Rethinking the Enlightenment

Faith in the Age of Reason

$19.95

About this item

The Enlightenment was a complex cultural movement that radically transformed both religion and society — a movement Christians fended off when, in the name of “reason,” the Church in France was dethroned in a most bloody and utterly unreasonable way. The Enlightenment also ushered in a wave of genuine Christian inspiration and reform, however, and it opened vast new avenues for the faith to flourish. 

In this compelling and edifying book, scholar Joseph Stuart investigates this paradox, masterfully exploring the tense interaction of the Enlightenment and Christianity as two cultures, two lived realities, and two overlapping ways of life.

On page after page, you’ll see that the “Age of Reason” was more than just merciless confrontation between reason and religion. Indeed, it brought forth many Christians — including “the Enlightenment Pope,” Benedict XIV, and groups of coffee-drinking monks — who embraced both faith and reason as powerful tools for strengthening Church and society.

In other cases, culture-changing Christians such as John Wesley and St. Louis de Montfort opted simply to sidestep the Enlightenment by building up Christian culture from within — a strategy that led to the explosion of powerful evangelical movements across the world.

In Rethinking the Enlightenment, Dr. Stuart demonstrates that the three primary strategies Christians employed during the Enlightenment — conflict, engagement, and retreat — are time-tested methods that should be employed in our own anti-Christian age. Conflict without engagement is senseless; engagement without conflict is weak; and without retreat, both strategies lack wisdom. If we pursue all three today with the help of the Holy Spirit, then a tough, intellectually sophisticated, and evangelically oriented Christianity can emerge — just as it did in the tumultuous Age of the Enlightenment

 

Jared Zimmerer photo

"Stuart tussles with the metaphysical and theological pugilism of the age and provides a practical, evangelical blueprint of how the Church has successfully or unsuccessfully engaged the world. A much-needed book in academia, yet just as necessary for the layman."

Jared Zimmerer
Director of the Word on Fire Institute
Mike Aquilina photo

"Joseph Stuart is a brilliant and confident voice in the new generation of Catholic historians. In these pages he presents a daring revaluation of an important moment in history — the best and worst of times. Prepare to be surprised, entertained, and edified."

Mike Aquilina
Executive Vice President, St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology
William Fahey, Ph.D. photo

" Anyone interested in the apparent war between faith and reason, order and freedom, tradition and innovation, religion and humanism... will be guided well by Joseph Stuart's 'Rethinking the Enlightenment.'"

William Fahey, Ph.D.
Fellow & President, Thomas More College of Liberal Arts
Fr. George W. Rutler photo

"The intelligence of Dr. Stuart's analysis lies in its balanced perspective which understands religion and the so-called Enlightenment not as 'either or' contenders for truth, but rather as complimentary interpreters of the fact that Christ the Living Word is the Light of the Nations."

Fr. George W. Rutler
  • Pages: 400
  • Format(s): Sale-priced ppbk, eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-622828-227
  • Product Code: 8227
  • Availability: In Stock
RatingRatingRatingRatingRating
Rethinking the Enlightenment was both fascinating and educational. The book traces faith throughout the Enlightenment, arguing that Christianity interacted with enlightenment through conflict, engagement, and retreat. The book is well-written and easy to read while being exceptionally informative about the time period. I especially appreciated the use of highly descriptive stories that provided a human perspective to the events of the time. If there was any criticism that I might have on the book, it would be that the narrative sometimes jumps to different times, but this could simply be a personal stylistic opinion. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, as it contributed to my knowledge of the subject while being entertaining to read. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
Was this review helpful to you?
Helpful
+1
Not Helpful
-0
RatingRatingRatingRatingRating
A Unique Point of View
I had the pleasure of being taught this book by Dr. Joseph Stuart himself. I genuinely really love this book and am keeping it in my own collection. As a history student, I can say with certainty that this is exactly the kind of book we should be assigned in class. I'm fine with this type of book as a textbook. It is engaging, it is narrative, it is empathetic towards these historical figures and exemplifies the struggles they faced in a way that we can understand on a spiritual level as human beings, and it offers a unique perspective on the Enlightenment that I have never been provided. I think that if you have even a little bit of interest in history or the enlightenment era or if you want to learn about the Catholic Enlightenment that was the brightest shining star of the period, you need this book. I understand this period so much better after reading it; it opened me up to fascinating people that I've never heard of. I honestly feel cheated because I didn't hear about these people long beforehand, like Maria Agnesi, a female Italian mathematician who was extremely prominent in this period, or Pope Benedict XIV who is called the "Enlightenment Pope" because he was so influential in the development of this period. I'm going to research these people more and if I do end up going to grad school, I think I've found some topics for my dissertation.
Was this review helpful to you?
Helpful
+1
Not Helpful
-0
RatingRatingRatingRatingRating
Brilliant and engaging
One of the top intellectual historians of our time, Dr. Stuart weaves the threads of Christian and enlightenment thought together masterfully yet approachably. Each fascinating page offers a compelling account that perfectly blends the interaction of people and ideas. Everyone will find something that resonates with them those stories continue to shape our society and our lives today.
Was this review helpful to you?
Helpful
+1
Not Helpful
-0
RatingRatingRatingRatingRating
Captivating and Inspiring! A fresh look at what we think we know about the Enlightenment
Readers will learn much and be inspired and entertained at the same time! Highly recommended!
Was this review helpful to you?
Helpful
+1
Not Helpful
-0
RatingRatingRatingRatingRating
A Truly Excellent History of the Enlightenment!
Dr. Stuart takes the reader on a compelling journey through the Enlightenment culture and thought. There are many facets of the Enlightenment, many of which have been minimized or forgotten. Dr. Stuart tells these stories. He explores famous Enlightenment figures such as Voltaire and Rousseau, but he also tells the stories of Pope Benedict XIV, Maria Gaetana Agnesi, and John Wesley. I had never heard of Agnesi and had only seen Wesley’s name mentioned, but their influence in the period is significant. Dr. Stuart tells their stories and those of their countries with a clarity that sent chills down my spine.
Was this review helpful to you?
Helpful
+1
Not Helpful
-0

Recommended for You …


Email address required.

A valid email address is required to complete logging in with Twitter. We'll only ask for this the first time you use Twitter login.