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A Short History of Atheism (I.B.Tauris Short Histories) Paperback – October 15, 2010
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'Gavin Hyman offers a much needed analysis and evaluation of the atheism that arose during the Enlightenment and extended itself into the modern and contemporary periods. He does so with a fairness and balance that illumines the subject rather than obfuscates it. Avoiding the supercilious polemic which has recently and regrettably marked the subject, Hyman's introductory history of atheism is honest in its assessment of the evidence and careful in its argumentation, taking up an issue that has preoccupied Western civilization since the ancient Greeks. The integrity of his inquiry and of his discourse have left us very much in his debt.' - Michael J Buckley, SJ, Augustin Cardinal Bea, SJ, Professor of Theology, Santa Clara University, and author of At the Origins of Modern Atheism; 'In this meticulous anatomy of modern atheism, Gavin Hyman pursues the idea that we get the atheism we deserve: that modern atheism is a function of the modern idea of God, and nothing more. Accordingly, as the author shows, the very idea of the 'post-modern' spells trouble for the atheism that is built into modernity. The alternatives that post-modernity presents, Hyman argues, are whether to retrieve the pre-modern traditions of Augustine and Aquinas or to press on toward a thinking that moves beyond and displaces the distinction between theism and atheism. This is a lucid, engaging and astute work of historical and philosophical analysis.' - John D Caputo, Thomas J Watson Professor of Religion and Humanities and Professor of Philosophy, Syracuse University
About the Author
Gavin Hyman is Lecturer in Religious Studies at Lancaster University. He is the author of The Predicament of Postmodern Theology: Radical Orthodoxy or Nihilist Textualism?.
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It is much more of a study book, (though lively and well written) than most contemporary books on atheism/Christianity (which are often very poorly researched). It is written from a Christian perspective but issues a serious if implicit challenge to Christians (was their god invented in the 17th century?) Equally, it is perhaps too quickly dismissed by atheists who prefer the tried and tested cliched histories of atheism. This book adds something genuinely new to the debate and is definitely worth the read.