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Document Details :

Title: Jean-Claude Monod and the Historical Heritage of Secularization Theory
Author(s): LATRÉ, Stijn
Journal: Bijdragen
Volume: 71    Issue: 1   Date: 2010   
Pages: 27-50
DOI: 10.2143/BIJ.71.1.2046946

Abstract :
Contemporary debates about the role of religion in the public sphere often neglect the historical heritage of secularization theory. This neglect is addressed in La querelle de la sécularisation by the French author Jean-Claude Monod. With him, I follow the path of secularization theory from Hegel to Blumenberg. A forgotten protagonist, Erik Peterson, is brought back to light. Furthermore I describe two classical theories: the transfer thesis and the emancipation thesis. I argue that most thinkers do not simply fit either frame. This complexity is also conspicuous in the 20th century debate, which centers around the ambivalent concept of eschatology. In the Löwith-Blumenberg debate, Löwith’s position is much more sophisticated and closer to Blumenberg’s than it is usually assumed. Their philosophical position with regard to secularization theory turns out to depend on a different approach to eschatology: an ‘immanent’ versus a ‘transcendent’ one.

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