philosophes

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1. The philosophes did not accept the scientific revolutionary notion that the laws of Nature express the will of God. The philosophes made it clear that God, revelation, Scripture, and all of the other ingredients of traditional Christianity were subjects of scorn. Scholars in many countries found it increasingly difficult to bridge the gulf between natural and supernatural, to reconcile natural law and divine providence, and to balance moral philosophy and spiritual virtue. Revealed religion was under siege, and the answer seemed to be to reject the new modernity or to reject traditional dogmas that relied on non-scientific epistemology (Columbia).

Philosophes set out to get a few things out of the way, namely Christianity, not its ethics of love and brotherhood, but its supernatural history, theology, and church. Richard Simon led the way in what is known as the higher criticism of Scripture, the analysis of its meaning and truth, and not just the purity of the text. Around this time Spinoza was expanding a philosophy deeply marked by natural science, which was incompatible with a literal belief in the Bible. The Bible, when closely read, appeared to be a compilation by anonymous scribes and full of contradictions. The moral tea

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