We are unable to display your institutional affiliation without JavaScript turned on.
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Find using OpenURL

Rent from DeepDyve Rent from DeepDyve

Taming “The Tyranny of Priests”: Hume’s Advocacy of Religious Establishments

From: Journal of the History of Ideas
Volume 73, Number 2, April 2012
pp. 273-293 | 10.1353/jhi.2012.0014



This paper aims to explain why David Hume supported the religious establishment despite his anti-clericalism. First, the Church of England could be regarded as a happy medium between two forms of false religion: superstition and enthusiasm. Second, Hume’s concern over “the tyranny of priests” led him to advocate a spiritual establishment bound to secular authority. Hume’s Erastianism does not contradict his opinion that civil magistrates should maintain impartiality in religious matters: both views reflect his thoroughly secular attitude towards religious institutions. Despite alleged differences between Hume and Adam Smith, they shared much common ground in their approach to religious institutions.

You must be logged in through an institution that subscribes to this journal or book to access the full text.


Shibboleth authentication is only available to registered institutions.

Project MUSE

For subscribing associations only.