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Introduction: The Many Faces Of The Catholic Enlightenment

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Chapter Summary

After examining the term Catholic Enlightenment and its history, this essay argues that the conceptualization of a uniform Enlightenment has been transformed into a multitude of Enlightenments. The essay outlines the specific leitmotifs of the Catholic Enlightenment. In the last two decades, however, &t;Enlightenment bashing&t; has &t;developed into something of an intellectual blood-sport&t; that has lost academic integrity. The programmatic ideas were based on a common anthropology that stemmed from the Judeo-Christian tradition. Two of its essential components were the belief in an ultimate goal of human life and belief in human reason. The focus of this Companion is restricted to the development of the Catholic Enlightenment in the predominantly Catholic countries of Europe.

Keywords: Catholic Enlightenment; Christian; Enlightenment bashing; Europe

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