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date: 30 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Introduction sets out the volume’s programmatic aims. While previous scholarship often saw the nineteenth century as a period of secularization, there is increasing evidence that the period was instead one of vivid intellectual engagement with the Christian tradition, albeit often articulated in ways deviating from what had hitherto been accepted as orthodox. This introductory overview therefore combines attention to the abiding influence of the Christian tradition with a recognition of its radical transformation and diversification under the influence of the forces of modernity. It acknowledges that in the nineteenth century, Christian ideas have to be discerned within a broad spectrum of intellectual, political, and artistic expressions that are no longer overtly controlled by institutionalized Christianity, and their study has to draw on the expertise of scholars from various disciplines. The Introduction subsequently gives an overview of how these fundamental considerations play out in the individual sections of the Handbook.

Keywords: Christianity, secularization, religious transformations, science, Immanuel Kant, Max Weber, French Revolution, theology, culture, philosophy

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