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Western Atheism: A Short History
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Western Atheism: A Short History

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  19 ratings  ·  4 reviews
Much has been written on religions of all types, the history of religious belief, and on the supernatural interpretation of the world, but where can we turn for an account of unbelief-the naturalistic alternative?

James Thrower's concise and direct approach examines the thinkers and schools which defined atheism, beginning with Greece, Rome, and Israel. He notes that the in
Paperback, 157 pages
Published December 1st 1999 by Prometheus Books (first published 1971)
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David Teachout
In the ideological battles between humanists/secularists and the religiously minded, or even within camps of atheists, there is a rather ridiculous lack of understanding concerning the history of secular ideas, notably the history of how a contrary (contrary to religious that is) view of the universe came to be. Thrower does in under 200 pages a brilliant job of distilling the key steps in the evolving ideology of a system no longer taking seriously the claims of supernaturalism. Knowing this hi ...more
Western Atheism: A Short History was first published in 1971. This edition is a republication by one of my favorite publishers, Prometheus Books. Although there are many books and collections on atheism that were published before '71, this is one of the early (relatively speaking) historical works on atheism, as Thrower points out in the afterword.

The book is in three parts: Atheism is Classical Antiquity, Western Atheism to the Seventeenth Century and Modern Atheism. Part Three runs up to the l
A capable survey of the history of atheism and agnosticism in the Western world from its roots in ancient Ionia up until the mid-Twentieth century. This is primarily a work about atheist thinkers, not about atheism and agnosticism as popular movements. Definitely worth reading to get a feel for the historic lay of the land.
Steven Dunn
I do not know enough about the author to determine whether or not he himself is an atheist (Promotheus Publishing is known for such), but this exposition of secular thought is really good. I enjoyed it. He also deals nicely with the accusation that the early Ionian Philosophers were naturalists.
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James Thrower is a professor in the history of religions and director of the Centre for the Study of Religions at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
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