Anti-Atheism in Early Modern England 1580-1720

The Atheist Answered and His Error Confuted

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Atheists generated widespread anxieties between the Reformation and the Enlightenment. In response to such anxieties a distinct genre of religious apologetics emerged in England between 1580 and 1720. By examining the form and the content of the confutation of atheism, Anti-Atheism in Early Modern England demonstrates the prevalence of patterned assumptions and arguments about who an atheist was and what an atheist was supposed to believe, outlines and analyzes the major arguments against atheists, and traces the important changes and challenges to this apologetic discourse in the early Enlightenment.
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Biographical Note

Kenneth Sheppard, Ph.D (2012), is currently a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at Concordia university.

Review Quote

“This enormously valuable addition to the historiography of religious and moral thought is packed with sources and conclusions of significance far beyond England.”
Ada Palmer, University of Chicago. In: Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 2 (Summer 2017), pp. 780-782.

“The volume is elegantly written and immaculately edited … and may serve as an excellent avenue into a new kind of theologically aware historical “thick description” of the complex discursive fields of early modernity”.
Philipp Reisner, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf. In: Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 48, No 1 (Spring 2017), pp. 192-193.

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1. Anxieties About Atheism
2. “The Atheist Answered and His Error Confuted”
3. Atheist Epicurus
4. Anti-Atheist Plato
5. Atheism and Apostasy
6. Atheism and Society
7. Atheism and Happiness
8. From Confutation to Criticism
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index

Readership

All interested in the history of early modern England, and anyone concerned with the history of religion and the history of atheism.