Why Study the writings of Edward Gibbon with Jeremy Gregory
From Simon Barnett
Edward Gibbon (1737-94) published his most famous work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in 1776. Famous or notorious in presenting the rise of Christianity as the cause of the decline of the Roman Empire, few have noticed that in that work he established a new, Enlightenment methodology for the study of the history of religion / church history. Professor Jeremy Gregory examines the significance of Gibbon’s work for historical methodology – and argues that chapters 15 and 16 of the Decline and Fall should be read by everyone who approaches church history. Indeed, is sees Gibbon as the ‘patron saint’ of modern church historians.