Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The term “secularism” stands as one of the most multivalent phrases in the contemporary global political lexicon. Mutually irreconcilable definitions of the term exist side by side in popular, journalistic, and even scholarly discourse. In an effort to reduce the confusion, this chapter suggests that the term “political secularism” be employed in contradistinction to “secularity,” “secular humanism,” or usages that equate secularism with atheism. It is argued that the fundamental principles that undergird political secularism have a lengthy and complex genealogy in Christian political philosophy, be it of the Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, or Reformation periods. These ideational taproots inform and tincture the modern political concept of secularism in a variety of intriguing ways. They have also resulted in contemporary political secular projects that are at once divergent from one another, in flux, and constantly evolving.

Keywords: political secularism, atheism, Marsilius of Padua, Martin Luther, John Locke, separation of church and state, secular humanism

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.