Athens and Jerusalem

The Philosophical Critique of Christianity in Late Antiquity and the Enlightenment


The present study, for the first time, provides a comparative analysis of the objections raised against Christianity by late antique pagan philosophers (esp. Celsus in Alethes logos, Porphyry in Contra Christianos, and Julian the Apostate in Contra Gali-laeos) and Enlightenment philosophers and freethinkers and examines the impact of pagan thinking on the critique of Christianity in the 16th to 18th centuries – in particular, on discussions concerning the authority of the Bible, biblical exegesis, the Christian concept of faith, religious coercion and the uniformity of faith, the belief in miracles, and the Christ-ian understanding of morality.

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Winfried Schröder, Ph.D. (1986), is Professor of History of Philosophy at Philipps-Universität Marburg. He is co-editor of Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie, editor of the series Philosophische Clandestina der deutschen Aufklärung and Freidenker der europäischen Aufklärung, and of major texts of the radical Enlightenment (i.a. De tribus impostoribus; Traité des trois imposteurs; Symbolum sapientiae). He has published monographs about Spinozism in the Enlightenment, moral nihilism, and atheism, including Ursprünge des Atheismus (2nd ed. 2012).

1 Philosophy and Christianity: The Occidental Synthesis

2 The Return of the Ostracized
 1 Late Antique Critics of Christianity in the Early Modern Era
 2 Difficulties with Late Antiquity

3 The Attack on Holy Scripture

4 Philosophical-Theological Dissent
 1 Faith
 2 Miracles
 3 Morality

5 Epilogue
All interested in the reception of Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian the Apostate and the Enlightenment critique of Christianity, and anyone concerned with the history of epistemology of religion; religious toleration; miracles; moral philosophy. Keywords: critique of Christianity, late antiquity, Enlightenment, epistemology of religion; religious toleration; miracles; moral philosophy.
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