A Short History of Secularism (I.B.Tauris Short Histories)

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9781845115777: A Short History of Secularism (I.B.Tauris Short Histories)
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What does it mean to call Western society 'secular'? What is 'secularism'? And how should we understand the concept of 'secularism' in international relations, particularly the clash between radical Islam and the West? The Latin term from which the word 'secular' is derived - 'saeculum' - means 'generation' or 'age', and came to mean that which belongs to this life, to the here and now, in this world. It is widely used as a shorthand for the ideology which shapes contemporary society without reference to the divine.However, according to Graeme Smith, 'secularism' represents a great deal more. He offers a radical reappraisal of the notion of secularism and its history, beginning with the Greeks and proceeding to modernity and the contemporary period. The assumption that the West is becoming increasingly secular is often unquestioned. By contrast, Dr Smith discerns a different kind of society: one informed by a historical legacy which makes sense only when it is appreciated that it is religious. Secularism was born of Christianity. Daringly - and very originally - Smith argues that it is impossible to understand the idea of the secular without appreciating that, at root, it is Christian. "A Short History of Secularism" will fundamentally reshape discussions of western culture, religion and politics. It will have strong appeal to students of religion, political philosophy, and the history of ideas.

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'Graeme Smith presents a fresh perspective on increasingly topical question: what is secularism? Smith argues that secular thought is heavily dependent on Christian assumptions - so much so that liberal morality, for example, is hard to understand except as a Christian inheritance. Even those who reject his strong claim that modern western ethics is bound to be Christian -as I do myself - can learn much from the alternative view of secularisation which Smith develops.' --John Gray, Professor of European Thought, London School of Economics

'It is widely recognized that organized religion has much less political power and imaginative weight in Britain today than it held a century or so ago and that in that sense we live in a much more secular society. Few of us have much idea how to reconcile that recognition with the fact that most Britons still stalwartly identify themselves as believing Christians, even if they seldom or never go to church. Graeme Smith's thoughtful book is a bold and intriguing attempt to explain why each is true and interpret how we have reached this outcome and what it means for the continuing presence of Christianity in the lives of even the robustly incredulous.' --John Dunn, Professor of Political Theory, University of Cambridge

'Graeme Smith's book offers fascinating insights into Western secularism. His engagement with key theorists and theories gives the reader a clear and accessible map of secularism as this has been understood in Western thinking. On his map he helpfully charts the chief patterns of religious engagement and disengagement within Western society. There are important chapters here on Christian identity, popular religion in the medieval period, Victorian Christianity and contemporary religious belief. Smith writes well and lucidly about current debates in sociology of religion regarding the secularization thesis. He also discusses topics that are of great interest to modern political theorists. A Short History of Secularism will be mandatory reading for both undergraduate and postgraduate students in religion and politics who seek an understanding of the concept and theories of secularism in the West.' - Angie Pears, Senior Lecturer in Religion, Theology and Culture, Oxford Brookes University 'Graeme Smith's book is an interesting, clearly written, and original reappraisal of received opinion on secularity and secularization in the modern West.' --Jeffrey L Stout, Professor of Religion, Princeton University

About the Author:

Graeme Smith is Dean of Non-Residential Training at St Michael's College, Llandaff and associate lecturer at the University of Cardiff. He is executive editor of the international journal Political Theology, and has published widely in the field of religion and politics.

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Book Description I.B.Tauris Co. Ltd., United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. What does it mean to call Western society secular ? What is secularism ? And how should we understand the concept of secularism in international relations, particularly the clash between radical Islam and the West? The Latin term from which the word secular is derived - saeculum - means generation or age , and came to mean that which belongs to this life, to the here and now, in this world. It is widely used as a shorthand for the ideology which shapes contemporary society without reference to the divine.However, according to Graeme Smith, secularism represents a great deal more. He offers a radical reappraisal of the notion of secularism and its history, beginning with the Greeks and proceeding to modernity and the contemporary period. The assumption that the West is becoming increasingly secular is often unquestioned. By contrast, Dr Smith discerns a different kind of society: one informed by a historical legacy which makes sense only when it is appreciated that it is religious. Secularism was born of Christianity. Daringly - and very originally - Smith argues that it is impossible to understand the idea of the secular without appreciating that, at root, it is Christian. A Short History of Secularism will fundamentally reshape discussions of western culture, religion and politics. It will have strong appeal to students of religion, political philosophy, and the history of ideas. Seller Inventory # AA79781845115777

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Book Description I.B.Tauris Co. Ltd., United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. What does it mean to call Western society secular ? What is secularism ? And how should we understand the concept of secularism in international relations, particularly the clash between radical Islam and the West? The Latin term from which the word secular is derived - saeculum - means generation or age , and came to mean that which belongs to this life, to the here and now, in this world. It is widely used as a shorthand for the ideology which shapes contemporary society without reference to the divine.However, according to Graeme Smith, secularism represents a great deal more. He offers a radical reappraisal of the notion of secularism and its history, beginning with the Greeks and proceeding to modernity and the contemporary period. The assumption that the West is becoming increasingly secular is often unquestioned. By contrast, Dr Smith discerns a different kind of society: one informed by a historical legacy which makes sense only when it is appreciated that it is religious. Secularism was born of Christianity. Daringly - and very originally - Smith argues that it is impossible to understand the idea of the secular without appreciating that, at root, it is Christian. A Short History of Secularism will fundamentally reshape discussions of western culture, religion and politics. It will have strong appeal to students of religion, political philosophy, and the history of ideas. Seller Inventory # AA79781845115777

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Book Description I. B. Tauris, 2007. Condition: New. 2007. Paperback. Secularism was born of Christianity. This book argues that it is impossible to understand the idea of the secular without appreciating that, at root, it is Christian. It reshapes discussions of western culture, religion and politics. It is suitable for students of religion, political philosophy, and the history of ideas. Num Pages: 224 pages. BIC Classification: HBTB; HPS; HRQA. Category: (UU) Undergraduate. Dimension: 216 x 141 x 20. Weight in Grams: 300. . . . . . . Seller Inventory # V9781845115777

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Book Description I. B. Tauris. Condition: New. 2007. Paperback. Secularism was born of Christianity. This book argues that it is impossible to understand the idea of the secular without appreciating that, at root, it is Christian. It reshapes discussions of western culture, religion and politics. It is suitable for students of religion, political philosophy, and the history of ideas. Num Pages: 224 pages. BIC Classification: HBTB; HPS; HRQA. Category: (UU) Undergraduate. Dimension: 216 x 141 x 20. Weight in Grams: 300. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Seller Inventory # V9781845115777

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