David HUME : Dialogues concerning Natural Religion

Publication Information : Book Title : Dialogues concerning Natural Religion. Contributors : David Hume – author, Norman Kemp Smith – editor. Publisher : Bobbs-Merrill. Place of Publication : Indianapolis. Publication Year : 1947.


The manuscript of Hume Dialogues in the library of the Royal Society of Edinburgh is of great interest. It gives what we may believe to be the first version of the Dialogues, as completed in the period 1751-5. The revisions which it exhibits in every part and on almost every page also record the stages by which the Dialogues were later brought into their final form. As we know, the revisions were made by Hume in or prior to 1761, and again in the year of his death, in 1776.

It was from this manuscript that Hume’s nephew obtained the text of the Dialogues. In accordance with Hume’s instructions, he omitted whatever Hume had marked for omission, and incorporated the revisions and additions. Everything else in the manuscript he very rightly passed over without comment. His text is remarkably correct ; his intentional departures from the manuscript are few in number, and are justified by Hume’s own preferences as shown in the works, the publication of which he had himself supervised. In all subsequent editions the nephew’s text has been simply reprinted ; later editors have made no use of the manuscript, either to improve upon the text or to supplement it in any way.

Aller au contenu principal