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Enlightenment and Catholicism in Europe

A Transnational History

edited by Jeffrey D. Burson and Ulrich L. Lehner

Publication Year: 2014

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.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-x

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Jeffrey D. Burson

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pp. 1-38

The paradigm of “Catholic Enlightenment” originally derives from a milieu shaped by two events: German scholarly debates stimulated by the aftermath of the Kulturkampf in the German Reich, and much later, the interest in eighteenth-century reform Catholicism stimulated...

Part: 1: Catholic Enlightenment and the Papacy

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Chapter 1: Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758)

Mario Rosa

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pp. 41-60

The biographical profile of Benedict XIV allows us to understand many aspects of the Catholic Enlightenment and its history, in the light of numerous studies of a general nature from recent decades. It is significant that these aspects initially find their place in the framework...

Part 2: Catholicism and the Siècle des Lumières in France and Savoy

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Chapter 2: Nicolas-Sylvestre Bergier (1718–1790)

Jeffrey D. Burson

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pp. 63-88

Born into relative obscurity in the diminutive town of Darney near the headwaters of the Sâone River on 31 December 1718, Nicolas-Sylvestre Bergier would ultimately climb to the summit of the Gallican Church as one of the most prolific and celebrated apologists of...

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Chapter 3: Giacinto Sigismondo Cardinal Gerdil (1718–1802)

Dries Vanysacker

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pp. 89-106

Born in Samoëns-en-Faucigny in the Haute-Savoie on 23 June 1718, the son of notary Pierre and Françoise Perrier, Gerdil received his early education at Bonneville and at Thonon, and was entrusted by his uncle, Jean Gerdil, a mathematician, to the Barnabites (Regular...

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Chapter 4: Adrien Lamourette (1742–1794)

Caroline Chopelin-Blanc

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pp. 107-124

Today, the name of Adrien Lamourette arouses little reaction. An almost forgotten figure of the past, Lamourette is, at best, known for his revolutionary commitment. This misappreciation partly explains the peremptory judgments issued against him. In his biography of Bishop...

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Chapter 5: Joseph de Maistre (1753–1821)

Carolina Armenteros

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pp. 125-144

Were it not for the French Revolution, Joseph de Maistre (1753–1821) might never have become a figure in intellectual history. Scion of a recently ennobled Savoyard family, he spent the prerevolutionary years of his life pursuing a legal career as a magistrate and senator; socializing...

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Chapter 6: Hugues-Félicité Robert de Lamennais (1782–1854)

Carolina Armenteros

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pp. 145-164

Few thinkers have had as memorable an intellectual and political trajectory as Hugues-Félicité Robert de Lamennais (1782–1854). Tirelessly prolific and unwaveringly provocative, this was the firebrand who started his writing career as an ultramontane royalist and ended...

Part 3: Catholic Enlightenment in the Holy Roman Empire

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Chapter 7: Benedict Stattler (1728–1797)

Ulrich L. Lehner

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pp. 167-190

Born in Kötzting in the Bavarian Forest on 30 January 1728, Benedict Stattler first attended the school of the Benedictines in the nearby abbey of Niederaltaich before entering the Society of Jesus. From 1747 to 1751, he studied philosophy and mathematics in Ingolstadt. He became...

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Chapter 8: Beda Mayr (1742–1794)

Ulrich L. Lehner

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pp. 191-206

In the German-speaking lands of the eighteenth century, it was the Benedictines who spearheaded the dissemination of Enlightenment ideas (Lehner 2011). One of the most intriguing figures among these enlightened Benedictines was Beda Mayr (1742–1794), because he was...

Part 4: Catholicism, Enlightenment, and Habsburg Europe

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Chapter 9: Franz Stephan Rautenstrauch (1734–1785)

Thomas Wallnig

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pp. 209-226

Within the master narratives of the “Catholic Enlightenment” as well as within the relevant handbooks, Franz Stephan Rautenstrauch (1734–1785), abbot of Brˇevnov-Broumov, is usually referred to as the powerful Josephist reformer of the theological university curricula...

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Chapter 10: Johann Pezzl (1756–1823)

Ritchie Robertson

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pp. 227-246

Johann Pezzl was born in Mallersdorf, near Straubing in southern Bavaria, on 30 November 1756. The son of a baker, he was educated at the Lyzeum in Freising and in September 1775 began a novitiate in the Benedictine monastery of Oberalteich (Höschel 2006, 2007). He...

