Enlightened Monks: The German Benedictines 1740-1803 (Hardback)
  • Enlightened Monks: The German Benedictines 1740-1803 (Hardback)
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Enlightened Monks: The German Benedictines 1740-1803 (Hardback)

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£87.00
Hardback 288 Pages / Published: 24/03/2011
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Enlightened Monks investigates the social, cultural, philosophical, and theological challenges the German Benedictines had to face between 1740 and 1803, and how the Enlightenment process influenced the self-understanding and lifestyle of these religious communities. It had an impact on their forms of communication, their transfer of knowledge, their relationships to worldly authorities and to the academic world, and also their theology and philosophy. The multifaceted achievements of enlightened monks, which included a strong belief in individual freedom, tolerance, human rights, and non-violence, show that monasticism was on the way to becoming fully integrated into the Enlightenment. Ulrich L. Lehner refutes the widespread assumption that monks were reactionary enemies of Enlightenment ideas. On the contrary, he demonstrates that many Benedictines implemented the new ideas of the time into their own systems of thought. This revisionist account contributes to a better understanding not only of monastic culture in Central Europe, but also of Catholic religious culture in general.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199595129
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 560 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 21 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
The book demonstrates in surprising new ways how eighteenth-century Benedictines of the Catholic Enlightenment engaged with all branches of contemporary academic study while simultaneously accommodating the monastic life to modernizing trends in European society. Engagingly written, deeply researched, and seriously engaged with current research, Lehner's work demonstrates that the Enlightenment was far more than a secular movement pitted against an obscurantist religious outlook. It was, rather, a multi-faceted trend to reconcile science and reason with matters of faith. Enlightened Monks illustrates how, paradoxically, an institution known most as a relic of the medieval past actually stood on the front lines of this endeavor. * John Gilmary Shea Prize committee *
Lehner's work marks a significant step in original research. His extensive citation of archival sources offers a new perspective on European religious culture... The book's content appeals to a wide range of scholars and is not reserved for the narrow musings of the specialist. The sociologist and historian will be intrigued as will the philosopher and the theologian. * Paul G. Monson, Journal of Church and State *
Academics will appreciate its meticulously documented research, as well as the wealth of German scholarship Lehner makes available to his English readers. * Fr. Aquinas Guilbeau, First Things *
a valuable and carefully researched study ... an important and extremely welcome addition to the literature on the Benedictine order and the Catholic religious Enlightenment more generally. * Thomas Ahnert, English Historical Review *
This very learned and highly original book, based on little-known and often obscure sources, reveals the existence of a remarkable subculture of Enlightened, even revolutionary, monks who had personal as well as literary and philosophical connections with the non-monastic world. * Derek Beales, Journal of Ecclesiastical History *
considers how the Enlightenment influenced the social and intellectual lives of Benedictine monks in German-speaking Europe ... Lehner has proffered a convincing argument that the German Benedictines might be counted not only as constituents of the Catholic Aufklarung, but as figures who existed squarely within the Enlightenment itself. * Stan Michael Landry, Religious Studies Review *
Lehner argues persuavively that many of the German Benedictines integrated the oldest of the Enlightenment in their own system of thought ... a scholarly work which should be in all major libraries. * G. R. Batho, The Historical Association *
Lehner offers, among other things, an excellent description of monastic prisons, as well as deftly drawn portraits of various savants, rogues, and dreamers in and out of the monasteries. Enlightened Monks also provides important context for the later German revival of theology centered in nineteenth-century Tubingen ... this is one of the most interesting books I've read this year (2011). * Lawrence S. Cunningham, Commonweal *
Lehner is nothing if not a thorough and industrious scholar, and the wealth of information he has amassed alone makes this book a valuable resource. But he is also a fluid writer, with an eye for piquant details and arresting stories, ensuring that the narrative is enlivened along the way by a great number of vivid and sensitive portraits of individuals. * Darrin McMahon, The Catholic Historical Review *
This fascinating book ... might stimulate monastic communities today to ask whether they too could learn from the Enlightened Monks. * James Leachmann, Benedictine Culture *
This book is highly entertaining. * Johannes Reich, Erbe und Auftrag *
A stimulating book that will leave no one indifferent! * Daniel Misonne, Revue Benedictine *
Many of the ideas and reforms of these eighteenth century Benedictines are in many ways strikingly similar to the radical changes in monasticism after the Second Vatican Council ... It is the great merit of this book to have saved these enlightened Benedictines from oblivion and to have unearthed a monastic culture that was characterized by its openness to modernity. * Klaus Schatz, Theologie und Philosophie *
Beautifully written and cogently argued, Lehners book makes a thoroughly convincing case for what those clinging to a Voltairean Enlightenment will hardly believe enlightened monks. * James Lees, Eighteenth Century Studies *
Lehners work is exquisitely researched and an absolute delight to read if only for its hilarity, which is disarmingly refreshing in scholarly works. This book is perfect for graduate students specializing in either history or the history of theology. Very advanced theology or history undergraduates would also find this to be instructive for continuing on to pursue graduate research. As a primer on research methods alone this work is exemplary, a true guidebook for common and specialized citation methods ... As a model of contemporary historiography and engaging scholarship, Enlightened Monks is about as good as it gets. * Catholic Books Review *
This book is of the same calibre as Derek Beale's magisterial work about monasticism during the Ancien Regime. * Rainald Becker, Francia Recensio *
Lehner's book offers an excellent social, cultural and intellectual history of the German Benedictines ... a sophisticated structure and sound balance between the presentation of case studies and general trends that are all supported by the comprehensive study of archival sources. * Sascha Weber, Sehepunkte *

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