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The Secular Enlightenment$
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Margaret C. Jacob

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161327

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161327.001.0001

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Berlin and Vienna

Berlin and Vienna

(p.157) 6 Berlin and Vienna
The Secular Enlightenment

Margaret C. Jacob

Princeton University Press

This epilogue argues that the meaning of the Enlightenment resides in political structures and personal transformations that emerged in the course of the eighteenth century. These are most visible in the lives and ideas found in its last quarter. Since the late 1680s into the 1790s, all sorts of people tried to break with tradition and find alternatives to absolutism in church and state. By 1800, space and time on earth were filled by fewer miracles, saints, and prophecies than had been the case in 1700. Ultimately, the eighteenth-century philosophes, despite their disagreements, shared a universal distrust of organized religion and the priests who enforced it. Indeed, the century ended with revolutions that focused minds on making new institutions, new laws, new hopes and dreams.

Keywords:   Enlightenment, political structures, absolutism, eighteenth-century philosophes, organized religion, revolutions, secular Enlightenment

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