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In: The Hebrew Bible in Fifteenth-Century Spain
In: After Conversion


Leaving religion has not been considered as a topic of historical inquiry apart from conversion until recently. As in the study of conversion, the historiographical consideration of leaving religion faces a number of theoretical problems and challenges. Medieval historiography has often approached leaving religion in negative terms as an element of heresy, apostasy, and unorthodox deviance, while historiography of the early modern period, often as part of a critique of medieval religiosity, has approached the subject in positive terms as an example of the rise of reason through secularism and skepticism. This chapter traces the historical schools and methods over the last century that have approached leaving religion in both positive and negative terms, viewing it through the lens of culture, language, political history, and literary form.

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In: Handbook of Leaving Religion