Melancholy Duty

The Hume-Gibbon Attack on Christianity

  • Stephen Paul Foster

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Stephen Paul Foster
    Pages 55-91
  3. Stephen Paul Foster
    Pages 93-127
  4. Stephen Paul Foster
    Pages 129-161
  5. Stephen Paul Foster
    Pages 213-237
  6. Stephen Paul Foster
    Pages 239-264
  7. Stephen Paul Foster
    Pages 307-330
  8. Stephen Paul Foster
    Pages 331-336
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 337-362

About this book


This book studies the complementary features of the thought of David Hume and Edward Gibbon in the complete range of its confrontation with eighteenth-century Christianity. The ten chapters explore the iconoclasm of these two philosophical historians - Hume as the premier philosopher, Gibbon as the consummate historian - as they labored to `naturalize' the study of Christianity, particularly with attention to its social and political dimensions. No other work deals as comprehensively or thoroughly with the attempt of philosophical history's challenge to Christianity. Belief in miracles and the afterlife, the dimensions of fanaticism and superstition, and the nature of religious persecution were the themes that occupied Hume and Gibbon in the making of their critique of Christianity. This book makes a valuable contribution to scholarship in a number of fields including the history of ideas, religious studies, and philosophy. It will be of interest to philosophers of religion, historians of ideas, eighteenth-century intellectual historians, scholars of the Scottish Enlightenment, and Hume and Gibbon scholars.


Christianity David Hume Edward Gibbon Islam Plato Religion enlightenment enthusiasm history of ideas metaphysics morality politics scottish Enlightenment superstition

Authors and affiliations

  • Stephen Paul Foster
    • 1
  1. 1.Central Michigan UniversityMount PleasantUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1997
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-481-4933-9
  • Online ISBN 978-94-017-2235-3
  • Series Print ISSN 0066-6610
  • Buy this book on publisher's site