Critiques of Enlightenment Thought, from a Theological Perspective

Compiled by Charles Bellinger


Lighter (and/or shorter) reading:

Chesterton, G. K. Orthodoxy. New York: Doubleday, 2001.

Eliot, T.S. Christianity and Culture. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1968.

Grant, George Parkin. English-Speaking Justice. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1985.

Guillebaud, Jean Claude. Re-founding the World: A Western Testament. New York: Algora, 2001.

Inchausti, Robert. Subversive Orthodoxy: Outlaws, Revolutionaries, and Other Christians in Disguise. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2005.

Lewis, C.S. The Abolition of Man. New York: Macmillan, 1947.

Percy, Walker. Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-help Book. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1983.

Sampson, Philip J. Six Modern Myths About Christianity & Western Civilization. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001.

Sayers, Dorothy L. Creed or Chaos? New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1949.


More advanced reading:

Barth, Karl. Protestant Theology in the Nineteenth Century: Its Background and History. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2002.

Buckley, Michael J. Denying and Disclosing God: The Ambiguous Progress of Modern Atheism. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004.

de Lubac, Henri. The Drama of Atheist Humanism. New York: World Pub. Co., 1963.

Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Possessed.

Frei, Hans. The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative: A Study in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Hermeneutics. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974.

Gilson, Etienne. Being and Some Philosophers. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1952.

Girard, René. I See Satan Fall Like Lightning. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2001.

Gunton, Colin. Enlightenment and Alienation: An Essay Towards a Trinitarian Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985.

_____. The One, the Three, and the Many: God, Creation, and the Culture of Modernity. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Hart, David Bentley. The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003.

_____. Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.

Illich, Ivan, and David Cayley. The Rivers North of the Future: The Testament of Ivan Illich. Toronto: Anansi, 2005.

MacIntyre, Alasdair C. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. 2nd ed. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984.

Maritain, Jacques. Three Reformers: Luther, Descartes, Rousseau. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1970.

Milbank, John. Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason. Oxford, UK ; Cambridge, Mass., USA: B. Blackwell, 1991.

Pacini, David S. Through Narcissus' Glass Darkly: The Modern Religion of Conscience. New York: Fordham University Press, 2008.

Reno, Russell R. Redemptive Change: Atonement and the Christian Cure of the Soul. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2002.

Robinson, Jonathan. The Mass and Modernity: Walking Backward to Heaven. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005.

Voegelin, Eric. Modernity Without Restraint: The Political Religions, The New Science of Politics, and Science, Politics, and Gnosticism. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2000.


Historical Backgrounds

Dupre, Louis. The Enlightenment and the Intellectual Foundations of Modern Culture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004.

Gauchet, Marcel. The Disenchantment of the World: A Political History of Religion. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997.

Gillespie, Michael Allen. Nihilism Before Nietzsche. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

_____. The Theological Origins of Modernity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Glover, Willis B. Biblical Origins of Modern Secular Culture: An Essay in the Interpretation of Western History. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1984.

Harvey, Van. Feuerbach and the Interpretation of Religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Hervieu-Leger, Daniele. Religion as a Chain of Memory. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2000.

Hill, Jonathan. What Has Christianity Ever Done for Us?: How It Shaped the Modern World. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005.

Howard, Thomas Albert. Religion and the Rise of Historicism: W.M.L. de Wette, Jacob Burckhardt, and the Theological Origins of Nineteenth-Century Historical Consciousness. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Livingston, James C.. Modern Christian Thought: Vol. 1, The Enlightenment to the Nineteenth Century. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997.

Macnamara, John. Through the Rearview Mirror: Historical Reflections on Psychology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999.

Manent, Pierre. The City of Man. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998.

Nieman, Susan. Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002.

Noonan, John T., Jr. A Church That Can and Cannot Change: The Development of Catholic Moral Teaching. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005.

O’Donovan, Oliver, and Joan Lockwood O’Donovan. Bonds of Imperfection: Christian Politics, Past and Present. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.

Poole, Ross. Morality and Modernity. New York: Routledge, 1991.

Rawls, John. Lectures on the History of Moral Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.

Sass, Louis A. Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature, and Thought. New York: Basic Books, 1992.

Schmidt, Alvin J. How Christianity Changed the World. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004.

Schneewind, J.B. The Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

_____, ed. Moral Philosophy from Montaigne to Kant. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Seligman, Adam. Modernity's Wager: Authority, the Self, and Transcendence. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.

Stark, Rodney. The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success. New York: Random House, 2005.

Taylor, Charles. The Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989.

_____. A Secular Age. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007.

Toulmin, Stephen, and Albert Jonsen. The Abuse of Casuistry: A History of Moral Reasoning. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.