The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth Century Philosophers by Carl L. Becker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is about Eighteenth century philosophers, with Enlightenment ideals, coming out of the superstitious times where religion ruled, trying, with varying degrees of self-consciousness, to replace the sovereignty of God, religion and the afterlife as the defining motivations, teleology, and philosophical underpinnings of mankind’s development and artistic integrity. The book has a lot of good information on this thesis, especially on how certain philosophers were actually trying to not just replace God and religion, but turn new secular filler philosophies into religious placeholders, so that they could hold the exact same place. As in, trying to deify concepts that might fill the gap, like knowledge, philosophy, revolutionary ideals, even posterity. It’s a quick read and even though the copy I had was falling apart while I read it, it was worth a reading and I highlighted a bunch of pages for future reference.
It has a pretty specific thesis and I picked it up because I was looking for something to relate to a theme in my writing of Angels interacting in a Sci-fi scenario. I wanted some background story in history to set up a kind of meta-narrative of how the fall of the Angels and the fall of man is still an incomplete story, and this book helped fill in some ideas in that concept, along with another book I’m reading at the moment called ‘Natural Supernaturalism’ by M.H. Abrams, which is amazing.
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