Enlightenment and Catholicism in Europe: a Transnational History


Enlightenment and Catholicism in Europe: a Transnational History



In recent years, historians have rediscovered the religious dimensions of the Enlightenment. This volume offers a thorough reappraisal of the so-called “Catholic Enlightenment” as a transnational Enlightenment movement. This Catholic Enlightenment was at once ultramontane and conciliarist, sometimes moderate but often surprisingly radical, with participants active throughout Europe in universities, seminaries, salons, and the periodical press.

In Enlightenment and Catholicism in Europe: A Transnational History, the contributors, primarily European scholars, provide intellectual biographies of twenty Catholic Enlightenment figures across eighteenth-century Europe, many of them little known in English-language scholarship on the Enlightenment and pre-revolutionary eras. These figures represent not only familiar French intellectuals of the Catholic Enlightenment but also Iberian, Italian, English, Polish, and German thinkers. The essays focus on the intellectual and cultural factors influencing the lives and works of their subjects, revealing the often global networks of intellectual sociability and reading that united them both to the Catholic Enlightenment and to eighteenth-century policies and projects. The volume, whose purpose is to advance the understanding of a transnational “Catholic Enlightenment,” will be a reliable reference for historians, theologians, and scholars working in religious studies.



Publication Date



University of Notre Dame Press


Notre Dame, IN




Table of Contents

Introduction: Catholicism and Enlightenment, Past, Present, and Future / Jeffrey D. Burson 1

pt. 1 Catholic Enlightenment and the Papacy

1. Pope Benedict XIV (1740--1758): The Ambivalent Enlightener / Mario Rosa 41

pt. 2 Catholicism and the Siecle des Lumieres in France and Savoy

2. Nicolas-Sylvestre Bergier (1718--1790): An Enlightened Anti-Philosophe / Jeffrey D. Burson 63

3. Giacinto Sigismondo Cardinal Gerdil (1718--1802): Enlightenment as Cultural and Religious Achievement / Dries Vanysacker 89

4. Adrien Lamourette (1742--1794): The Unconventional Revolutionary and Reformer / Caroline Chopelin-Blanc 107

5. Joseph de Maistre (1753--1821): Heir of the Enlightenment, Enemy of Revolutions, and Spiritual Progressivist / Carolina Armenteros 125

6. Hugues-Felicite Robert de Lamennais (1782--1854): Lost Sheep of the Religious Enlightenment / Carolina Armenteros 145

pt. 3 Catholic Enlightenment in the Holy Roman Empire

7. Benedict Stattler (1728--1797): The Reinvention of Catholic Theology with the Help of Wolffian Metaphysics / Ulrich L. Lehner 167

8. Beda Mayr (1742--1794): Ecumenism and Dialogue with Modern Thought / Ulrich L. Lehner 191

pt. 4 Catholicism, Enlightenment, and Habsburg Europe

9. Franz Stephan Rautenstrauch (1734--1785): Church Reform for the Sake of the State / Thomas Wallnig 209

10. Johann Pezzl (1756--1823): Enlightenment in the Satirical Mode / Ritchie Robertson 227

pt. 5 Varieties of Italian Catholic Enlightenment

11. Lodovico Antonio Muratori (1672--1750): Enlightenment in a Tridentine Mode Paola Vismara 249

12. Antonio Genovesi (1713--1769): Reform through Commerce and Renewed Natural Law / Niccolo Guasti 269

13. Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718--1799): Science and Mysticism / Massimo Mazzotti 289

pt. 6 Catholicism, Enlightenment, and the Iberian States

14. Benito Jeronimo Feijoo y Montenegro (1676--1764): Benedictine and Skeptic Enlightener / Francisco Sanchez-Blanco 309

15. Josep Climent i Avinent (1706--1781): Enlightened Catholic, Civic Humanist, Seditionist / Andrea J. Smidt 327

pt. 7 Transnational Trajectories: The Intersection of Irish, French, Italian, and Habsburg Developments

16. Ruggiero Boscovich (1711--1787): Jesuit Science in an Enlightenment Context / Jonathan A. Wright 353

17. Luke Joseph Hooke (1714--1796): Theological Tolerance in an Apologetic Mold / Thomas O'Connor 371

pt. 8 Catholicism in Protestant Territorial-Dynastic States: Scottish and English Enlightenment Variations

18. Andrew Michael Ramsay (1686--1743): Catholic Freethinking and Enlightened Mysticism / Gabriel Glickman

19. Alexander Geddes (1737--1802): Biblical Criticism, Ecclesiastical Democracy, and Jacobinism / Mark Goldie

pt. 9 The Polish Catholic Enlightenment

20. Stanislaw Konarski (1700--1772): A Polish Machiavelli? / Jerzy Lukowski 433

21. Hugo Kollataj (1750--1812): The Revolutionary Priest / Anna Lysiak-Latkowska 455

List of Contributors 473

Index of Names 475

Enlightenment and Catholicism in Europe: a Transnational History