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Susan Richter publishes new book about atheism

Sep 05, 2018

The volume is called "Verfolgter Unglaube. Atheismus und gesellschaftliche Exklusion in historischer Perspektive" and was edited by Cluster associate member Prof. Susan Richter. It was published with Campus Verlag and explores the history of persecution and social exclusion of atheists and disbelievers in Europe and Asia.

People who deny the existence of a god have been subjected to persecution throughout Europe’s history. Here, Atheism was above all a confrontation with Christian doctrine. In the face of growing worldwide persecution of non-religious people in the present day, this volume casts a glance at societal interactions with atheism - from the Middle Ages to today.

This volume follows questions such as: Where are the roots of the defamation of “godless people”? Was there any theological or legal basis for condemning and punishing “deniers of God”? What forms of social exclusion were carried out? How did the persons concerned react to the processes, the burning of their writings and the withdrawal of their legal capacity? And how did societies outside Europe deal with disbelief?

"Verfolgter Unglaube. Atheismus und gesellschaftliche Exklusion in historischer Perspektive" also features a chapter by Prof. Hans Martin Krämer (Institute for Japanology, Heidelberg University) about “Confucianism in early modern Japan between atheist orthodoxy and persecuted unbelief”. The book grew out of a conference on “Verfolgter Unglaube. Gesellschaftliche Exklusionsgründe von Nichtreligiösen“ under the direction of Susan Richter at the Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg (IWH) that took place in January 2017.

Campus Verlag published the book in early September 2018.

Prof. Dr. Susan Richter is Acting Professor and Chair of Early Modern Times at the Department of History at Heidelberg University and was Deputy Speaker of Research Area A at the Cluster “Asia and Europe”.


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