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p a r t t h r e e The Modern Enlightenment To move from ancients to moderns is to cross one of the most prominent divides in Strauss’s writings, an apparent ditch separating philosophy’s highest attainment in Socratic wisdom from what Strauss presented as a form of thought inferior to it because infected by what intervened, Chris­ tianity or, more generally, Revelation. Strauss elevates the ancients as hold­ ing contemplation or inquiry highest and demotes the moderns by claiming that they held mere action highest. But the exotericism of Xenophon and Plato

be the People most distinguish’d for Literature in Europe?” (LDH, 1:255). In this well-known passage, Hume articulates the central paradox of the Scottish Enlightenment: how did a poor, tiny country on the geographical fringes of Europe, which was once a sovereign kingdom but had recently lost its monarchy (in the Union of Crowns of 1603), its Parliament (in the Union of 1707 that gave rise to Great Britain), and many of its greater nobility (who now enjoyed the high life in London), and whose men of letters wrote in a language (formal English) that diff

P A R T I The New Enlightenment We are all aware how work both emboldens us and strangles our soul life in the very same instant. It reveals how much we can do as part of a larger body, literally a corpus, a corporation, and how much the wellsprings of our creativity are stopped at the source by the pressures of that same smothering organization. . . . We stand to gain a marvelous involvement in our labors, but must relin- quish a belief that the world owes us a place on a divinely ordained career ladder. We learn that we do have a place in the world, but that it

· 2 2 3 · 10 The Enlightenment, 1712–1760 In reason’s ear they all rejoice, And utter forth a glorious voice, Forever singing as they shine, ‘The hand that made us is divine.’ Joseph Addison in The Spectator IN  JOHN LOCKE published a treatise called The Reasonableness of Christianity.1 There hadn’t always been much ‘reasonableness’ evident in the way Puritans and Laudians discussed religion in the early seven- teenth century, still less Protestants and Catholics in the mid-sixteenth century. The new way was to seek proof through reason, not demand

p a r t t w o The Socratic Enlightenment The 1938–39 discoveries in Greek exotericism reported in the letters to Klein blossomed over time into Strauss’s most important, most endur- ing work as he recovered for contemporary readers the wisdom of the Greeks that reached its peak in the great Socratics. True to the sentiment that made Xenophon his Liebling, Strauss singlehandedly recovered that great Socratic thinker from the neglect and ridicule of modern misunderstanding. Insight into the implications Xenophon wove into the conventional homilies of his

11 Conclusion Th e Enlightenment—Questions of Geography In thinking about the Enlightenment geographically, I have proposed here an argument that the “where” of Enlightenment knowledge should be taken as seriously as its “what,” “who,” “how,” and “why.” To questions such as “Th e Enlightenment: what and who?” and “What is Enlightenment?” we should now be able to add “Th e Enlightenment: where and why?” and “Where was Enlightenment?” and be confi dent of reasonable answers. Further, the prac- tices of geographical knowledge and the textual defi nitions and

1 Introduction Th e Enlightenment—Questions of Geography Th is book is about understanding the Enlightenment—or to use one par- allel term among many, the Age of Reason—geographically. It is, in sev- eral senses, an argument about and extended review of the Enlightenment’s “where,” about how we may “place” the Enlightenment, and about why it matters that we think about the Enlightenment in geographical ways. Th e Enlightenment was that period—conventionally the “long” eighteenth cen- tury in Europe, ca. 1685–ca. 1815—when the world was made modern. For its

2 Th e Enlightenment in National Context “Th ere were many philosophes but there was only one Enlightenment.” Admittedly this is not the same as saying there were many nations but only one Enlightenment. Yet for Gay, the Enlightenment’s “what” and its “where” did mean much the same thing. It was an essentially philosophi- cal and French enterprise, embodied in those Voltairean radicals—“the party of humanity,” that “little fl ock of philosophes,” as he variously terms them—bound together from the 1730s by the promotion of atheism, repub- licanism, and

1 Interpreting the Enlightenment: On Methods Scholars, philosophers, churchmen, journalists, offi cials, teachers, and scores of others have been discussing the Enlightenment for nearly three hundred years, yet there is still remarkably little agreement on what, precisely, the Enlightenment was. Language is part of the problem: the expression “the Enlightenment,” for instance, appeared in English only around the mid–nineteenth century. Of course, there were plenty of other words, especially in other languages, available to designate a phenomenon that