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H R Trevor-Roper vs. Arnold Toynbee: A post-Christian Religion and a new Messiah in an age of reconciliation?

Frederick Hale

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 26, No 1 (2005), 93-116. doi: 10.4102/ve.v26i1.214

Submitted: 02 October 2005
Published:  02 October 2005


That the twentieth century witnessed massive secularisation in Europe and certain other parts of the world is beyond dispute, as is the fact that the general phenomenon of religion and its role as a factor shaping history remain potent on a broad, international scale. There is no consensus, however, about the future place or status of Western Christian civilisation or “Christendom” in a shrinking and pluralistic world also struggling with the challenge of reconciliation. During the 1950s two controversial giants of  British historiography, Arnold Toynbee and HR Trevor-Roper clashed on this issue. Their severe differences of opinion were conditioned in part by the Cold War, general retreat of imperialism from Africa and Asia, and the growth of the economic, military, and political power of previously colonised or otherwise subjugated nations.

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Frederick Hale, University of Pretoria, South Africa



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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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