The Christian Roots of Individualism

  • Maureen P. Heath

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Maureen P. Heath
    Pages 1-20
  3. Maureen P. Heath
    Pages 21-41
  4. Maureen P. Heath
    Pages 43-68
  5. Maureen P. Heath
    Pages 95-117
  6. Maureen P. Heath
    Pages 119-147
  7. Maureen P. Heath
    Pages 149-179
  8. Maureen P. Heath
    Pages 181-212
  9. Maureen P. Heath
    Pages 213-242
  10. Maureen P. Heath
    Pages 243-270
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 271-294

About this book


The modern West has made the focus on individuality, individual freedom, and self-identity central to its self-definition, and these concepts have been crucially shaped by Christianity. This book surveys how the birth of the Christian worldview affected the evolution of individualism in Western culture as a cultural meme.  Applying a biological metaphor and Richard Dawkins’ definition of a meme, this work argues the advent of individualism was not a sudden innovation of the Renaissance or the Enlightenment, but a long evolution with characteristic traits.  This evolution can be mapped using profiles of individuals in different historical eras who contributed to the modern notion of individualism.  Utilizing excerpts from original works from Augustine to Nietzsche, a compelling narrative arises from the slow but steady evolution of the modern self.  The central argument is that Christianity, with its characteristic inwardness, was fundamental in the development of a sense of self as it affirmed the importance of the everyday man and everyday life.



Authors and affiliations

  • Maureen P. Heath
    • 1
  1. 1.FairfaxUSA

Bibliographic information