Enlightenment, Transcendentalism, and Puritan Theology Essays

Words: 1830
Pages: 8

Enlightenment, transcendentalism, and puritan theology: 3 philosophies that shaped 3 centuries in America. Since the time periods of each philosophy overlapped with the others, all 3 had similarities as well as differences. From these philosophies came different writers with different views, shaping American prose.
A major Enlightenment author was Thomas Paine. Thomas Paine wrote a piece called "The Age of Reason." In this piece he fully encompassed the ideologies of the Enlightenment. These included the belief in the perfectibility of a human being, universal benevolence, faith in natural goodness, and the sovereignty of reason. He talked about the flaws in religion and the idea that "his own mind is his own church." In his piece he
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Puritans were focused on living a good life by conforming to what God supposedly wants them to do. They were focused on the afterlife more than this life, and made it seem more important. Transcendentalists, on the other hand, put more emphasis on this life. One similarity between the two philosophies is that neither was based on science or rationale. Both philosophies take huge leaps and require faith and belief, for they don't have much evidence to support what they believe. The Puritans took the leap of believing in God and Christ and that the bible is legitimate. The Transcendentalists took the leap of believing that the self is a parallel to the universe and that in knowing oneself one then knows everything about the universe as well.
Enlightenment, on the other hand, is based on science and rationale, a major difference between Transcendentalism and the Enlightenment. During the Enlightenment, people did put emphasis on knowing thy self, but did not assume that by knowing thy self, one knows the cosmos. They put an emphasis on knowing thy self so that one would stay true to one's self and not conform to what others said. People during the Enlightenment made education a huge deal and were focused on finding scientific reasons for everything that occurred in nature. The Enlightenment was based on ration and science, whereas Transcendentalism was based on knowing thy self