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8-9 October, 2020


Webinar at Microsoft Teams

Lecture by Prof. Jeffrey D. Burson and Workshop

8 October, 16-18 CET: Lecture: "The Theological Revolution of Enlightenment" by Prof. Jeffrey D. Burson. 9 October, 13-20 CET: Workshop: "Between Secularisation and Reform: Religion in the Enlightenment"

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Lecture by Prof. Jeffrey D. Burson and Workshop
Lecture by Prof. Jeffrey D. Burson and Workshop

Time & Location

8-9 October, 2020

Webinar at Microsoft Teams

About the Event

Lecture by Prof. Jeffrey D. Burson and Workshop


The 17th- and 18th-century attempts at a reform of religion can be traced back to as different movements and milieus as the followers of Spinoza, deists, neologians and rationalists, including Immanuel Kant, and the Catholic enlighteners. What these diverse reformers share is a programme of rationalising religious faith, manifest, for instance, in new interpretations of Christian Scriptures: as a book which contains a universal moral doctrine justifiable within the limits of reason alone or even a book which encourages the identification of reason and the divine. But how should we understand these attempts at reforming religion by rationalising its core contents? In light of what we know about religions nowadays, is it even a plausible enterprise? Are the arguments of the rationalists with regard to religion philosophically coherent or do they consist in eclectic combinations of mismatching elements? Can relations between reason and religion be construed in such a way that the former would avoid the accusation of encroaching on the domain of the latter? Can there be a thing like rational religion, given that, for many apologists and critics of religion alike, faith is not compatible with reason? We intend to discuss these and related questions in a workshop following the plenary lecture by Prof. Jeffrey D. Burson, which deals with the themes discussed in his most recent book, Culture of Enlightening. Abbé Claude Yvon and the Entangled Emergence of the Enlightenment (Notre Dame University Press 2019).


Please note that all times are given in Central European Time (GMT +1)

8 Oct 2020 - Plenary Lecture

  • 16-18 Prof. Jeffrey D. Burson (Georgia Southern University): The Theological Revolution of Enlightenment


Among other things, the European Enlightenment has often been situated at the headwaters of secularization, and this association has, if anything, been recently strengthened by the impact of scholarship on the Radical Enlightenment.  Building upon my own work, and the perspectives of William Bulman, Richard Ingram, Charles Taylor, Jonathan Sheehan, and others, I contend that the emergence of the Enlightenment is deeply entangled with religious and theological controversies ignited by innovations in early modern natural philosophy and the fruits of European exploration, conquest, and commerce. The networks of scholarly and textual exchange associated with the Radical Enlightenment are thereby shown to have possessed religious origins, even as discourses associated by some with styles of Religious Enlightenment developed and evolved in dialog with challenges afforded by Enlightenment radicalization. In this lecture, I propose that even the secularization often associated with the Enlightenment might be profitably considered as just an unlikely outcome of a broader early modern cultural revolution in theology and religious practice.

  • 19- Potluck Dinner (online)

9 Oct 2020  - Workshop: Between Secularisation and Reform: Religion in the Enlightenment 

  • 13-13.15 Welcome and introduction
  • 13.15-14.15 Andrea Vestrucci: Luther and Kant: Engaging and Overcoming the Aporia
  • 14:30-15:30 Wojciech Kozyra: Kant and Marcionism
  • 15:30-16:30 Siesta (break)
  • 16:30-17:30 Íñigo Ongay de Felipe: The Ring of Nathan the Wise and the Distinction between Natural and Positive Theology
  • 17:45-18:45 Eveline Groot: Freedom of Religion as a Foundation for Progress: Religion in the Liberal Theory of Germaine de Staël
  • 19-20 Mark Boespflug: Locke’s Pioneering Case for the Rationality of Faith and Hume’s Critique
  • 20- Potluck Dinner (online)

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