Robert Louis Wilken is William R. Kenan Professor Emeritus of the History of Christianity at the University of Virginia. His many books include The First Thousand Years, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought, and The Christians as the Romans Saw Them.
Cogent . . . [Wilken] contends that the principle of religious freedom-that is, that religious believers may worship as they wish-arose chiefly from Christian sources, not secular or skeptical ones. -Barton Swaim, Wall Street Journal A brief work of superb scholarship. -Barton Swaim, Wall Street Journal ( Best Political Books of 2019 ) Wilken's revisionist account...deals with an old problem in a new way. -John Gascoigne, Journal of Religious History Short, clear, and helpful...The book's added value comes in the way in which it connects these Reformation arguments with those made by Christians of the Roman Empire -Nick Spencer, Church Times Listed on Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles List for 2019 Wilken argues convincingly that the concept of religious freedom originated with Christian thinkers, challenging one of the most revered paradigms in Western intellectual history. In the process, he also injects a corrective twist into current debates about secularist hegemony. -Carlos Eire, author of Reformations A remarkable work of daring and vision, moving from early Christianity to the eighteenth century with confidence and authority, from a distinguished historian of Christian history with a sharp eye for key intellectual developments. -Bruce Gordon, Yale University A superb book of ecumenical and contemporary significance. -Timothy George, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University In this original and erudite work, leading Patristic scholar Robert Wilken proves that the ancient Christian teachings of Tertullian and Lactantius on freedom of conscience and religious exercise remained axiomatic for Western champions of religious freedom-Catholic, Protestant, and Enlightenment Liberal alike. -John Witte, Jr., Emory University A vibrant picture of where leading ideas about religious freedom came from and how they emerged. -Robert P. George, Princeton University