“Libertins: A sect of French freethinkers and skeptics of the 17th and 18th centuries, precursors of Voltaire and the encyclopedists. Advocates of total freedom of thought and conscience, the Libertins questioned the doctrines and morality of all received religion and were continually accused of atheism and immorality. The greatest religious thinkers of the day, including Bossuet and Pascal, denounced their views, and ultimately the Libertins’ own poor conduct discredited their name.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.