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Mortal ThoughtsReligion, Secularity, & Identity in Shakespeare and Early Modern Culture$
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Brian Cummings

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199677719

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677719.001.0001

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Secularization & Identity

(p.1) Introduction
Mortal Thoughts

Brian Cummings

Oxford University Press

One of the key principles in the formation of a history of modern identity is that it was the result of an inevitable process of secularization. Jakob Burckhardt's concept of ‘The Development of the Individual’ or Max Weber's ‘the disenchantment of the world’ have had wide currency up to Charles Taylor's A Secular Age (2007). However, secularization is a theory increasingly abandoned in the social sciences. This chapter provides an analysis of the rise and the descent of the secularization thesis. It examines the place of Shakespeare and the idea of the Renaissance in the light of this, and suggests new ways for understanding the history of selfhood if we abandon the assumption that it depends on the demise of religion.

Keywords:   secularization, identity, Renaissance, disenchantment, selfhood

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