ENLIGHTENMENT


ENLIGHTENMENT
   1) a movement characterized by the historian TROELTSCH (1865-1923) as the beginning of the really modern period of European CULTURE. It had its roots in PROTESTANT CHRISTIANITY and was strongly influenced by PIETISM finding its clearest expression in the work of KANT who defined "the Enlightenment" in his book Religion Within the Limits of Reason (1793) as man's emergence from a self-inflicted state of minority. Kant wrote
   "Have the courage to make use of your own understanding, is therefore the watchword of the Enlightenment." The Enlightenment originated in the Netherlands and England in the mid-seventeenth century but reached its high-water mark in French RATIONALISM and MATERIALISM finding political expression in the French REVOLUTION. Its richest philosophical and political results were achieved in Germany under the influence of Kant. Although many branches of the Enlightenment were self-consciously ANTI-CHRISTIAN and a distinctive form of Enlightenment Christianity developed in Protestant countries, other branches of PROTESTANTISM were influential in promoting concerns similar to those of the Rationalists. Enlightenment Christianity as such was characterized by a retreat from DOGMAS, SACRAMENTS and CEREMONIES, FAITH in PROVIDENCE, obligation to "virtue" and a tendency to subordinate Christian dogmas to current ideas from SCIENCE and CULTURE.
   2) the attainment of a state of SPIRITUAL knowledge, AWARENESS or BLISS in YOGIC RELIGIONS. The revelatory experience of the BUDDHA and attaining NIRVNA in BUDDHISM.

Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.

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  • enlightenment — 1660s, action of enlightening, from ENLIGHTEN (Cf. enlighten) + MENT (Cf. ment). Only ever used in figurative sense, of spiritual enlightenment, etc. Attested from 1865 as a translation of Ger. Aufklärung, a name for the spirit and system of… …   Etymology dictionary

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  • enlightenment — ► NOUN 1) the action of enlightening or the state of being enlightened. 2) (the Enlightenment) a European intellectual movement of the late 17th and 18th centuries emphasizing reason and individualism rather than tradition …   English terms dictionary

  • enlightenment — [en līt′ nmənt, in līt′ nmənt] n. an enlightening or being enlightened the Enlightenment 1. a mainly 18th cent. European philosophical movement characterized by a reliance on reason and experience rather than dogma and tradition and by an… …   English World dictionary

  • Enlightenment — En*light en*ment, n. 1. Act of enlightening, or the state of being enlightened or instructed. [1913 Webster] 2. same as {Aufkl[ A]rung}. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • enlightenment — I noun appreciation, awakening, clarification, cognition, cognizance, comprehension, direction, disabusal, disclosure, edification, education, elucidation, enucleation, experience explication, explanation, familiarity, illumination, insight,… …   Law dictionary


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