5-6 March 2020, Room 25|
Institute of Philosophy, UJ
Lecture and workshop by Prof. Winfried Schröder (Univ. of Marburg)
5 Mar 2020, 17-18:30, Lecture: "The origins of atheism in the early modern period and the Enlightenment."6 Mar 2020, 11-12:30, Workshop: "Symbolum sapientiae." Abstracts and registration on the event details page.
Time & Location
5-6 March 2020, Room 25
Institute of Philosophy, UJ, Grodzka 52, 33-332 Kraków, Poland
About the Event
Lecture, 5 Mar 2020, 17-18:30, Abstract:
The origins of atheism in the early modern period and the Enlightenment
The denial of an omnipotent, omniscient and perfectly good creator of the universe, i. e. atheism as a philosophical stance (in demarcation from heterodoxy, anticlericalism, anti-Christian views or blasphemy) raises several issues which historians of philosophy have not yet unanimously resolved. Opinions over its origin in the history of European thought diverge widely. According to influential scholars (Minois; Whitmarsh) there has been a continuous tradition of philosophical atheism since classical antiquity. Others (Buckley; Hyman) regard atheism as a much younger phenomenon, which appeared only in the heyday of the Enlightenment with Diderot and d’Holbach. An equally controversial question concerns the factors that contributed to the emergence of atheism. There is no consensus on the role played by deism (the attack on the Bible or revelation in general), scepticism / pyrrhonism, the rise of natural science (which made theism explanatorily superfluous), or a political agenda (which aimed at abolishing Christianity and its institutions understood as pillars of repressive political dominance esp. of the ancien régime).
These questions will be addressed on the basis of 17th- and 18th-century sources which were discovered and made available during the last decades (see the edition series by McKenna, Mori/Mothu and Schröder) but have largely been neglected by contemporary anglophone scholars (with the notable exception of Jonathan Israel): the corpus of the so-called littérature clandestine, texts distributed illegally in the ‚literary underground‘ of the 17th and 18th century (McKenna/Mothu; Paganini). These include the earliest atheist treatise known, the anonymous Theophrastus redivivus , the writings of the first identifiable atheist, Matthias Knutzen , the flagships of the Radical Enlightenment, the two treatises Traité des trois imposteurs and De tribus impostoribus (both late 17th c.) as well as attacks on theism employing sophisticated epistemological and proof-theoretical arguments (e.g. in the anonymous Symbolum sapientiae).
Workshop, 6 Mar 2020, 11-12:30:
The anonymous late 17th-century Symbolum Sapientiae is one of the most elaborate philosophical treatises of the littérature clandestine, “perhaps the intellectually most formidable text” of early atheism (Israel, Enlightenment contested, p. 168). Most importantly, the Symbolum displays a specimen of a variety of atheism hitherto unknown. Drawing upon arguments deriving from the skeptical (pyrrhonian) tradition, its author rejects theism – instead of dogmatically denying the existence of God – on the basis of careful methodological reflection. The relevant sections of the text will be provided in Latin and English.
Bibliography for the events
Anonymus: Theophrastus redivivus, ed. Guido Canziani / Gianni Paganini. Florence 1981.
Anonymus: Symbolum sapientiae, ed. Guido Canziani / Winfried Schröder / Francisco Socas. Milan 2000.
Anonymus [Johann Joachim Müller]: De tribus impostoribus, ed. W. Schröder. Stuttgart 1999.
Anonymus: Traité des trois imposteurs, ed. Winfried Schröder. Hamburg ²1994.
Bloch, Olivier (ed.): Le matérialisme du XVIIIe siècle et la littérature clandestine. Paris 1982.
Buckley, Michael J.: At the origins of modern atheism . ²New Haven et al. 2010.
Hyman, Gavin: A short history of atheism. London 2010.
Hyman, Gavin: Atheism in modern history, in: Michael Martin (ed.): The Cambridge companion to atheism. Cambridge 2007, 27-46.
Israel, Jonathan: Radical Enlightenment. Philosophy and the making of modernity, 1650-1750. Oxford 2001.
Israel, Jonathan: Enlightenment contested. Philosophy, modernity, and the emancipation of man, 1670-1752. Oxford 2006.
Knutzen, Matthias: Schriften und Materialien, ed. Winfried Schröder. Stuttgart 2010.
McKenna, Antony (ed.): Libre pensée et littérature clandestine. Paris / Oxford 1993ff.
McKenna, Antony / Mothu, Alain (eds.): La philosophie clandestine à l'âge classique. Oxford / Paris 1996.
Minois, Georges: Histoire de l'athéisme. Les incroyants dans le monde occidental des origines à nos jours. Paris 1998.
Mori, Gianluca: L’ateismo dei moderni. Filosofia e negazione di Dio da Spinoza a d’Holbach. Rom: Carocci 2016.
Mori, Gianluca / Mothu, Alain (eds.): Philosophes sans dieu. Textes athées clandestins du XVIIIe siècle. Paris 2005.
Paganini, Gianni: Introduzione alle filosofie clandestine. Roma / Bari 2008.
Schröder, Winfried: Ursprünge des Atheismus . ²Stuttgart 2012.
Schröder, Winfried (ed.): Philosophische Clandestina der deutschen Aufklärung. Stuttgart 1994ff.
Whitmarsh, Tim: Battling the gods: the struggle against religion in ancient Greece and Rome. London 2015.
Winiarczyk, Marek: Diagoras of Melos: a contribution to the history of Ancient Atheism; translated from Polish by Witold Zbirohowski-Kościa. Berlin / Boston 2016.
Anonymus: Cymbalum mundi sive Symbolum sapientiae, ed. Guido Canziani, Winfried Schröder and Francisco Socas, Milan, Franco Angeli, 2000.
Anonymus:Symbolum Sapientiae (Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, cod. 11539). La clave de la sabiduría (Un tratado clandestino del siglo XVII). Edición bilingüe de Francisco Socas, Huelva, Universidad de Huelva, 2015 [Exemplaria classica, 6].
By submitting this form, I give consent for my personal data to be processed in matters pertaining to: registration for the purposes of participation in the seminar of the research group Enlightenment and Religion at the Institute of Philosophy of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, in accordance with the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 with regard to the processing of personal data and in accordance with the information clause attached to my consent.
In accordance with Article 13 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data (…) (“General Regulations”) the Jagiellonian University informs that, the administrator of your personal data is the Jagiellonian University 24 Gołębia Street, 31-007 Krakow. A Data Protection Officer has been appointed by the Jagiellonian University who is based at 24 Gołębia Street, 31-007 Krakow, room nr 5. The Officer can be contacted via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone – 12 663 12 25. Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of the seminar on the basis of registration. Providing personal data is voluntary. However, it is obligatory for your registration to be valid. The recipients of your personal data will be the team of the research project Between Secularization and Reform (grant no. UMO-2018/31/B/HS1/02050). Your personal data might be made available to third parties who are other participants of the seminar meetings. Your personal data will be retained for the duration of the project. You have the right to: access the data and demand its rectification, deletion, processing restrictions, transfer the data, object to the processing of data, withdraw your consent at any time in cases and under the conditions stipulated in “General Regulations”. The withdrawal of consent shall result in the inability to participate in the events of the project. The withdrawal of consent may be sent by email to email@example.com or in person at the Institute of Philosophy, Grodzka 52, 31-044 Kraków, Room 26. You have the right to file a complaint with The President, Personal Data Protection Office (UODO) if you consider the processing of your personal data to be in violation of the provisions of the “General Regulations”.