The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Did Christians Invent Religious Liberty?

A podcast on religious tolerance in early Christian thought

|The Volokh Conspiracy |


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.