Let There Be Enlightenment: The Religious and Mystical Sources of Rationality by Anton Matytsin - Now Available

September 27, 2018

Anton M. Matytsin announces the publication of our edited volume Let There Be Enlightenment: The Religious and Mystical Sources of Rationality with Johns Hopkins University Press. More details and the table of contents are available below. 


For more information about the book, please visit https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/content/let-there-be-enlightenment


Use code HDPD for a 30% discount from JHUP.


ISBN: 9781421426013


According to most scholars, the Enlightenment was a rational awakening, a radical break from a past dominated by religion and superstition. But in Let There Be Enlightenment, Anton M. Matytsin, Dan Edelstein, and the contributors they have assembled deftly undermine this simplistic narrative. Emphasizing the ways in which religious beliefs and motivations shaped philosophical perspectives, essays in this book highlight figures and topics often overlooked in standard genealogies of the Enlightenment. The volume underscores the prominent role that religious discourses continued to play in major aspects of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century thought.


The essays probe a wide range of subjects, from reformer Jan Amos Comenius’s quest for universal enlightenment to the changing meanings of the light metaphor, Quaker influences on Baruch Spinoza’s theology, and the unexpected persistence of Aristotle in the Enlightenment. Exploring the emergence of historical consciousness among Enlightenment thinkers while examining their repeated insistence on living in an enlightened age, the collection also investigates the origins and the long-term dynamics of the relationship between faith and reason.

Providing an overview of the rich spectrum of eighteenth-century culture, the authors demonstrate that religion was central to Enlightenment thought. The term "enlightenment" itself had a deeply religious connotation. Rather than revisiting the celebrated breaks between the eighteenth century and the period that preceded it, Let There Be Enlightenment reveals the unacknowledged continuities that connect the Enlightenment to its various antecedents.

TABLE of Contents:


Anton M. Matytsin and Dan Edelstein, "Introduction"



Part One: Lux 


1. Howard Hotson, "Via Lucis in tenebras: Comenius as Prophet of the Age of Light" 


2. Anton M. Matytsin, "Whose Light Is It Anyway? The Struggle for Light in the French Enlightenment"


3. Céline Spector, "The “Lights” before the Enlightenment: The Tribunal of Reason and Public Opinion"


4. Darrin M. McMahon, "Writing the History of Illumination in the Siècle des Lumières: Enlightenment Narratives of Light"



Part Two: Veritas 


5. Jo Van Cauter, "Another Dialogue in the Tractatus: Spinoza on “Christ’s Disciples” and the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)" 


6. Philippe Buc, "A Backward Glance: Light and Darkness in the Medieval Theology of Power" 


7. Matthew T. Gaetano, "Lumen unitivum: The Light of Reason and the Aristotelian Sect in Early-Modern Scholasticism"


8. Dan Edelstein "The Aristotelian Enlightenment"



Part Three: Tenebrae 


9. William J. Bulman, "Secular Sacerdotalism in the Anglican Enlightenment, 1660–1740"


10. Jeffrey D. Burson, "Refracting the Century of Lights: Alternate Genealogies of Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century Culture"


11. Charly Coleman, "Enlightenment in the Shadows: Mysticism, Materialism, and the Dream State in Eighteenth-Century France" 


12. James Schmidt, "Light, Truth, and the Counter-Enlightenment’s Enlightenment" 

Please reload

Our Recent Posts

Beginning 1 July 2020, current members of ASECS will have free, unlimited access to Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO) for a period of three...

Free Access to Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO) 1 July 2020 – 30 September 2020

June 29, 2020

• Greta LaFleur, The Natural History of Sexuality in Early America

Johns Hopkins, 2018

"Greta LaFleur sets out a bold, provocative intellectual and ethi...

Recent Works in Queer Eighteenth-Century Studies, in Celebration of Pride and the Landmark Supreme Court Ruling in Bostock: Title VII

June 29, 2020

Online Lecture: Wednesday, June 24, 2020, 1:00 PM EDT
"Black Bodies and Neoclassical Whiteness in the Age of Undress"
Dr. Amelia Rauser, Professor of...

Online Lecture: Wednesday, June 24, 2020, 1:00 PM EDT "Black Bodies and Neoclassical Whiteness in the Age of Undress" - Dr. Amelia Rauser, P...

June 18, 2020

Please reload



1300 Elmwood Ave, KH213
Buffalo, NY 14222