Part 5: Varieties of Italian Catholic Enlightenment

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Chapter 11: Lodovico Antonio Muratori (1672–1750)

Paola Vismara

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pp. 249-268

Lodovico Antonio Muratori was one of the most influential cultural figures in Italy in the first half of the eighteenth century. His nephew, Gianfrancesco Soli Muratori, wrote a very informative, although celebratory, biography of him. Today, after about two and a half centuries...

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Chapter 12: Antonio Genovesi (1713–1769)

Niccolò Guasti

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pp. 269-288

The eldest of four brothers, Antonio Genovesi was born on 1 November 1713 at Castiglione, a little village near Salerno in the Kingdom of Naples, to a landowning family of modest means (Venturi 1962, 43–44, 47–83; Zambelli 1972, 797–860; Perna 1999). Antonio’s father...

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Chapter 13: Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718–1799)

Massimo Mazzotti

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pp. 289-306

Maria Gaetana Agnesi was born in Milan, then the capital of a Duchy under Austrian rule, on 16 May 1718. She was the daughter of Pietro Agnesi (1690–1752), the scion of a family of wealthy merchants who traded in luxury textiles. At the age of five, Maria Gaetana was already...

Part 6: Catholicism, Enlightenment, and the Iberian States

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Chapter 14: Benito Jerónimo Feijoo y Montenegro (1676–1764)

Francisco Sánchez-Blanco

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pp. 309-326

In the little village of Casdemiro in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, far from the royal court and the main universities of Spain, Benito Jerónimo Feijoo y Montenegro was born in 1676 as the son of a family that belonged to the rural gentry. Though the first-born of ten...

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Chapter 15: Josep Climent i Avinent (1706–1781)

Andrea J. Smidt

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pp. 327-350

Born in Castelló de la Plana on 11 March 1706 during the Spanish War of Succession, Josep Climent i Avinent was raised by his mother alone, because his father died of malaria just before he was born. Having begun his education in the grammar schools of Castelló...

Part 7: Transnational Trajectories: The Intersection of Irish, French, Italian, and Habsburg Developments

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Chapter 16: Ruggiero Boscovich (1711–1787)

Jonathan A. Wright

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pp. 353-370

In 1807, a decidedly positive assessment of Ruggiero Boscovich’s life and works appeared in the pages of the London-based Annual Register. Looking back over the Jesuit’s extraordinary scientific career, the author had no qualms about describing Boscovich as “an eminent...

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Chapter 17: Luke Joseph Hooke (1714–1796)

Thomas O’Connor

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pp. 371-388

The European Catholic periphery played a crucial role in the Catholic Enlightenment in at least two ways. First, it was on the fringes—in Ireland, Scotland, and England—that the central Enlightenment value of religious toleration found concrete application in agitation to...

Part 8: Catholicism in Protestant Territorial-Dynastic States: Scottish and English Enlightenment Variations

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Chapter 18: Andrew Michael Ramsay (1686–1743)

Gabriel Glickman

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pp. 391-410

Andrew Michael Ramsay worked to strike the discourse of the Catholic Enlightenment into the lives of the international Jacobite diaspora, the libraries of the British recusant communities, and the consciousness of a roll call of European thinkers outside his church...

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Chapter 19: Alexander Geddes (1737–1802)

Mark Goldie

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pp. 411-430

Alexander Geddes pressed the Catholic Enlightenment to its limits, and beyond. He appalled conservative contemporaries in three domains: scriptural, ecclesiastical, and political. Yet although he took his positions to extremes, he reflected several characteristic strands of late...

Part 9: The Polish Catholic Enlightenment

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Chapter 20: Stanisław Konarski (1700–1772)

Jerzy Lukowski

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pp. 433-454

Hieronim Konarski was known invariably by the first name of Stanisław, which he received when he entered the Order of Poor Clerics Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools (commonly known as the Piarists). He was born on 30 September 1700, at Żarczyce...

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Chapter 21: Hugo Kołłątaj (1750–1812)

Anna Łysiak-Ła˛tkowska

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pp. 455-472

Hugo Kołła˛taj was born in 1750 in Dederkały Wielkie, Volhynia, into a semiprosperous noble family. He had a particularly close relationship with his mother, Marianna Mierzyńska. Kołłątaj began his school education at the age of seven in a Jesuit school in Pińczów...


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pp. 473-474


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pp. 475-482

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780268075958
E-ISBN-10: 0268075956
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268022402
Print-ISBN-10: 0268022402

Page Count: 448
Illustrations: NA
Publication Year: 2014