THE AGE OF REASON BEGINS by Will and Ariel Durant


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Although an independent study, this seventh volume in The Story of Civilization continues the narrative of the Reformation (sixth volume) in the year 1558, and concludes with the Peace of Westphilia in 1648. The Durants treat the period in its full variety -- the political, economic, scientific, and cultural history of Elizabeth's and of Cromwell's England, of Philip II's Spain, of Henry IV's and of Richelieu's France, of the Turks, of Austria. The basic conflicts were between competing varieties of religious faith; then, as the religious wars drew to a close, the new tradition in philosophy and the advancements in science, suggested that all forms of supernatural belief be rejected; the great debate between reason and faith is launched, and ""the age of reason begins"". The book adds very little new information; it is of a period about which much has been written. But the authors' presentation is at once dramatic and facile; the volume has the same abundance of historical detail, anecdotes, and biographical portraits that enlivened the preceding studies, and is highly recommended to the general reader.

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 1961
Publisher: Simon & Schuster