Liberty in the Things of God: The Christian Origins of Religious Freedom
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From one of the leading historians of Christianity comes this sweeping reassessment of religious freedom, from Tertullian to John Locke In the ancient world Christian apologists wrote in defense of their right to practice their faith in the cities of the Roman Empire. They argued that religious faith is an inward disposition of the mind and heart and cannot be coerced by external force, laying a foundation on which later generations would build. Chronicling the history of the struggle for religious freedom from the early Christian movement through the seventeenth century, Robert Louis Wilken shows that the origins of religious freedom and liberty of conscience are religious, not political. They took form before the Enlightenment through the labors of men and women of faith who believed there could be no justice in society without liberty in the things of God. This provocative book, drawing on writings from the early Church as well as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, reminds us of how "the meditations of the past were fitted to affairs of a later day."
Robert Louis Wilken is William R. Kenan Professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Virginia. His previous books include "The Christians as the Romans Saw Them "and" The Land Called Holy: Palestine in Christian History and Thought, "both available in paperback from Yale University Press. ý