God in the Enlightenment

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William J. Bulman, Robert G. Ingram
Oxford University Press, 2016 - History - 322 pages
We have long been taught that the Enlightenment was an attempt to free the world from the clutches of Christian civilization and make it safe for philosophy. The lesson has been well learned. In today's culture wars, both liberals and their conservative enemies, inside and outside the academy, rest their claims about the present on the notion that the Enlightenment was a secularist movement of philosophically driven emancipation. Historians have had doubts about the accuracy of this portrait for some time, but they have never managed to furnish a viable alternative to it-for themselves, for scholars interested in matters of church and state, or for the public at large.

In this book, William J. Bulman and Robert G. Ingram bring together recent scholarship from distinguished experts in history, theology, and literature to make clear that God not only survived the Enlightenment but thrived within it as well. The Enlightenment was not a radical break from the past in which Europeans jettisoned their intellectual and institutional inheritance. It was, to be sure, a moment of great change, but one in which the characteristic convictions and traditions of the Renaissance and Reformation were perpetuated to the point of transformation, in the wake of the Wars of Religion and during the early phases of globalization. The Enlightenment's primary imperatives were not freedom and irreligion but peace and prosperity. As a result, Enlightenment could be Christian, communitarian, or authoritarian as easily as it could be atheistic, individualistic, or libertarian.

Honing in on the intellectual crisis of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries while moving from Spinoza to Kant and from India to Peru, God in the Enlightenment takes a prism to the age of lights.


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Enlightenment for the Culture Wars
Hobbes and Public Religion
2 Reason and Utility in French Religious Apologetics
3 Bernabé Cobos Recreation of an Authentic America in Colonial Peru
Libertine Readings of Hinduism 16501730
5 The Platonic Captivity of Primitive Christianity and the Enlightening of Augustine
6 Gods Word in the Dutch Republic
Christianity Beyond Metaphysics
8 The Reformation Origins of the Enlightenments God
The Divine Attributes and the Question of Categories in British Discourse
10 Medicine Theology and the Problem of Germanys Pietist Ecstatics
11 Richard Bentleys Paradise Lost and the Ghost of Spinoza
The Varieties of Enlightened Experience

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About the author (2016)

William J. Bulman is Assistant Professor of History at Lehigh University. He previously held postdoctoral fellowships at Vanderbilt and Yale.

Robert G. Ingram is Associate Professor of History at Ohio University and Director of the George Washington Forum on American Ideas, Politics, and Institutions.

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