Religion and the Rise of Modern Culture describes and analyzes changing attitudes toward religion during three stages of modern European culture: the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Romantic period. Louis Dupré is an expert guide to the complex historical and intellectual relation between religion and modern culture.
Dupré begins by tracing the weakening of the Christian synthesis. At the end of the Middle Ages intellectual attitudes toward religion began to change. Theology, once the dominant science that had integrated all others, lost its commanding position. After the French Revolution, religion once again played a role in intellectual life, but not as the dominant force. Religion became transformed by intellectual and moral principles conceived independently of faith. Dupré explores this new situation in three areas: the literature of Romanticism (illustrated by Goethe, Schiller, and Hölderlin); idealist philosophy (Schelling); and theology itself (Schleiermacher and Kierkegaard). Dupré argues that contemporary religion has not yet met the challenge presented by Romantic thought.
“This beautifully crafted essay by Louis Dupré makes an original contribution to our understanding of the emergence and development of modernity, which dispensing with religion as a governing discourse and form of life, nonetheless attempts to find a place for it in a world sufficiently depleted of meaning and value as to require reenchantment. It supplements Dupré’s two magisterial texts on the topic of the modernity covering the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods, and whets the appetite for the forthcoming volume on Romanticism. Deep learning is worn lightly in this marvelously readable book.” —Cyril O'Regan, University of Notre Dame
“A stunning synthesis of Dupré's magisterial intellectual history of modernity and his distinctive and important philosophy of religion.” —David Tracy, emeritus, The University of Chicago Divinity School
“Louis Dupre's literate and sweeping review of the fate of religious faith in modern culture will help contemporary readers, who share his closing yearning for ways in which ‘transcendence can be recognized again,’ to appreciate why many of us find a postmodern climate—for better or worse—more conducive to fulfilling that desire. For his dramatic depictions of modernity teach us how different is the culture in which we now live.” —David Burrell, CSC, Hesburgh Professor Emeritus in Philosophy and Theology, University of Notre Dame