The Rationalization 

      of Religion

      in Early Modern Europe

Research project at the Institute of Philosophy

of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków

Polish National Science Centre Grant No. 


Project Description

The Period of Realisation 2019–2023

The aim of the project is to investigate the process of the rationalization of religion, in particular the Christian one, which occurred in the late 17th century and the Enlightenment, from two perspectives: first, as one of the possible factors conducive to secularization, manifest on the level of both individual lives and political institutions; and, second, as an attempt to reform the existing religious institutions, especially within the Protestant world. By tracking the influence of the ´Spinozist´ ideas that promoted the rationalization of religion not only on the critics of the revealed religion, but primarily on radical religious reformers (e.g. ‘Christians without the church’ in the Netherlands or the German religious rationalists), the project aims to show that the radical vs. moderate Enlightenment distinction, reintroduced into the intellectual history of the ‘Age of Reason’ within (roughly) past two decades might reflect the current debates on the political role of religion in societies rather than the great ideological diversity of the epoch. We also investigate the consequences of the rationalization of religion, by focusing on such questions as whether the early-modern religious movements that emphasized mystical experience, such as the New Church and Quietism, were an opposing force to the rationalization of religion, or rather its implication. Combining individual research with bimonthly lectures and workshops by invited experts at the Institute of Philosophy of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, the project is also intended at furthering international collaboration between scholars of the Enlightenment. 

News and Events

Invited Lectures and Workshops

The cycle of events for the year 2021/2022 is now finished. Thank you to all the participants.

Research News

Calls for papers and information about recent publications by our associated researchers

History of the Project

This project builds on research undertaken in two earlier National Science Centre funded projects at the Institute of Philosophy of the Jagiellonian University. The first of them, Radicals and Conservatives in the Enlightenment (2013-2016, with Principal Investigator Prof. Justyna Miklaszewska and co-researcher Dr. Anna Tomaszewska) hosted a series of lectures by some of the leading scholars of Enlightenment, including Prof. Margaret Jacob, Prof. Jonathan Israel, Prof. Steven Nadler, Prof. James Schmidt and Prof. Jens Timmermann. The second project, Enlightenment and Secularism (2015-2018, with Principal Investigator Dr. Anna Tomaszewska and co-researchers Dr. Damian Barnat and Dr. Hasse Hämäläinen), featured two international colloquia, the lecturers of which included Prof. Jocelyn Maclure, Prof. Ian Carter, Prof. Ulrich Lehner, and Prof. Sorin Baiasu among other prominent scholars. Both projects resulted in a number of publications in English and Polish, the newest of which are listed under Research News.

Jagiellonian University, Institute of Philosophy, Grodzka 52, 31-044 Kraków, Poland

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