Enlightenment and Religion: Ideas and Practices in Local and Trans-European Perspective

Interdisciplinary conference

University of Copenhagen
6-7 December 2018

Keynote speakers:

  • Professor Ann Thomson (Florence)

  • Professor Ulrike Gleixner (Wolfenbüttel)

Read the program here

Escaping Criticism (Pere Borrell del Caso, 1874)

Traditionally the Age of Enlightenment is seen as the cradle of secularization, a period in which disenchantment, religious skepticism, and rationalism was substituted for religious orthodoxy. The Enlightenment was thus supposed to put the ancient régime of early modern Europe on the path towards modern secular societies. Recent scholarship, however, has challenged this linear and one-dimensional narrative of Enlightenment and secularization. Religious life was at once in opposition to and a thriving force in the processes of modernization. This has given rise to novel questions and revised narratives of the secularization process, recognizing affinities between Christian and Enlightenment thought as well as religious antecedents of secular concepts, ideas and behavior, even of scientific ideas.

This conference contributes to the on-going religious turn in Enlightenment studies, offering a historical perspective on the role of religion within intellectual history, jurisprudence and cultural history.

The conference is convened by Brian Kjær Olesen, Kristian Mejrup, and Juliane Engelhardt within the framework of the Centre for Modern European Studies (CEMES).