Atheism,  freethought,  History,  Philosophy,  Rationalism,  Religions

A short history of freethought, ancient and modern PDF book by J. M. Robertson

A short history of freethought, ancient and modern Free PDF book by  J. M. Robertson (1899) 

short history of freethought

Excerpt from the author’s introduction:

Short histories are perhaps not among the best of disciplines, and the History of Freethought is at least as hard to write justly or master intelligently in short compass as any other. At the same time, the concise history, which is a different thing from the epitomes denounced by Bacon, has its advantages; and I have striven in this case to guard somewhat against the disadvantages by the habitual citation of authorities, and by the frequent brief discussion, in paragraphs in smaller type, of disputed and theoretical matters. These discussions can be skipped by the unleisured reader, and weighed by the student, at pleasure, the general narrative in larger type going on continuously.

Such a book could not be written without much use of the works of specialists in the history of religion and philosophy, or without debt to many other cultures- historians. These debts, I think, are pretty fully indicated in the notes; from which it will also appear, I hope, that I have striven to check my authorities throughout, and to make the reader aware of most occasions for doubtful matters of historic fact. The generalization of the subject matter is, for the most part, my own affair. I must acknowledge, however, one debt which would not otherwise appear on the face of the book — that, namely, which I owe to my dead friend, J. M. Wheeler, for the’^p^ny modern clues yielded by his Biographical Dictionary. ^pf Freethinkers, a work which stands for an amount of nomadic research that only those who have worked over the ground can well appreciate.

some contents of the books:



§ I. Origin and Meaning of the Word i

§ 2. Previous histories . . . . 6

§ 3. The Psychology of Freethought 9

Ch.p. II. — Primitive Freethinking. 15

Chap. III.— Progress under Ancient Religions.

§ I. Early Association and Competition of Cults… 23

§ 2. The Process in India … 26

§ 3. Mesopotamia. 36

§ 4. Ancient Persia 39

] 5. Egypt 44

§ 6. Phoenicia. 49

§ 7. Ancient China 53

§ 8. Mexico and Peru. 59

§ g. The Common Forces of Degeneration. 63

Chap. IV. — Relative Freethought in Israel.

§1. The early Hebrews 68

I 2. The interpolated prophetic literature. 75

§ 3. The post-exilic literature. 81

Chap. V. — Freethought in Greece. 90

§1. Beginnings of Ionic Culture . . 92

I 2. Homer, Pindar, and .lEschylus 94

§ 3. The Culture-Conditions. 96

§ 4. From Thales to the Eleatic School. 99

I 5. Pythagoras and Magna Graecia . . . ,103

§ 6. From Anaxagoras to Diagoras . . 107

I 7. Sokrates, Plato, and Aristotle,.111

8. Post-Alexandrian Greece . . . 120

Chap. VI.— Freethought in Ancient Rome.

§ I. Culture Beginnings, to Ennius . . . 128

I 2. Lucretius, Cicero, Cssar . . . . 132

} 3. Decline under the Empire. 137

§ 4. The higher Pagan ethics . . . . 142

Chap. VII. — Ancient Christianity and its Opponents.

§ I. Freethought in the Gospels. 145

§ 2. The Epistles, . . . 149-

§ 3. Anti-pagan rationalism . . . 150

§ 4. Rationalistic heresy . . . . • 155

^5. Antichristian thought: its decline. i6o-

§ 6. The intellectual and moral decadence 165.

– Chap. VIII.— Freethought under Islam.

§1.. Mohammed and his Contemporaries 171

§ 2. The Influence of the Koran. 175

‘ § 3. Saracen Freethought in the East. 177-

^ 4. El-Marri and Omar Khayyam …. 185

§ 5. Arab Philosophy and Moorish Freethought. 189-

§ 6. Rationalism in later Islam . . . 192.

Chap. IX. — Christendom in the Middle Ages.

§ I. Jovinian. Aerius. Vigilantius. 195.

§ 2. Iconoclasm. Leo. Photius. Michael. 19&

§ 3. The early Paulicians . . . 197

§ 4. Claudius. Agobard. John Scotus. Berengar. Roscelin 199

§ 5. The Paulicians (Cathari) in Western Europe 202

§ 6. The crusade against Albigensian heresy 214

§7. Anti-clerical literature and new heresy. 220



author: J. M. Robertson
 Publication Date:1899

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