Gibbon and the Clergy: Private Virtues, Public Vices

  title={Gibbon and the Clergy: Private Virtues, Public Vices},
  author={Myron C. Noonkester},
  journal={Harvard Theological Review},
  pages={399 - 414}
When the inaugural volume of Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was published in February 1776, the English public greeted it with a mixture of veneration and anxiety. Many agreed that it was a classic work, but some critics, mostly clergy, questioned its treatment of Christianity. Scholars have approached the ensuing controversy from several angles: Gibbon's reticence reduced it, theologically speaking, to a sampling of doctrinal viewpoints; considered as a literary… 
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