Glory, Jest and Riddle
Religious Thought in the Enlightenment
This item is a print on demand title and will be dispatched in 1-3 weeks.
Paperback / softback
Publisher: SCM Press
Number of Pages: 270
Width: 14 cm
Height: 21.6 cm
The eighteenth-century Enlightenment in Western Europe was a time in which everyday life was still dominated by religion. Religion was the context in which life was lived from cradle to grave, scientific innovations were judged against its truth and it claimed allegiance from all levels of society. It was also a powerful political force, and the church dominated education. Religion impinged on people's lives whether they wished it or not. So investigation of religious thought in the Enlightenment goes to the very heart of what the Enlightenment was. The aim of this new text book is to situate Enlightenment ideas in context, to show the concerns which gave rise to them and to point out their consequences - which were far-reaching and tied to practical concerns. After two chapters which give a historical account of the period the focus turns to the main figures -Descartes, Pascal, Rousseau and Kant - along with considerations of the rise of deism and the shift from scepticism to atheism. There is also an account of the impact that science began to have on religion. Today the Enlightenment is seen not only in positive terms, as the emergence of humanity from darkness and an important step forward, but also negatively, as bearing the seeds of many of the ills of the modern world. In particular, theologians dissatisfied with the liberal theology which followed the Enlightenment have argued that true Christian theology must side-step, or go back on, Enlightenment thought. The argument is likely to go on for some time, but at least this book will help it to continue with a greater degree of understanding than has often been shown so far. James Byrne is Senior Lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies at St Mary's University College, Strawberry Hill.