Philosophy:Prometheus Books

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Short description: American publishing company
Prometheus Books
Parent companyRowman & Littlefield
FounderPaul Kurtz
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationAmherst, New York
Key peopleJonathan Kurtz, President
Nonfiction topicsSkeptical literature, atheism
ImprintsHumanity Books (for academic works in the humanities)

Prometheus Books was[dubious ] a publishing company founded in August 1969 by the philosopher Paul Kurtz (who was also the founder of the Council for Secular Humanism, Center for Inquiry, and co-founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry).[1][2] The publisher's name was derived from Prometheus, the Titan from Greek mythology who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to man. This act is often used as a metaphor for bringing knowledge or enlightenment.[3][4]

Prometheus Books published a range of books, focusing on topics such as science, freethought, secularism, humanism, and skepticism. It published in the "atheism" category since its founding in 1969, and is considered the "grandfather" of atheist publishing in America.[5]

Their headquarters was located in Amherst, New York, and they published worldwide. Jonathan Kurtz was an executive editor of Prometheus.[6] Rowman & Littlefield acquired Prometheus Books in 2019.[7]

The publisher has roughly 1,700 books currently in print,[8] and publishes approximately 95–100 books per year.[9] Since its founding, Prometheus Books has published more than 2,500 books.[10]


Prometheus Books obtained the bulk of the books and manuscripts of Humanities Press International in 1998.[11][12] It has been building and expanding this into a scholarly imprint named Humanity Books. This imprint publishes academic works across a wide spectrum of the humanities and is now distributed by the academic division of Rowman & Littlefield.[13]

In March 2005, Prometheus Books launched the science fiction and fantasy imprint Pyr.[14] In October 2012 it launched the crime fiction imprint Seventh Street Books.[15] In 2018, it sold both imprints.[16]


Prometheus has been involved in two "major libel lawsuits."[17] In 1992 Uri Geller sued Victor J. Stenger and Prometheus Books for libel over his book Physics and Psychics.[18] The suit was dismissed and Geller was required to pay more than $20,000 in costs to the defendant.[19] Geller also sued Prometheus for publishing The Truth About Uri Geller [20] by James Randi, a book that he said was defamatory.[21][22]

Notable authors published

Some notable authors and books published by Prometheus include:

Steve Allen

  • Meeting of Minds : The Complete Scripts, With Illustrations, of the Amazingly Successful PBS-TV Series [23]
  • Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion and Morality [24]
  • Dumbth: The Lost Art of Thinking With 101 Ways to Reason Better & Improve Your Mind [25]

Molefi Asante

Isaac Asimov

  • Election Day 2084: A Science Fiction Anthology on the Politics of the Future [26]
  • The Roving Mind [27]
  • The Tyrannosaurus Prescription: And 100 Other Essays [28]
  • Past, Present and Future[29]

Jeremy Bentham

Rob Boston

  • Why the Religious Right Is Wrong About Separation of Church and State [30]
  • Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do [31]

Ludwig Feuerbach

Antony Flew

R. Barri Flowers

  • Masters of True Crime[32]

Martin Gardner

  • The New Age: Notes of a Fringe Watcher[33]

Guy P. Harrison

  • 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian[34]

William R. Harwood

  • Mythology's Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus[35]

Sidney Hook

  • Sidney Hook on Pragmatism, Democracy, and Freedom: The Essential Essays [36]
  • Sidney Hook: Philosopher of Democracy and Humanism [37]

Julian Huxley

S. T. Joshi

Dr. Jack Kevorkian

  • Prescription: Medicide, the Goodness of Planned Death[38]

John Maynard Keynes

Philip J. Klass

Leon Lederman

John W. Loftus

  • The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is True [39]

Joe Nickell

  • The Science of Ghosts: Searching for Spirits of the Dead[40]
  • The Science of Miracles: Investigating the Incredible[41]

Friedrich Nietzsche

Mario Perniola

Robert M. Price

  • Deconstructing Jesus [42]
  • The Da Vinci Fraud: Why the Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction [43]
  • The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond The Grave [44]

James Randi

David Ricardo

Michael Ruse[45]

Nathan Salmon

George H. Smith

  • Atheism: The Case Against God[46]

