and
The Bible society in question is variously
identified as the Geneva Bible
Society and the British and Foreign
Bible Society. And the date this
society is said to have occupied
Voltaire's house ranges anywhere
from twenty years to a hundred
years after the death ofvoltaire.
It is also noteworthy that the more
ill-advised versions of the anecdote
refer to Voltaire as an Atheist when
he was in fact a Deist.
Voltaire Vindicated?
Most writers give no sources or citations
for the anecdote; if Voltaire
ever made such a predication about
the fate of the Bible I was unable to
trace it while researching this article.
But was Voltaire's house used by a
Bible society? As a first step to
obtaining an answer, I contacted
the Bible Societies of France,
Switzerland and the UK to seek verification
of the story.
A categorical denial was received
from Pierre Barreto, Communications
Officer of the Alliance
Biblique Franqaise:
That absurd rumor [was] born
some time ago in the US but it is
completely false: no house
where Voltaire lived is currently
or has been occupied by a Bible
Society, and not even by a printing
company working for a Bible
Society, neither in France nor in
Dolly Clottu, Secretariat of the
Societk Biblique Suisse, wrote that:
We don't have and can't find
any other information about
this popular anecdote. I have
asked a former General
Secretary who lives in the surroundings
of Lausanne and he is
definite: he has neves heard
about this story
Rosemary Mathew, Librarian of the
UK Bible Society, responded, "the
question of Voltaire's house is one
that crops up every so often and we
have a couple of documents which
prove the story false''.
These little-known documents held
by the UK Bible Society include a
record of correspondence between
Margaret T. Hills (1898-1972),
Librarian of the American Bible
Society, and Voltaire's biographer,
Theodore Besterman (1904- l976),
The Open Society Volume 77 No 1 Autumn 2004
who was director of the Institut et
Mus6e Voltaire in Geneva. In
response to a query from Hills about
the Voltaire anecdote, Besterman
. . . None of Voltaire's homes is or
ever has been connected in any
way with any Bible Society. This
applies to all Voltaire's homes,
whether in France, Germany,
Switzerland, or anywhere else.


By now readers may be curious to know the real fate of the various
houses where Voltaire resided during his life:
Voltaire's mansion in the town of Ferney-Voltaire, France, is today a
museum and arts centre.

His mansion in Geneva, Switzerland (Les Delices) is the headquarters of
the Institut et Musee Voltaire. Voltaire lived in two different houses
in Lausanne. Neither of these houses is standing today. [141

Voltaire died at what is now No. 27 Quai de Voltaire in Paris, France.
This building is today occupied by a restaurant (Le Voltaire) and an
antique dealer.

As to La Grotte, Gibbon's villa in Lausanne, the house was demolished
in 1896 to make way for Lausanne's Central Post Office.
The Hotel Gibbon in Lausanne ceased to operate in 1920. The
building has now become the head-quarters of the Soqietk du Banque
Suisse. [l5]