In Paris a group of thinkers and writers known as the Philosophes brought the Age of Reason to its climax. The philosophes were not philosophers devoted to an academic discipline. They were men of letters, students of society who analyzed its evils and advocated reforms. They aimed to spread knowledge and emancipate the human spirit. The seventeen volumes of the Encyclopedia constituted the chief monument of the philosophes. Unlike most previous critics of the church, the philosophes were not heretics or dissenters who attacked the church in the name of Christ. These men launched their attack from outside the church. And they aimed their missiles not at a single point of dogma but at the foundation of all Christian truth. Their well publicized purpose was to demolish the citadel. Christianity, they insisted, was a pernicious plot, designed to turn the earth over to the oppressive powers of a priestly caste. Revealed religion was nothing less than a scheme to exploit the ignorant.
[tags]BlogRodent, church-history, ChurchRodent, history, Philosophes[/tags]