The Religious Enlightenment: Protestants, Jews, and Catholics from London to Vienna

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9780691135021: The Religious Enlightenment: Protestants, Jews, and Catholics from London to Vienna

In intellectual and political culture today, the Enlightenment is routinely celebrated as the starting point of modernity and secular rationalism, or demonized as the source of a godless liberalism in conflict with religious faith. In The Religious Enlightenment, David Sorkin alters our understanding by showing that the Enlightenment, at its heart, was religious in nature. Sorkin examines the lives and ideas of influential Protestant, Jewish, and Catholic theologians of the Enlightenment, such as William Warburton in England, Moses Mendelssohn in Prussia, and Adrien Lamourette in France, among others. He demonstrates that, in the century before the French Revolution, the major religions of Europe gave rise to movements of renewal and reform that championed such hallmark Enlightenment ideas as reasonableness and natural religion, toleration and natural law. Calvinist enlightened orthodoxy, Jewish Haskalah, and reform Catholicism, to name but three such movements, were influential participants in the eighteenth century's burgeoning public sphere and promoted a new ideal of church-state relations. Sorkin shows how they pioneered a religious Enlightenment that embraced the new science of Copernicus and Newton and the philosophy of Descartes, Locke, and Christian Wolff, uniting reason and revelation to renew faith and piety. This book reveals how Enlightenment theologians refashioned belief as a solution to the dogmatism and intolerance of previous centuries. Read it and you will never view the Enlightenment the same way.

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Recensione:

"Why can't religion and the Enlightenment be friends? What's that, you say? They were friends? Why didn't anyone tell us? Well, David Sorkin has. A professor of history and Jewish studies at the University of Wisconsin, he argues in a new study that religion and the Enlightenment were even more than friends. . . . The French Revolution and its Napoleonic aftermath not only destroyed the religious Enlightenment in practice; it also created, as Dr. Sorkin notes, a 'religious-secular dichotomy' that condemned this side of the Enlightenment to historical obscurity. Rescuing it from that obscurity, he insists, is of much more than academic interest." --Peter Steinfels, New York Times

"This is a book about religious ideas of the 18th century. Although scholars tend to see the Enlightenment as antireligious and secular, Sorkin persuasively argues that this was not the whole story. Instead, all of Europe's major religions produced movements of religious reform compatible with the Enlightenment. . . . [S]orkin makes his case that there were individuals and groups within organized religion who welcomed the Enlightenment and tried to accommodate religion within it." --P. Grendler, Choice

"Sorkin makes very interesting discoveries about the parallel developments within different religions in the eighteenth century." --Larry Wolff, American Historical Review

"Sorkin has written a powerful, imaginative, and path-breaking study that fundamentally challenges reigning academic conceptions of the Enlightenment, the birth of modern Europe, and the path of modern European history. . . . The author's argument for a more moderate view of the birth and path of modernity across the European continent--one that grew out of dialogue and toleration and not out of religious or ethnic conflict--is compelling and persuasive." --Scott Ury, Religious Studies Review

"This dense, erudite and necessary book certainly establishes that religious reform was a central--and precarious--feature of the Enlightenment. It . . . should effect a decisive shift in our understanding of that period." --Ritchie Robertson, German History

"Sorkin's study presents a valuable contribution to the ongoing reassessment of the Enlightenment. . . . The beautifully written essays display an uncommon fairness to each faith and are supported by an admirable historical erudition." --Louis Dupré, Catholic Historical Review

"Theologians and historians will both find this book useful." --Erna Oliver, Studia Historiae Ecclesisticae

"[O]ne hopes that this concise, erudite, and unprepossessing book succeeds in putting its moderate subjects where they should be: in the middle of our eighteenth-century map." --Suzanne Marchand, Cambridge Journals

"[N]ot the least among this book's achievements is the revival of discussion on the religious Enlightenment in the multiconfessional and multinational Austrian monarchy." --Grete Klingenstein, Austrian History Yearbook

"In brief, this is a deeply researched, well-written, and compelling account of the importance of religion in shaping European enlightenments." --James E. Bradley, Church History

Contenuti:

List of Illustrations xi
List of Maps xii
Preface xiii

Introduction 1
Enlightenment or Enlightenments? 3
The Religious Enlightenment 5
Reasonableness 11
Toleration 14
The Public Sphere 16
State Nexus 18
The Enlightenment Spectrum 19

Chapter One: BRANT BROUGHTON, LONDON, GLOUCESTER
William Warburton's "Heroic Moderation" 23
Natural Right and Toleration 31
History 39
Established Religion 53
Justifi cation, Philosophy, and Science 54
Secular Culture 61
Moderation in Decline 64
Conclusion 65

Chapter Two: GENEVA
Jacob Vernet's "Middle Way" 67
Theology 76
Politics 85
The Enlightenment and the Philosophes 97
Geneva Transformed 109

Chapter Three: HALLE
Siegmund Jacob Baumgarten's "Vital Knowledge" 113
"The Union with God" 128
Exegesis 136
History, Sacred and Secular 142
Natural Right and Toleration 152
Neology and the State 158

Chapter Four: BERLIN
Moses Mendelssohn's "Vital Script" 165
Intellectual Renewal: Philosophy 176
Intellectual Renewal: Exegesis 180
"Civic Ac cep tance" and "Divine Legislation" 193
"The Socrates of Berlin" 206
Haskalah and Beyond 208
Conclusion 212

Chapter Five: VIENNA- LINZ
Joseph Valentin Eybel's "Reasonable Doctrine" 215
Church Law 228
Linz and Joseph II 237
"True Devotion" 249
Revolution 254
Conclusion 258

Chapter Six: TOUL- PARIS- LYON
Adrien Lamourette's "Luminous Side of Faith" 261
Where France Differed 263
Catholicism 266
The 1780s 269
Theology 274
Revolution, 1789-91 282
Revolution, 1791-94 296
Conclusion 307

Epilogue 311
Glossary 315
Index 319

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