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About the Author

Alec Ryrie was born in London. He studied History and Theology at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford and is now Professor of the History of Christianity at Durham University. A specialist on the Reformation, he is the author of 'The Sorcerer's Tale: Faith and Fraud in Tudor England', the prize-winning 'Being Protestant in Reformation Britain', and is the co-editor of the Journal of Ecclesiastical History.


Praise for Unbelievers

'Unbelievers covers much ground in a short space with deep erudition and considerable wit. The history of doubt is still in its relatively early stages. This is an important and convincing contribution to it.' Spectator

'Highlights the dynamic role that emotions have played in the very human tendency to disbelieve religious claims ... Those with an interest in the history of religion will be treated to a new perspective on the old opposition between believers and nonbelievers' Library Journal

'Ryrie's contention that its power and effectiveness derive as much from its emotional impact as its rational argumentation makes considerable sense to me ... what Ryrie's engaging book suggests is that the battle over God is really a battle about a certain sort of emotional literacy. Giles Fraser, Unherd.com

'In Unbelievers we encounter heart-wrenching expressions of faith and its absence with nuanced attention to words and modulations of emotions. We find preachers, female writers, dramatists, poets and essayists who struggled daily with a religion that demanded faith ... An arresting consideration of how their voices shaped what came after them. Deep insights are leavened with characteristic wit and humour, making this book a crucial read for anyone thinking about religion in our time.' Bruce Gordon, author of Calvin

'With wit and remarkable breadth of learning, Ryrie addresses an issue that touches us all.' John O'Malley, author of Vatican I

'How has unbelief come to dominate so many Western societies? The usual account invokes the advance of science and rational knowledge. Ryrie's alternative, in which emotions are the driving force, offers new and interesting insights into our past and present.' Charles Taylor, author of A Secular Age

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