Colloquium Heptaplomeres

Dr. Delphine Doucet

Research Interests


My work focuses on heterodox thought, and ideas of toleration in the early modern period. It also investigates the circulation of texts and the reception of ideas particularly through the study of clandestine texts circulated from the end of the sixteenth to the eighteenth century.

I consider myself as an historian of ideas and society in Early Modern Europe.

My previous and current research focuses on the early modern corpus of clandestine manuscript literature so far defined by a specific mode of circulation, an heterodox discourse, and a chronological period running from 1600’s to 1750’s. My doctorate – Jean Bodin’s Colloquium Heptaplomeres: Clandestine literature, heterodoxy and the possibility of toleration 1590-1750 – focussed on the clandestine manuscript composed by Jean Bodin: a conversation between seven men of different religions. This text is one of the most significant of the corpus: at least 108 copies survive for the period 1620-1750. It engages with issues central to the conflicts of religious life in the period.

This work allowed me to investigate several aspects of the early modern period in Europe such as the diffusion of ideas, and the influence of the major religious and political events for the creation and diffusion of ideas. Indeed, this text was read across Europe from the late sixteenth century to the Enlightenment, with a particular period of interest from 1650 to 1720. This specific project has instilled in me the desire to further my research in the study of heterodox ideas, the theorisation of ideas of toleration and intolerance, and the means of diffusion of ideas both in print and manuscript in the period from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. My current research project stems from this interests and my study of the clandestine manuscript of the Colloquium Heptaplomeres, and investigates some others of the French clandestine manuscripts first presented by Gustave Lanson at the beginning of the twentieth century. This work attempts comparative studies of the ideas developed in these texts, as well as of their modes of circulation, diffusions and adaptations. The research will contribute to the historiography of sociability and consumption of manuscript texts and heterodox ideas in the Early Modern period, thus contributing to current research on scribal culture, while reassessing their role in the construction of a Radical Enlightenment.

Forthcoming publications

Following the completion of my Ph.D., I am now preparing a critical bilingual edition (Latin and French) of the text of the Colloquium Heptaplomeres for Honoré Champion as part of their collection Libre pensée et litttérature clandestine (directed by Professor Antony McKenna).

In addition, I am cooperating to a research project that will lead to the publication of a critical English edition of Richard Simon’s correspondence with Dr. Nicholas Keene and Prof. Justin Champion (to be published by Ashgate).

Higher Education


  • PhD: Jean Bodin’s Colloquium Heptaplomeres: Clandestine literature, heterodoxy and the possibility of toleration 1590-1750 (supervisor: Prof. Justin Champion), History Department, Royal Holloway University of London, United Kingdom


  • MA (with Merit) in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe (Dissertation: Witch and Demonologist: creation, definition and self-definition, supervisor: Prof. Lyndal Roper), History Department, Royal Holloway University of London, United Kingdom



  • Erasmus / Socrates student at the Department of History of Royal Holloway
  • Licence en Histoire (mention assez bien), History Department, Université François Rabelais, Tours, France
Current positions

Teaching Positions:
From 09/2008:

  • Sessional Lecturer, Faculty of Lifelong Learning (Philosophy and Intellectual history- certificate of higher education), Birkbeck University of London
    • Enlightenment I: Science, politics, religion (Autumn term only)
    • Enlightenment II: Morality, anthropology, Art (Spring term only 6 weeks)
  • Visiting tutor, Goldsmith University of London
    • Early Modern Philosophy (2nd and 3rd year course - Half unit)
    • Heresy, the Occult and the Millenium (2nd and 3rd year course - Full unit - from 2009-10)
    • The Nature of beings (1st year course- Spring term academic year 2008-09)

From 09/2003

  • Visiting Tutor, History Department, Royal Holloway University of London
    • Kings, Republic and People: political thought from Plato to Rousseau (1st year course)
    • History and Meanings (1st year course- only Easter term 2003-2004)
    • Rich Tapestry of Life: a social and cultural history of Europe c. 1500-1780 (1st year course -Autumn tern 2005-2006 only)

From 09/ 2004

  • On-line tutor, University of London external programme – History (Royal Holloway)
    • Republics, Kings and People: political thought from Plato to Rousseau
    • Experience Culture and Identity: Women’s lives in England 1688-c.1850 (Group 2 paper - Since October 2007)

Other Professional Experience:

From 08/2008

  • Network Facilitator for the Leverhulme Funded project Physiognomy: the arts and science of the face, c. 1500-c. 1850 (directed by Prof. Colin Jones), Queen Mary University of London. (see project website:
Conference papers



  • Dialogue, identities and authorities: scepticism and anti-Christian arguments in the Colloquium Heptaplomeres, paper given at the Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, panel: Religion and Politics in Jean Bodin's Colloquium Heptaplomeres (21st March 2009), Los Angeles, USA


  • Editing Clandestine Manuscript: The Case of the Colloquium Heptaplomeres 160-1750, paper given at the Warburg Institute: Work in Progress Seminar (8th March 2006), London, United Kingdom


  • Religious conflicts and the development of religious toleration: Jean Bodin and the Religious Wars (1530-1596), paper given at the fifth Conference of the European Association for the Study of Religion (18th August 2005), Turkù, Finland
  • Readers and Clandestine manuscript circulation: the case of the Colloquium Heptaplomeres,  paper given at Keele University, An Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference, (8th April 2005), Keele, United Kingdom


  • ‘Religions’ and the question of conversion in the Colloquium Heptaplomeres, paper given at the Fourth Conference of the European Association for the Study of Religion (10th September 2004), Santander, Spain


  • The sources in Jean Bodin’s Colloquium Heptaplomeres: an indication of the text tradition, paper given at the Postgraduate Seminar (30th October 2003), Institute of Historical Research, London.

Attempt 1Physiognomy design

Attempt 2 Physiognomy design

Attempt 3 Physiognomy design

Attempt 4 Physiognomy design











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