John Steinbeck IV

Victor Stenger

  • God and the Atom [47]

Tom Toles

Ibn Warraq

  • Why I Am Not a Muslim [48]
  • Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays[49]
  • Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said's Orientalism[50]

Robert Zubrin

Book series

  • Contemporary Issues in Philosophy Series
  • Great Books in Philosophy
  • Great Minds Series
  • Thomas Taylor Series

Partnerships and sale

In 2013 Prometheus Books partnered with Random House in an effort to increase sales and distribution.[51]

In 2019, it was acquired by Rowman & Littlefield,[52][53] and Random House ceased sales and distribution of its titles as of June 30, 2019.[54] Its building was sold in early 2019 for over $1 Million.[55]


  1. Weber, Bruce (2012-10-23). "Paul Kurtz, Humanist and Philosopher, Dead at 86" (in en-US). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  2. Oppenheimer, Mark (2010-10-01). "Rift at Humanist Center Reveals a Deeper Division" (in en-US). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  3. Pyne, Stephen J. (2016-06-05). "Fire in the mind: changing understandings of fire in Western civilization". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 371 (1696): 20150166. doi:10.1098/rstb.2015.0166. ISSN 0962-8436. PMID 27216523. 
  4. "Prometheus Books". 
  5. Winston, Kimberly (April 12, 2013). "Atheists, the Next Generation: Unbelief Moves Further into the Mainstream". 
  6. Frazier, Kendrick (May–June 2020). "Promethus Unbound: Publisher of Skeptic, Freethought Books Enters a New Phase". Skeptical Inquirer (Amherst, New York: Center for Inquiry) 44 (3): 6–9. 
  7. "Rowman & Littlefield Buys Prometheus Books". 
  8. "Rowman & Littlefield Acquires Prometheus Books | Rowman & Littlefield". 
  9. "Working at Prometheus Books" (in en).,27.htm. 
  10. "Prometheus Books: Accepting Submissions" (in en-US). Authors Publish. 
  11. "Prometheus Books: Spreading Freethought Worldwide". International Humanist and Ethical Union. 2003-11-01. 
  13. Somers, Erin (2019-06-19). "People, Etc." (in en-US). 
  14. Milliot, Jim (November 12, 2018). "Prometheus Sells Fiction Imprints to Start Publishing". 
  15. Patrick, Diane (June 1, 2017). "BookExpo 2017: Seventh Street Books Marks Fifth Anniversary". 
  16. locusmag (2018-11-12). "Prometheus Sells Pyr Imprint" (in en-US). 
  17. Kreidler, Marc (2019-02-04). "History of CSICOP | Skeptical Inquirer" (in en-US). 
  18. Stenger, Victor J., 1935-2014. (1990). Physics and psychics : the search for a world beyond the senses. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 087975575X. OCLC 22207643. 
  19. Geller, Uri. "Uri Geller Libel Suit Dismissed". Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. "Self proclaimed "psychic" Uri Geller had to dismiss a multi-million dollar libel suit and has to pay over $20,000 in sanctions in an action he brought against skeptical book publisher Prometheus Books of Amherst, New York." 
  20. Randi, James. (1982). The truth about Uri Geller. Randi, James. (Rev. ed.). Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 0879751991. OCLC 9164994. 
  21. Kurtz, Paul (2010-10-29) (in en). Exuberant Skepticism. Prometheus Books. p. 193. ISBN 9781615929702. "prometheus books lawsuit uri geller." 
  22. "CSICOP and the Skeptics: An Overview by George P. Hansen". 
  23. Allen, Steve, 1921-2000. (1989). Meeting of minds : the complete scripts, with illustrations, of the amazingly successful PBS-TV series. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 0879755504. OCLC 20802027. 
  24. Allen, Steve, 1921-2000. (1990). Steve Allen on the Bible, religion, & morality. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 0879756381. OCLC 21876648. 
  25. Allen, Steve, 1921-2000. (1998). Dumbth : the lost art of thinking : with 101 ways to reason better & improve your mind. Allen, Steve, 1921-2000.. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1573922374. OCLC 39556411. 
  26. Election day 2084 : a science fiction anthology on the politics of the future. Asimov, Isaac, 1920-1992., Greenberg, Martin Harry.. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. 1984. ISBN 0879752580. OCLC 11351873. 
