The Enlightenment and religion

The myths of modernity

By S. Barnett

The Enlightenment and religion

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6741-9
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: January 2004
  • BIC Category: Humanities / European history, Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, HISTORY / Europe / General, HISTORY / Modern / 18th Century, c 1500 onwards to present day, European history, History & Archaeology


This publication offers a critical survey of religious change and its causes in 18th-century Europe. Focusing on Enlightenment Italy, France and England, the text illustrates how the canonical view of 18th-century religious change has in reality been constructed upon scant evidence and assumption


Preface: The Enlightenment and modernity The rationale of this book The structure of this book 1. The myth of Enlightenment deism The myth of the deist movement The deist myth and modern historians The myth and the historical record The myth and the construction of modernity Historians, religion and the historical record The origins of Enlightenment anticlericalism John Toland, Pierre Bayle and the problem of influence Enlightenment from within or without Christianity? The elite and the written record Scaremongering, public opinion and the construction of the deist scare 3. The English deist movement: a case study in the construction of a myth Post-restoration context. Deists and dissent confused John Toland and Christianity not mysterious Early modern politico-religious propagandists and modern historians Dissent and Enlightenment 4. France: the revolt of democratic Christianity and the rise of public opinion Bourbons, Huguenots and Jansenists The nouvelles ecclesiastiques and Bourbon miscalculation The revolt of the 1750s Popular victory against the Jesuits and the call for toleration The final decline of the absolutist dream 5. Italy: Roman 'tyranny' and radical Catholic opposition Jansenism and Catholic Enlightenment Anti-curial polemic and its context Regalism and Jansenism The temporal imperative: Roman theology and politics fused Radical Jansenism 1770s-1790s 6. The 'public sphere' and the hidden life of ideas The hidden life of ideas Public opinion and the top-down model of intellectual change Anachronism and toleration Appendix - Indicative bibliography of Protestant thought on natural religion Selected bibliography


S.J. Barnett is Subject Leader in History of Ideas, University of Kingston-Upon-Thames

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