Meslier, Jean

Testament:  Memoir of the Thought and Sentiments of Jean Meslier by Jean Meslier (translated by Michael Shreve), Prometheus Books, 2009.

Now translated and published here for the first time in English, Testament is an unprecedented work of pure rebellion.  Meslier skewers with dagger-pointed humor and feverishly advances his case against the inanity of the belief in God, gods, scripture, an afterlife, and all the segments of society that adhere to these beliefs:  the reptilian clergy who are more concerned with power than good acts; the do-nothing monks and priests who feed from the public trough; the monarchs who believe themselves embodiments of the divine; and the disenfranchised public who bear the yolk, not to mention the cost, yet remain in their miserable state.

Including a preface by Michel Onfray that provides crucial background and sublime insight on this secluded, radical atheist priest, this complete translation from the original French captures the spirit of Meslier and is as fresh as any of today’s books of the New Atheism.  Testament will delight freethinkers, skeptics and anyone interested in the history of religious dissent.

Testament: Memoir of the Thoughts and Sentiments of Jean Meslier

The Memoir is that rare work that is clearly of its time but transcends it to our own… Shreve and Prometheus Books are to be congratulated for finally bringing this powerful work to readers of English.
— Phillip J. (Max) Maloney, Religious Studies Review, Vol 37 Issue 2

We are now fortunate that the complete Testament expounding Meslier’s wisdom, common sense and reasoning, is now available to the English-speaking world.
— Donald Hatch, Enlightenment, Humanist Association of London and Area, Vol 7 Number 5 October 2011.

Angry, precise, logical, and eminently quotable, the Testament of Jean Meslier is a revelation that came centuries before the world was ready for it. It is the ultimate New Atheist book of 1729.
— Luke Muehlhauser, Common Sense Atheism

This book should be read by every thinking person in America (or, honestly, the world). I don’t have the words to thank Michael Shreve enough for translating Meslier’s masterpiece.
— Joseph Cross on Amazon


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