The Challenge of New Philosophies

Ulrich L. Lehner

in Enlightened Monks

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199595129
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729096 | DOI:
The Challenge of New Philosophies

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This chapter examines how the German Benedictines actively engaged in dialogue with modern philosophy. At the center of this dialogue was the University of Salzburg, a Benedictine institution, where monks from throughout Southern Germany and Austria taught until the school's closing in 1810. A positive opinion of the Enlightenment was prevalent there, especially under the protection of Archbishop Colloredo. Among the new themes the enlightened Monks proposed were a more optimist anthropology, a positive view of Leibniz and Locke, a focus on experimental physics, as well as a clear preference for the vernacular as the new language of academia. During the last quarter of the 18th century, the Benedictines also welcomed many of the ideas of Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottlieb Fichte, while trying to integrate them into their philosophical systems.

Keywords: anti‐scholasticism; anti‐Enlightenment; empiricism; Muratori; sycophantic strife; John Locke; Immanuel Kant; Johann G. Fichte; Christian Wolff; Salzburg; physics; electricity; anthropology; vernacular

Chapter.  15775 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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