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9 - Echoes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 November 2021

Christopher S. Celenza
Affiliation:
The Johns Hopkins University, Maryland
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Summary

This chapter moves to the French Enlightenment, arguing that echoes of Renaissance humanism emerge in the Encyclopédie. This project, famous in the history of the book, was the brainchild of Diderot and D’Alembert, two luminaries who believed that a comprehensive account of all branches of human knowledge was needed. They financed the project themselves, through subscriptions, made expert use of illustrations, and created a monument in the history of the book. In their comprehensiveness, Diderot and D’Alembert were the heirs to Poliziano’s multidisciplinary drive. In their views of religion, they were the distant progeny of Valla. And in their antiinstitutional nature, they reflect Italian Renaissance humanism, a cultural movement whose protagonists often took care to situate themselves outside of existing institutions. After the treatment of the Encyclopédie, Thomas Jefferson makes a cameo appearance. In his “Jefferson Bible,” he literally cut and pasted parts of the New Testament that he believed showed Jesus’s true nature – not, in Jefferson’s view, as a divine personage (Jefferson discarded all the stories of miracles), but rather as an ethical exemplar. Doing so, Jefferson reflected one very important tendency in history of philology, one that Valla had begun, the Protestant Reformation spread, and the French Enlightenment completed: the desacralizing of the Bible

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The Italian Renaissance and the Origins of the Modern Humanities
An Intellectual History, 1400–1800
, pp. 246 - 272
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Echoes
  • Christopher S. Celenza, The Johns Hopkins University, Maryland
  • Book: The Italian Renaissance and the Origins of the Modern Humanities
  • Online publication: 09 November 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108980623.010
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Echoes
  • Christopher S. Celenza, The Johns Hopkins University, Maryland
  • Book: The Italian Renaissance and the Origins of the Modern Humanities
  • Online publication: 09 November 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108980623.010
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Echoes
  • Christopher S. Celenza, The Johns Hopkins University, Maryland
  • Book: The Italian Renaissance and the Origins of the Modern Humanities
  • Online publication: 09 November 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108980623.010
Available formats
×