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A Short History of Atheism by Gavin Hyman

The last few years have seen a remarkable surge of popular interest in the topic of atheism. Books about atheism by writers like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have figured prominently in bestseller lists and have attracted widespread discussion in the media. The ubiquity of public debates about atheism, especially in conscious opposition to the perceived social threat posed by faith and religion, has been startling. However, as Gavin Hyman points out, despite their prevalence and popularity, what often characterizes these debates is a lack of nuance and sophistication. They can be shrill, ignorant of the historical complexity of debates about belief, and tend to lapse into caricature. What is needed is a clear and well informed presentation of how atheistic ideas originated and developed, in order to illuminate their contemporary relevance and application. That task is what the author undertakes here. Exploring the rise of atheism as an explicit philosophical position (notably in the work of Denis Diderot), Hyman traces its development in the later ideas of Descartes, Locke, and Berkeley. Drawing also on the work of contemporary scholars like Amos Funkenstein and Michael J Buckley, the author shows that, since in recent theology the concept of God which atheists negate is changing, the triumph of its advocates may not be quite as unequivocal as Hitchens and Dawkins would have us believe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781848851375
Publisher: I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited
Publication date: 10/15/2010
Series: I.B.Tauris Short Histories Series
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 997,502
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Gavin Hyman is Lecturer in Religious Studies at Lancaster University. He is the author of The Predicament of Postmodern Theology: Radical Orthodoxy or Nihilist Textualism?.

Table of Contents

• Introduction
• The 'Appearance' of Atheism in Modern History
• The Development of Atheism in Modern Thought
• The God that Modern Atheism Rejects
• The Theological Origins of Modern Atheism
• Atheism and the Rise of Biblical Criticism
• Atheism and the Rise of Science
• Atheism, Evil and Suffering
• The End of Modernity - the End of Atheism?
• Bibliography
• Index

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