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Some New World

Myths of Supernatural Belief in a Secular Age

Author(s): Peter Harrison

ISBN: 9781009477222
Publication Date: 18/4/24
Pages: 488
Format: Hardback
Regular price £35.00 GBP
Regular price Sale price £35.00 GBP

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In his famous argument against miracles, David Hume gets to the heart of the modern problem of supernatural belief. 'We are apt', says Hume, 'to imagine ourselves transported into some new world; where the whole form of nature is disjointed, and every element performs its operation in a different manner, from what it does at present.' This encapsulates, observes Peter Harrison, the disjuncture between contemporary Western culture and medieval societies. In the Middle Ages, people saw the hand of God at work everywhere. Indeed, many suppose that 'belief in the supernatural' is likewise fundamental nowadays to religious commitment. But dichotomising between 'naturalism' and 'supernaturalism' is actually a relatively recent phenomenon, just as the notion of 'belief' emerged historically late. In this masterful contribution to intellectual history, the author overturns crucial misconceptions - 'myths' - about secular modernity, challenging common misunderstandings of the past even as he reinvigorates religious thinking in the present.