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Open Theology

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From Heathen to Sub-Human: A Genealogy of the Influence of the Decline of Religion on the Rise of Modern Racism

Oludamini Ogunnaike
Published Online: 2016-08-26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2016-0059


This essay traces a genealogy of the modern concept of race, and modern racism, in relationship to the intellectual shifts that led to the secularization of knowledge during the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Through an analysis of the evolution of the central concept of “The Great Chain of Being” from the Classical through Medieval and Early Modern periods, I argue that the decline of religion in the West was a necessary condition for the rise of modern conceptions of race and racism.

Keywords: Intellectual History; Race; Racism; Philosophy; Religion; Enlightenment; Secularization


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About the article

Received: 2016-02-18

Accepted: 2016-07-28

Published Online: 2016-08-26

Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 2, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2016-0059.

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©2016 Oludamini Ogunnaike. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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