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Ghosts Of The European Enlightenment

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Chapter Summary

In 1746, in the middle of an era often glorified as having seen the triumph of reason and the demise of superstition, the French Benedictine erudite Dom Augustin Calmet (16721757) published a Dissertation on the apparitions of angels, demons, spirits, and on the revenants and vampires of Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. The way in which Calmet discussed ghosts and apparitions represents a particular moment in the emergence of the modern Christian sense of what is possible and impossible, and participates in early Enlightenment developments in the history of Christianity and Christian theology, psychology, epistemology, and historiography. Between the 1710s and the 1770s, with a peak around 17301735, Central Europe was affected by epidemic waves of vampirism, in which embodied revenants were reported to cause troubles and deaths.

Keywords: Christian theology; Dom Augustin Calmet; European enlightenment; Ghosts; vampire



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