In recent years, historians have rediscovered the religious dimensions of the Enlightenment. This volume offers a thorough reappraisal of the so-called “Catholic Enlightenment” as a transnational Enlightenment movement. This Catholic Enlightenment was at once ultramontane and conciliarist, sometimes moderate but often surprisingly radical, with participants active throughout Europe in universities, seminaries, salons, and the periodical press.
In Enlightenment and Catholicism in Europe: A Transnational History, the contributors, primarily European scholars, provide intellectual biographies of twenty Catholic Enlightenment figures across eighteenth-century Europe, many of them little known in English-language scholarship on the Enlightenment and pre-revolutionary eras. These figures represent not only familiar French intellectuals of the Catholic Enlightenment but also Iberian, Italian, English, Polish, and German thinkers. The essays focus on the intellectual and cultural factors influencing the lives and works of their subjects, revealing the often global networks of intellectual sociability and reading that united them both to the Catholic Enlightenment and to eighteenth-century policies and projects. The volume, whose purpose is to advance the understanding of a transnational “Catholic Enlightenment,” will be a reliable reference for historians, theologians, and scholars working in religious studies.
Contributors: Carolina Armenteros, Jeffrey D. Burson, Caroline Chopelin-Blanc, Gabriel Glickman, Mark Goldie, Niccolò Guasti, Ulrich L. Lehner, Jerzy Lukowski, Anna Lysiak-Latkowska, Massimo Mazzotti, Thomas O’Connor, Ritchie Robertson, Mario Rosa, Francisco Sánchez-Blanco, Andrea J. Smidt, Dries Vanysacker, Paola Vismara, Thomas Wallnig, Jonathan A. Wright
“An undoubted landmark in Enlightenment studies, this is certainly the best volume that we have in English on the ‘Catholic Enlightenment.’” — Jonathan I. Israel, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
“The nature of the interaction between established religion and Europe’s Enlightenment remains deeply problematical. This notably well-planned collection of studies of well-known and less familiar figures brings the Catholic Enlightenment squarely into focus. Nuanced, informative, and wide-ranging, it provides the best introduction currently available to a central topic in eighteenth-century European history.” — Hamish Scott, University of Glasgow
“This is a compelling collection on an important subject. Its transnational and biographical approach helps one to see eighteenth-century Catholicism and the Enlightenment itself in fresh and interesting ways.” — Darrin M. McMahon, Florida State University