The Natural History of Religion (1757)

Hume, David. A Dissertation on the Passions and The Natural History of Religion, edited by Tom L. Beauchamp, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2007.

From the publisher:

In this volume, Tom Beauchamp presents two essays from Four Dissertations (1757), the last philosophical work written by Hume, which was subsequently revised by the philosopher in the remaining years of his life. While the bulk of A Dissertation on the Passions was extracted from passages in A Treatise of Human Nature, The Natural History of Religion was an original work when published in 1757, as well as the only major work devoted exclusively to the subject of religion that Hume published in his lifetime. Together with Hume’s earlier work on religious topics, this essay drew considerable philosophical commentary from his contemporaries.

The last edition of the two works in this volume seen through the press by Hume himself appeared in 1772. It provides the copy-text for this critical edition. The editor’s primarily historical Introduction discusses the genesis, revision, and reception of these two dissertations, which went into ten editions at the author’s hand. It will appeal to scholars across many disciplines.


Online edition