Volume 31, Issue 3, 2021
Do We Need a New Enlightenment for the Twenty-First Century? Part II
Spinoza’s Critique and the Making of Modern Religion in the Enlightenment Era
In recent publications on the Enlightenment, Baruch Spinoza is often associated with the radical “fringe,” advocating against Christianity and giving rise to the incipient process of secularization. In this paper, it is argued that we should look for Spinoza’s influence on the Enlightenment in his ideas inspiring heterodox theologians: radical reformers aiming to “rationalize” revelation but not to dismiss it altogether. Several cases of such thinkers are adduced and shortly discussed: Jarig Jelles, Johan Christian Edelmann, Carl Friedrich Bahrdt and Immanuel Kant. Finally, three ways of conceptualizing the relation between Enlightenment and religion are sketched to address the question whether the sources of secularization can indeed be traced back to the Enlightenment.