Religion and Politics in Enlightenment Europe
Erasmus Institute Books
Published by: University of Notre Dame Press
- ISBN: 9780268040529
- Published: November 2001
Religion and Politics in Enlightenment Europe, a collection of original essays from leading scholars, demonstrates that the collapse of the post-Reformation confessional state was more the result of religious dissent from within, much of it orthodox, than attacks of an anti-religious Enlightenment. In sharp contrast to the Reformation-era religious conflicts which tended to pit Protestant and Catholic confessions and states against each other, the eighteenth-century religious conflicts described in Religion and Politics in Enlightenment Europe took place within the various confessional establishments and states that founded and maintained them, such as Russian Orthodoxy in the East and the Anglican Establishment in England and Ireland. In the course of its analysis, Religion and Politics in Enlightenment Europe destroys the notion of any kind of privileged relationship between "religion" and political or social "reaction". This book reveals the religious roots of modern ideas of individual rights and limitations on government, as well as the imperative of political order and the need for social hierarchy. It also shows the impossibility of any purely secular treatment of eighteenth-century European political history or institutions. Based on fresh, primary research as well as a synthesis of secondary sources, Religion and Politics in Enlightenment Europe turns the familiar eighteenth century of the textbooks upside down and inside out, challenging the dominant narratives of secularization and inevitable conclusion in the French Revolution.
“In a lengthy introduction and seven essays this scholarly work asserts the seminal influence of religion on the Enlightenment in eighteenth-century Europe. The editors . . . have produced a remarkably coherent collection that should interest serious students of the Enlightenment. . . . It is a carefully crafted book and will reward thoughtful reading.” ~History: Reviews of New Books