Did Christians Invent Religious Liberty?

Most people today think of religious liberty and religious tolerance as Enlightenment ideals–a triumph of reason over Christian obscurantism. Some have always challenged that view, arguing that religious tolerance is in fact a strong theme in Christian thought, going back to the earliest Christians. In a recent episode of our Legal Spirits podcast series, my colleague Marc DeGirolami and I interview Duke classicist Jed Atkins about Christians in late Rome (Augustine and Tertullian, for example) and their thoughts on religious tolerance. It was a great conversation, if I say so myself, especially when we explored the similarities between the intellectual world of late antiquity and our own. Here’s the link.

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