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Europe and the Islamic WorldA History$
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John Tolan, Henry Laurens, and Gilles Veinstein

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691147055

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691147055.001.0001

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The Eighteenth Century as Turning Point

The Eighteenth Century as Turning Point

Chapter:
(p.259) Chapter 11 The Eighteenth Century as Turning Point
Source:
Europe and the Islamic World
Author(s):

John Tolan

Gilles Veinstein

Henry Laurens

, Jane Marie Todd
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691147055.003.0012

This chapter discusses the major intellectual and technological revolutions of the eighteenth century, which was driven in large part by the printed word. The dizzying pace—made possible by the printed word—at which knowledge accumulated demonstrates the essence of the Enlightenment as an effort at totalizing and deciphering that knowledge. Two distinct historical sources, moreover, provided the Enlightenment with its specific orientation. First, the European crisis of conscience in the wake of the Wars of Religion opened the way for a critique of religion, tending more in the direction of deism than of atheism. And second, the progress of the modern state tended to undermine the foundations of the old law-and-order societies.

Keywords:   printed word, eighteenth century, European exceptionalism, Enlightenment, religion, modern state

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