Religious Melancholy and Secularisation in Early Modern Europe

RU-thumbnailThe Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW) and Radboud University Nijmegen invite PhD students/ ReMa students in philosophy to register for the one-day Masterclass “Religious Melancholy and Secularisation in Early Modern Europe” to take place 20 February 2015, 10h-12.30h.

Organizing university

Radboud University Nijmegen


20 February 2015


Radboud University Nijmegen, Erasmus building E.2.56

Type of activity

1-day Masterclass

Primary target group

PhD students, ReMa students

About the topic

The condition of ‘religious melancholy’ had its roots in ancient philosophy and medicine, but was fully theorised only in the seventeenth century, when it came to incorporate ideas about superstition, despair, and enthusiasm. This lecture will consider the place of religious melancholy within the intellectual culture of early modern Europe, and seek to address its role in contemporary religious and political controversies that have long seen as precursors to Enlightenment secularisation. Whilst the traditional view of the Enlightenment as an inherently irreligious movement has been much criticised, recent scholarship has nevertheless suggested that seventeenth-century psychology furnished new conceptions of human nature that were increasingly detached from Christian doctrine. With particular attention to English writings about religious melancholy in this period, I shall be asking how conceptions of the relationship between body, soul and spirit – and more broadly how contests between religious, medical, philosophical, and political authority – can be used to interrogate the nature and extent of secularisation in this aspect of early modern culture.


Masterclass: Friday 20 February 2015, 10h-12.30h, Radboud University Nijmegen, Erasmus building E.2.56

(prior to the Master Class there will be a lecture by dr. Angus Gowland on Thursday 19 February 2015, 16h-18h, Radboud University Nijmegen, Erasmus building E.2.70)


Dr. Angus Gowland

Dr. Angus Gowland is a Reader in Intellectual History (University College London). His broad interest is in early-modern European intellectual history, and more particularly sixteenth- and seventeenth-century political thought, moral philosophy, psychology and medicine.



How to apply / register

You can register by sending an email to:


The OZSW, the Center for the History of Philosophy and Science and the Center for Contemporary European Philosophy, Radboud University Nijmegen.

Contact info