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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499

Studia Hist. Ecc. vol.35 n.1 Pretoria  2009


The "Age of Enlightenment" is not the "Enlightened Age": Revisiting Kant's (1724 - 1804) argument on the Enlightenment



Humphrey Mogashoa

Dept of Christian Spirituality, Church History & Missiology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa




The Enlightenment era, critical as a period in its own right, is also a pivotal phase in the history of Christianity. Also critical in this period was Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), a formidable scholar who formulated and differentiated between Age of Enlightenment and the Enlightened Age. Kant's background, early learning and life in academia provide the necessary background to understand the intellectual journey of philosophising that was to culminate with, among others, this formulation and differentiation. Kant argued that society was still in the Age of Enlightenment because both the individual and the public are still under tutelage that was self-imposed. Tutelage is a complex process and has methods of sustaining and advancing itself. It is possible for human beings to be released from this tutelage but since the majority of the society is still under this tutelage, society has not reached the Enlightened Age. The Age of Enlightenment and the Enlightened Age are two distinct phenomena, worthy of note and differentiation in the broader history of Christianity.



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