Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 September 2021
As the present volume demonstrates, atheism has a long history that spans multiple countries and eras, but even more than that, the history of atheism itself has a history. The goal of this chapter is to offer a look at how historians and other scholars over time have tried to tell the story of atheism. Because of space limitations, this cannot approach a comprehensive study of works on the history of atheism. Rather, I focus specifically on those works that discuss the history of atheism on a large scale, across many centuries and multiple countries.
This chapter highlights some of the key issues in writing the history of atheism, and the various ways these might be addressed. To draw out these issues, I have divided histories of atheism into two main schools: those writing from an atheist or secular perspective and those writing from a Christian or theological perspective.
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