Introduction to Modernity: A Symposium on Eighteenth-Century Thought [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 20 (2):385-385 (1966)

Abstract
Although the essays in this book vary a good deal in quality, they all distort the eighteenth century to some extent by concentrating on its "modernity," about the scope of which, to increase the confusion, none of the authors is very explicit. One essay treats the emergence of scientific thought quite superficially; another presents Jacobi as an anti-type of Goethe and a fore-runner of existentialism. Herbert Dieckmann argues against the common "from classic to romantic" view of eighteenth-century aesthetic history. Ernest Mossner characterizes "the enlightenment of David Hume," seeing him as a liberator of the mind from its various idols and reiterating his view that Hume was only a "mitigated sceptic." Dietrich Ritschl emphasizes Semler's contribution to the historical study of the Bible; his essay also contains, but only implicitly, some warnings for today's aggiornamento theologians.—W. B. K.
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