The 'new view' of Adam Smith in context

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    The so-called ‘new view’ of Adam Smith that emphasizes his religious context is one of many attempts by historians of economics and other intellectual historians to rescue Smith from various causes into which he has been recruited. This paper discuses the ‘new view’, including why and when it arose, and some of its antecedents. The ‘new view’ is actually a very old view, and the most common reading of Smith’s work in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The paper then responds to Colin Heydt’s recent attempt to rebut the new view, concluding his target is ill-defined and largely misunderstood, and his arguments are weak.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)118-131
    Number of pages14
    JournalHistory of Economics Review
    Issue number1
    Early online date2018
    Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2019


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