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date: 30 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Religious diversity is, of course, nothing new. In the West, Greek observers long ago commented on Egyptian religious beliefs and practices, and the Hebrew Bible records information about the rival religions the Israelites encountered. Surely the early Christians, who were persecuted for refusing to acknowledge the divinity of the Roman emperors, were aware of religious diversity. It did not escape notice in medieval Christendom; Aquinas, for example, cited Maimonides frequently and with great respect. But when the Reformation shattered the unity of Christendom, religious diversity became more salient for the culture of modernity because it had become a source of violent conflict at the heart of Europe. And it appears to be a permanent feature of the pluralistic liberal democracies that have come to be typical of Western Europe and North America. At the beginning of the third millennium of the common era, religious diversity seems to be increasing in importance to philosophical thought.

Keywords: religious diversity, Egyptian religious beliefs, Hebrew Bible, Roman emperors, divinity, Christendom

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