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Atheism from the Reformation to the Enlightenment$
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Michael Hunter and David Wootton

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198227366

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198227366.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Atheism from the Reformation to the Enlightenment

Michael Hunter

David Wootton

Oxford University Press

This book deals with the early history of the process that advanced atheism, agnosticism, and religious unbelief. This chapter discusses the coverage of the book and provides a brief background of the individuals who overtly rejected religious faith from 1520 to 1780. That period saw the fears that unbelief and irreligion were on the rise, as well as sustained and systematic attacks on Christianity mounted by many philosophers, building on the intellectual changes of the seventeenth century and the Enlightenment. Alongside the problems posed by the study of unbelief, it notes its relationship to the process of secularization that has taken place since the Reformation. The multifaceted character of unbelief and the varied nature of the sources in the early modern period suggest that there is no single history of atheism.

Keywords:   atheism, religious unbelief, Reformation, Enlightenment, agnosticism

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