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Enlightened MonksThe German Benedictines 1740-1803$
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Ulrich L. Lehner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199595129

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199595129.001.0001

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The Challenge of New Philosophies

The Challenge of New Philosophies

(p.175) 9 The Challenge of New Philosophies
Enlightened Monks

Ulrich L. Lehner

Oxford University Press

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

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