The Eighteenth Century

from Jul 10, 2018 Category: Tabletalk Magazine

Here’s an excerpt from The Eighteenth Century, Nicholas R. Needham’s contribution to the July issue of Tabletalk:

The eighteenth century was a century of paradox. On the one hand, it was the era of the Enlightenment, with all its philosophical questioning (at best) and skeptical rejection (at worst) of the Christian faith. On the other hand, it was also the era of the Evangelical Revival (as it is known in Britain) or the First Great Awakening (as it is known in America) in which untold myriads were brought out of spiritual darkness into the true light. The paradox is intensified by the way that these two phenomena acted upon and reacted to each other. The greatest philosopher of the Enlightenment, the German “sage of Königsberg” (modern-day Kaliningrad, Russia), Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), was clearly influenced by Christianity; the greatest theologian of the First Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards (1703–58), was clearly influenced by the Enlightenment.

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