That Big Idea

Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept
by Brent Nongbri
Yale University Press, 2015
(275 pages, $25.00, paperback)

reviewed by Graeme Hunter

It may surprise readers of Touchstone to learn that Jesus had no religion. Neither the practices of the Jews, which it was his custom to observe, nor the Way, by which he perfected those practices, was religious. In fact, there was no religion anywhere to be found prior to the Renaissance. Medieval Christians before and after the Great Schism were without religion, as were indeed all peoples of all continents of the globe. This, at least, is the exciting way of putting the thesis of Brent Nongbri's interesting book. The details are a little less exciting, . . .

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Graeme Hunter is a contributing editor to Touchstone and Research Professor of Philosophy at Dominican University College in Ottawa. He is the author of Radical Protestantism in Spinoza's Thought (Ashgate).


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