Introduction: Religion and the Secular Concept of Subjectivity

  • Gabriel Motzkin
Part of the Philosophical Studies in Contemporary Culture book series (PSCC, volume 1)


By the 1740’s, long before Voltaire had been read in every corner of Europe, the outlines of the emergent secular culture were discernible. This secular counter-culture is not just a construct in my imagination as I hunt for anticipations of later currents of thought; anti-religious cynicism and skepticism about the claims of knowledge and the potential of values were wide-spread. Yet the Catholic Church, ever-vigilant against the threat of heresy and especially sensitive since the Reformation, did not appear unduly excited. In France, the energies of the religious were consumed by the struggle between Jesuits and Jansenists in the first part of the eighteenth century. The Church did make efforts to combat the spread of rural dechristianization through the expansion of the internal mission, the mission to countries and landscapes already Catholic, but the secession of the impoverished was at least as much a problem for the Church’s disposition to charity as it was for the preservation of its religious hegemony over culture.


Eighteenth Century External World Christian Religion Modern Thought Chronological Time 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Timothy Tackett, Religion, Revolution and Regional Culture in Eighteenth-Century France: the Ecclesiastical Oath of 1791 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986), pp. 252–254.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Peter H. Reill, The German Enlightenment and the Rise of Historicism (Berkeley: University of Califomia Press, 1975).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    L. W. B. Brockliss, French Higher Education in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: A Cultural History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), pp. 29–30, 42, 163-177.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Jonathan Sperber, Popular Catholicism in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), pp. 73–77.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    R. P. Damton, “Readers Respond to Rousseau: The Fabrication of Romantic Sensitivity”, in The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (New York: Basic Books, 1984), pp. 215–256, esp. pp. 242-244.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Brockliss, op. cit., pp. 337-390, esp. pp. 362, 385. Compare for the nineteenth century Austin Gough, Paris and Rome: the Gallican Church and the Ultramontane Campaign, 1848-1853 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), pp. 6–8.Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    Jonathan Bennett, Kant’s Analytic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966), ch. 8, esp. pp. 117–125.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    Heidegger, Sein und Zeit, op. cit., Ger. standard pages 89-92; Eng. trans. as Being and Time (New York: Harper and Row, 1962), pp. 122–125.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriel Motzkin
    • 1
  1. 1.The Hebrew University of JerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations