Quotation by Ernest Gellner

The Enlightenment codified the vision of the world as a unified, self-sufficient Nature, governed by orderly laws, and including man within itself as a part of Nature and nothing else. It is the codification, in outline, of the world we now inhabit. The supposition that the Enlightenment is but a kind of continuation and completion of the Reformation is sometimes attacked as naive and over-intellectualist. Yet the logical connection is obviously there: the notion that it is legitimate to scrutinize the claims of a self-proclaimed sacred institution, by checking it against the independent testimony of scripture, would seem to lead naturally to the idea that everything, including scripture itself, can be scrutinized in the light of the independent testimony of "Reason" or fact.
Ernest Gellner (b. 1925), British anthropologist, philosopher. Plough, Sword, and Book: The Structure of Human History, ch. 5, University of Chicago Press (1989).
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