Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary
The Philosophical Dictionary
Selected and Translated by H.I. Woolf
New York: Knopf, 1924

Scanned by the Hanover College Department of History in 1995.
Proofread and pages added by Jonathan Perry, March 2001.


WHAT is this "Ezourveidam" which is in the King of France's library. It is an ancient commentary which an ancient Brahmin composed once upon a time, before the epoch of Alexander, on the ancient "Veidam," which was itself much less ancient than the book of the "Shasta."

Let us respect, I tell you, all these ancient Indians. They invented the game of chess, and the Greeks went among them to learn geometry.

This "Ezourveidam" was lastly translated by a Brahmin, correspondent of the unfortunate French India Company. It was brought to me on Mount Krapack, where I have long been observing the snows; and I sent it to the great Library of Paris, where it is better placed than in my home.

Those who wish to consult it will see that after many revolutions produced by the Eternal, it pleased the Eternal to form a man who was called Adimo, and a woman whose name corresponds to that of life.

Is this Indian anecdote taken from the Jewish books? have the Jews copied it from the Indians? or can one say that both wrote it originally, and that fine minds meet?

The Jews were not permitted to think that their writers had drawn anything from the Brahmins, for they had never heard tell of them. We are not permitted to think about Adam otherwise than the Jews. Consequently I hold my tongue, and I do not think at all.

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