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Religion and the Rise of Modern Culture

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Religion and the Rise of Modern Culture describes and analyzes changing attitudes toward religion during three stages of modern European culture: the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Romantic period. Louis Dupré is an expert guide to the complex historical and intellectual relation between religion and modern culture.


Dupré begins by tracing the weakening of the Christian synthesis. At the end of the Middle Ages intellectual attitudes toward religion began to change. Theology, once the dominant science that had integrated all others, lost its commanding position. After the French Revolution, religion once again played a role in intellectual life, but not as the dominant force. Religion became transformed by intellectual and moral principles conceived independently of faith. Dupré explores this new situation in three areas: the literature of Romanticism (illustrated by Goethe, Schiller, and Hölderlin); idealist philosophy (Schelling); and theology itself (Schleiermacher and Kierkegaard). Dupré argues that contemporary religion has not yet met the challenge presented by Romantic thought.


“This beautifully crafted essay by Louis Dupré makes an original contribution to our understanding of the emergence and development of modernity, which dispensing with religion as a governing discourse and form of life, nonetheless attempts to find a place for it in a world sufficiently depleted of meaning and value as to require reenchantment. It supplements Dupré’s two magisterial texts on the topic of the modernity covering the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods, and whets the appetite for the forthcoming volume on Romanticism. Deep learning is worn lightly in this marvelously readable book.” —Cyril O'Regan, University of Notre Dame


“A stunning synthesis of Dupré's magisterial intellectual history of modernity and his distinctive and important philosophy of religion.” —David Tracy, emeritus, The University of Chicago Divinity School


“Louis Dupre's literate and sweeping review of the fate of religious faith in modern culture will help contemporary readers, who share his closing yearning for ways in which ‘transcendence can be recognized again,’ to appreciate why many of us find a postmodern climate—for better or worse—more conducive to fulfilling that desire. For his dramatic depictions of modernity teach us how different is the culture in which we now live.” —David Burrell, CSC, Hesburgh Professor Emeritus in Philosophy and Theology, University of Notre Dame

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Louis Dupré’s reflections on the development of history towards modernity are a model of careful scholarship and insight. His short book is a distillation and refinement of many years of careful research and serious writing on questions of the philosophy of religion and cultural history. . . . Dupré gives us a comprehensive, serene, and learned discussion of a variety of themes which can only deepen and enrich our understanding of the large complex of questions connected with the themes of modernity, culture, and religion.” —The Thomist


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780268025946
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2008
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 136
  • Sales rank: 841,840
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Louis Dupré is T. Lawrason Riggs Professor Emeritus in Religious Studies at Yale University. He has published numerous books and articles, including The Other Dimension and Transcendent Selfhood.

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Table of Contents

Preface     vii
Introduction: Religion and the Rise of Modern Culture     1
The Form of Modernity     5
Nature and Grace     17
The Crisis of the Enlightenment     29
On the Intellectual Sources of Modern Atheism     41
God and the Poetry of the New Age: Classicism and Romanticism in Germany     57
Schelling and the Revival of Mythology     75
The Rebirth of Theology: Schleiermacher and Kierkegaard     95
Conclusion: Religion at the End of the Modern Age     111
Index of Names     119

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