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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter demonstrates that any lingering notion of the middle ages as an ‘Age of Faith’ and unquestioning credulity must be laid to rest. There was considerable theological and ‘scientific’ challenge to almost all the core tenets of Christianity (with the exception of belief in the existence of God himself, though even that was available for discussion) from within the religion itself, most notably from the twelfth century onwards. Heresies also rejected belief in various aspects, such as the Eucharist, Christ’s resurrection, and so forth. There was very little explicit discourse around ‘atheism’ or disbelief, and it was not treated as a formal crime; however, pastoral works and theological discussions make it clear that failure of belief was a constant presence in medieval faith.

Keywords: Atheism, scepticism, doubt, unbelief, pastoral instruction, theology

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