Cologne / Amsterdam: Claude Emanuel / Jacob Smith, 1678. In 1655 Spinoza began work on this treatise, with which he hoped to accomplish two ends: to bring attention to the "prejudices of the theologians" while refuting accusations of atheism made against him (see Fritz Bamberger, "The Early Editions of Spinoza's 'Tractatus Theologico-Politicus,'" in "Studies in Bibliography and Booklore," Vol. 5, p. 9). The work did not appear until fifteen years later, in 1670, anonymously, under a false imprint, and in modern Latin in order to bypass censorship. This translation, the earliest in French, first appeared in 1678 under the title "Clef du Sanctuaire. " That title was swiftly changed, together with its false imprint, due to political lashback (indeed, by the early 1680s, mention was made by the censors of Geneva of this and other "mechans livres" (cf. Maria-Cristina Pitassi, "De la Censure à la Réfutation: L'Académie de Genève," in "Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale," Vol. 93, no. 2, Avril-Juin, 1988, p. 150)).
The present copy conforms to the description of an entirely new printing of the work, seen here with two title pages (as noted in Brunet), and featuring slightly taller type and the misspelled "PREEACE" on leaf [*9] verso (Bamberger, p.32). Though the translation issued under the title "Clef du Sanctuaire" is the rarest the three, Brunet's dismissal of this edition as having "little value" may perhaps be considered an overstatement – it is among the earliest editions in French and carries with it a fascinating bibliographical history. See BRUNET V, p. 492; PMM 153 (citing the 1670 edition). 12mo (14cm.); full contemporary mottled calf, gilt spine in six compartments, all edges stained red, marbled endpapers; ,531,,30pp. (*12 **4 A-2A12 2B8). Boards rather scuffed along extremities with brief exposure at corners, joints slightly exposed, leather somewhat cracked, else Very Good, internally fine.