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Enlightenment, The 

An intellectual and cultural development which emphasized the ability of human reason to grasp the ultimate meaning of life and creation in terms of self-evident truths. It was widespread in western Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Enlightenment upheld the autonomy of human reason and reason's adequacy to grasp and shape the world by its own power. In Enlightenment terms, truth was self-authenticating by virtue of its inherent reasonableness. This differed from orthodox Christian theology, which held that truth came from beyond reason by revelation. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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