Workshop 2017

Thursday 14th September 2017

School of History, Classics, and Archaeology

Newcastle University


The Workshop will begin at 11 am in Seminar Room 2.22, The Research Beehive, Newcastle University.

Speakers will include Mark Goldie (Cambridge) and Luisa Simonutti (Istituto per la storia del pensiero filosofico e scientifico moderno (ISPF)).  The full programme will be circulated shortly.

To register for the Workshop please email by Friday 8th September.  There is no conference fee for this event.  Please indicate whether you would like to attend the conference dinner.

About the Workshop:

Recent scholarship has reintegrated the religious perspective into how the intellectual culture of the early modern period, particularly in the political sphere, can be understood.  This has opened up new avenues of enquiry for those working on the role of scholarship (biblical, patristic, and classical) in intellectual engagement, scholars of philosophy and theology, as well as historians of culture, books, and political thought, consequently providing a much more varied understanding of how ideas were formed and justified.  Yet in the midst of these developments, the reality of how the Church-State relationship was envisaged by those writing on politics and religion in this period remains under-explored.  The notion of a ‘civil religion’ was a prominent feature of the discourse, but its ambiguity and the contradictions and difficulties involved in its practical realisation has left it as something of a by-stander in the intellectual history of the period.  The arguments that were made for civil religion have been used by scholars as evidence for established interpretations of the period, whether that be for the existence of a ‘Radical Enlightenment’, or for the Christian Reformist tendencies of these so-called radicals, or as proof of continuity with existing traditions in republican, patristic, or classical ideologies.

This one-day workshop proposes to examine civil religion in early modernity on its own terms, rather than as a subsect of existing scholarly narratives.  It seeks to bring together scholars from different disciplinary spheres in order to encourage reflection on this notion of ‘civil religion,’ and to construct an understanding of its specific contribution to its intellectual and cultural context.