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Mar 2, 2010


In 1776, two chapters of Edward Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall' on the spread of Christianity; they aroused such controversy that it is still supposed that he wrote his history as an attack on religion. In this lecture, Professor Pocock argues to the contrary that the two chapters were prematurely written, and that the controversy is to be understood in the setting of the Church of England's need to reconcile a civil religion with the belief in Christian revelation.