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The Natural History Of Religion

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1595479013
ISBN-10: 1595479015
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Editorial Reviews


"A minor classic . . . The essay has all the celebrated clarity and incisiveness of Hume, and it provides us, in a short and readable form, with the substance of the beliefs about the origins of religion which dominated the first attempts of later and more scientific writers to account for the rise and development of religion."

"A philosophical classic that caused considerable stir in its time. It is good to have a new editions of this brief work completely edited for the use of modern students."
Peabody Journal of Education

"Hume's view of religion was one-side and his anthropology out of date, but his blows were shrewd. In the historical development of modern theology his challenge has a point of departure; and even today, as the editor says, unless we have an answer to him our faith is unreal."
The Times Literary Supplement
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

Library of Liberal Arts title. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 68 pages
  • Publisher: NuVision Publications, LLC (June 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595479015
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595479013
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,947,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Albin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
This important essay is part of Hume's devastating criticism of religious belief. The other crucial components are the better known Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and the On Miracles Section of the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Ideally, it would be best to read all these together, a relatively easy task as the individual essays are relatively short and contain some of Hume's clearest and most entertaining writing. In Natural History, Hume examines the essentially irrational character of religious belief, with its foundation in human anxieties and the human tendency to personify human characteristics in the natural world. Hume goes on to describe the emergence of monotheism not as a rational process based on a philosophic appreciation of the necessity of accepting the existence of a Designer (an argument he will demolish in the Dialogues) but on the further extension of human irrationality. In a typically ironic approach, Hume then argues that polytheism is more likely to produce social benefits than monotheism and argues strongly against the idea that religion is actually useful for cultivating true morality. Among other things, Natural History exhibits Hume's remarkable command of classical literature and his incisive writing style.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
David Hume's "The natural history of religion" is a very valuable text. However, this edition is an unreadable product because the editors did not proof read the book after scanning and OCR of the text. The result is a book with many words missing letters and words strung together without spaces. A typical example of a hasty product. Amazon should impose a quality control on both editing and the correct page numbering. As such, this edition is useless. There are two other editions available on Amazon, I suggest one tries his or her luck with those. For me, this was wasted money.
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Format: Paperback
David Hume (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher, historian [History of England], economist, and essayist; his other works include A Treatise of Human Nature Volume 1, A Treatise of Human Nature Volume 2, An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, etc. [NOTE: page numbers below refer to the 76-page Stanford University paperback edition.]

Hume wrote in his Introduction, "The whole frame of nature bespeaks an intelligent author; and no rational inquirer can, after serious reflection, suspend his belief a moment with regard to the primary principles of genuine Theism and Religion. But ... concerning the origin of religion in human nature, is exposed to some more difficulty. The belief of invisible, intelligent power has been very generally diffused over the human race, in all places and in all ages; but it has neither perhaps been so universal as to admit of no exception, nor has it been... uniform in the ideas, which it has suggested...
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