'"Little Religion" but "Admirable Morals": Christianity and Honor in Aphra Behn's Oroonoko'

Pacheco, Anita (2013). '"Little Religion" but "Admirable Morals": Christianity and Honor in Aphra Behn's Oroonoko'. Modern Philology, 111(2) pp. 253–280.

URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/673098

Abstract

This is a ground-breaking study of the role of freethinking in Aphra Behn's novel Oroonoko, which presents a convincing case for the influence on the text of the work of the French philosopher Pierre Bayle. Bayle was the first writer to argue in print that there was no reason that a society of atheists could not be as moral as a society of Christians, a claim he supplemented with the argument that honour provided a more reliable foundation for morality and social stability than religion did. The article shows that these ideas are central to Behn's novel and explores their political resonance in 1688.

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