Idolatry and the History of Religions

Barbu, Daniel Olivier (2016). Idolatry and the History of Religions. Studi e Materiali di Storia delle Religioni, 82(2), pp. 537-570. Editrice Morcelliana SpA

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Idolatry is a key concept in the history of Western thinking about religion, as an all-encompassing category in which all religions more or less alien to the Christian tradition could be subsumed. From Late Antiquity to the Modern period, we can follow how the notion was put to work within Christian discourse to think about the religious “other. ” In fact, the word is almost ubiquitous in pre-modern debates on religion and the origins of religion. Theories on the nature and causes of “idolatry” framed much of the issue of “Religion” vs. the “religions,” and largely provided the conceptual space, in early modern Europe, in which religious anthropology would emerge. The present paper will investigate some aspects of the early modern discourse on idolatry, and its place in early modern discussions on the history of religions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


01 Faculty of Theology > Department of Protestant Theology > Institute of Jewish Studies

UniBE Contributor:

Barbu, Daniel Olivier


200 Religion > 210 Philosophy & theory of religion




Editrice Morcelliana SpA




Daniel Olivier Barbu

Date Deposited:

29 Aug 2016 10:32

Last Modified:

28 Mar 2017 10:27




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