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Atheism from the Reformation to the Enlightenment - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Atheism from the Reformation to the Enlightenment

Michael Hunter and David Wootton


The rise of atheism and unbelief is a key feature in the development of the modern world, yet it is a topic which has been little explored by historians. This book presents a series of studies of irreligious ideas in various parts of Europe during the two centuries following the Reformation. Atheism was illegal everywhere. The word itself first entered the vernacular languages soon after the Reformation, but it was not until the 18th century that the first systematic defences of unbelief began to appear in print. Its history in the intervening two centuries is significant but hitherto obscure.

Keywords: atheism, unbelief, irreligious ideas, Europe, Reformation, 18th century, Enlightenment

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1992 Print ISBN-13: 9780198227366
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198227366.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael Hunter, editor
Birkbeck College, London

David Wootton, editor
University of Victoria