Vincent Placcius

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Vincent Placcius read law in Helmstadt, Leipzig and Orléans. He held the chair of moral philosophy and eloquence at the Hamburg Gymnasium (1675). He was a close friend of the Leipzig anti-Cartesian professor of rhetoric and dialectic Jacob Thomasius, who in his own work on plagiarism appreciated him as an authority on pseudonymous and anonymous writings. See: Hoffmann, 1857; Mulsow, 2006.

Placcius identified Spinoza as the disguised author of Tractatus theologico-politicus and states that the treatise was also published in the French language under the titles Reflexions curieuses d’un esprit des-interressé sur les matieres les plus importantes au salut, tant public que particulier and Traitté des ceremonies superstitieuses superstitieuses des Juifs tant anciens que modernes (cf. Placcius, 1708, ch. 2, p. 176). Placcius also mentions Spinoza as the author of the Opera posthuma and of Philosophia S. Scripturae interpres (Placcius, 1708, ch. 2, p. 150-1, no. 830). In the same entry, he also mentions and quotes from some of the early refutations of Spinoza. In addition, in Theatrum he also points to the offer to become professor in Heidelberg. About the title-page of the ‘Theological-Political Treatise’, he further contends that the imprint at the foot of its title-page (‘Kühn Rath’) is fictitious and puts forward that the book had been printed in the Netherlands (Placcius, 1708,p. 177, no. 889).


William Cave


Jacob Thomasius