  27. Asimov, Isaac, 1920-1992. (1997). The roving mind (New ed.). Amherst, New York. ISBN 1573921815. OCLC 37695729. 
  28. Asimov, Isaac, 1920-1992 (1989). The Tyrannosaurus prescription and 100 other essays. Buffalo, New York. ISBN 0879755407. OCLC 19672853. 
  29. Asimov, Isaac, 1920-1992. (1987). Past, present, and future. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 0879753935. OCLC 15108192. 
  30. Boston, Rob, 1962- (2003). Why the religious right is wrong about separation of church & state (2nd ed.). Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1591021146. OCLC 51460712. 
  31. Boston, Rob, 1962- (2014). Taking liberties : why religious freedom doesn't give you the right to tell other people what to do. Amherst, New York. ISBN 9781616149116. OCLC 854613911. 
  32. Ian Walkley (July 31, 2012). Masters of True Crime by R. Barri Flowers (Editor). 
  33. Gardner, Martin (1988). The New Age: Notes of a Fringe Watcher. New York: Prometheus Books. ISBN 0879756446. , at Internet Archive
  34. Harrison, Guy P. (2013). 50 simple questions for every Christian. Amherst, New York. ISBN 9781616147273. OCLC 818827981. 
  35. Harwood, William R. (1992). Mythology's Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus. Amherst, New York. ISBN 9780879757427. OCLC 25713535. 
  36. Hook, Sidney, 1902-1989. (2002). Sidney Hook on pragmatism, democracy, and freedom : the essential essays. Talisse, Robert B., Tempio, Robert, 1975-. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1591020220. OCLC 50559672. 
  37. Sidney Hook : philosopher of democracy and humanism. Kurtz, Paul, 1925-2012.. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. 1983. ISBN 0879751916. OCLC 9576292. 
  38. Kevorkian, Jack (1991). Prescription: Medicide, the Goodness of Planned Death. Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-0-87975-872-1. 
  39. Loftus, John W. (2013). The outsider test for faith : how to know which religion is true. Amherst, New York. ISBN 9781616147372. OCLC 818827984. 
  40. Nickell, Joe. (2012). The science of ghosts : searching for spirits of the dead. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 9781616145859. OCLC 764387236. 
  41. Nickell, Joe. (2013). The science of miracles : investigating the incredible. Amherst, NY. ISBN 9781616147419. OCLC 818738031. 
  42. Price, Robert M., 1954- (2000). Deconstructing Jesus. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1573927589. OCLC 42413414. 
  43. Price, Robert M., 1954- (2005). The Da Vinci fraud : why the truth is stranger than fiction. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1591023483. OCLC 60419877. 
  44. The empty tomb : Jesus beyond the grave. Price, Robert M., 1954-, Lowder, Jeffery Jay.. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. 2005. ISBN 159102286X. OCLC 57344117. 
  46. Smith, George H., 1949- (2016). Atheism : the case against God. Amherst, New York. ISBN 9781633881976. OCLC 930446791. 
  47. Stenger, Victor J., 1935-2014. (2013). God and the atom. Amherst, New York. ISBN 9781616147532. OCLC 818827986. 
  48. Ibn Warraq. (1995). Why I am not a Muslim. Mazal Holocaust Collection.. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 0879759844. OCLC 32088699. 
  49. Ibn Warraq. (2010). Virgins, what virgins? : and other essays. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 9781616141707. OCLC 466343479. 
  50. Ibn Warraq. (2007). Defending the West : a critique of Edward Said's Orientalism. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. ISBN 9781591024842. OCLC 137306010. 
  51. Mehta, Hemant (15 January 2013). "Prometheus Books is Partnering Up with Random House Publisher Services". Pantheos Press. 
  52. "Amherst's Prometheus Books sold to Maryland-based publisher" (in en-us). 2019-06-26. 
  53. "Rowman & Littlefield Buys Prometheus Books" (in en). 
  54. "Rowman & Littlefield Acquires Prometheus Books | Rowman & Littlefield". 
  55. "Amherst building that houses Prometheus Books sells for $1.1 million" (in en-us). 2019-03-11. 

External links